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Night Soldiers Paperback – 16 Feb 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Paperback, 16 Feb 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (16 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006511309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006511304
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 988,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Furst’s intelligent, ambitious, absorbing novel charges along from the rise of Fascism in Bulgaria, to Spain during the Civil War, to France and back to Eastern Europe as World War II draws to an end. The history is deftly incorporated; the viewpoint civilized; the characters and the settings picturesque; the adventures exciting; the writing pungent.’
New York Times

‘Night Soldiers has everything the best thrillers offer – excitement, intrigue, romance – plus grown-up writing, characters that matter, and a crisp, carefully researched portrait of the period in which our own postwar world was shaped.’
USA Today

‘Exceptional. Best of all is the chilling trail of treachery and betrayal, as the Russian Revolution – in the guise of the NKVD – devours its adherents.’
Washington Post

Book Description

'Ideally complex, intelligent, hugely intriguing; Furst is in a class of his own' William Boyd --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Furst is a wonderful novelist within the espionage genre, different in approach to any others I have come across. You could say the plot is labyrinthine except that it could be argued the book is virtually plotless, written from the point of view of the protagonists who, of course, don't know much about what's going on. It's not the case of the writer developing an elaborate scenario which is sorted out one way or another towards the end - there usually is no such resolution in Furst's books; it is more like a painter dabbing tentatively at the canvas, occasionally doing something figurative and then disappearing into the abstract. A person sits in a cafe, catches the eye of someone else, is worried that he is being watched; this fleeting episode is never mentioned again and the reader, any more than the character, doesn't know at the end of the book whether it has been relevant to subsequent events. Uncertainty is not just the experience of the characters but the organising principle of the writing. To this is added a profoundly evocative treatment of pre-war and wartime Europe bolstered by reference to actual events and people and their refraction through the experience of individual characters.
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Format: Paperback
Night Soldiers is the first in Alan Furst’s series of espionage novels that take place in 1930s and 40s Europe. It’s an ambitious book charting the adventures of Khristo Stoianev between 1934 through to 1945, starting with the death of his younger brother, killed by Bulgarian fascists, and his recruitment by a Russian agent. The story then switches to his training by the NKVD in Moscow, followed by a posting in Spain, then flight to pre-war Paris, followed by his war years. Criss-crossing Europe and playing games with soldiers, spies, and others, Khristo lives a life full of incident whilst trying to stay in the shadows. Furst is an excellent storyteller and the narrative is expressive and engaging throughout, and full of historical detail. The characterisation is well realised, with some very nice interactions and points of departure and reconnection across the story. The first half of the tale, up to Khristo’s time in Paris is excellent, being tight in focus and absorbing. The second half, however, is much less convincing, with the storyline becoming stretched and thin in places and the denouement fanciful. The story in the end became too expansive and reliant on unlikely threads and connections. Nonetheless, Night Soldiers is a very good read, full of intrigue, adventure, friendship and dark encounters.
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Format: Paperback
No one manages to get period detail down quite like Furst. His sense of color, ambience, time and place are simply exquisite. And, he's a master of the well told tale. Highly recommended. If you're looking for another good spy yarn, try Assassin by newcomer Ted Bell.
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Format: Paperback
Furst is a master story-teller and he has an excellent ability to convey time, place and the political realities of the period.. wrong to say that Furst gets his history wrong about the POUM-- Furst makes at least two references its Trostkyist direction.
And even if inaccuracies do creep in, the overall impression is gripping. I have read four of his novels in the last two months, I just can't get enough.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first came across Alan Furst when "Spies of Warsaw" was broadcast on TV. I read "The Polish Officer" as a result and thoroughly enjoyed it. Furst's strength is undoubtedly his ability to evoke time and place. You can really feel the locations and the tensions; I can envisage the costumes, and the characters are interesting and in some cases sympathetic even while carrying out unsavoury actions. In need of something not too demanding to read, I decided to start at the beginning of the Night Soldiers series, and was interested to see this earlier book was somewhat more verbose and complex than the later one I had read. It was also long - not a problem for a fast reader, although if you weren't you might lose the plot at the jumps in place. However, the characters linked them, and it seems to be a Furst trick to imply rather than state in some cases. People are introduced, do things, and then do not reappear and you are left wondering what became of them. I rather like this, but accept that some people might find it irritating. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series, and have recommended them to like minded friends.
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Format: Paperback
I bought Night Soldiers by Alan Furst because I was looing for a good spy novel and this was up there in various charts and top tens of the best spy novels of all time, along with Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Len Deighton and John le Carré. I have to say that I was hugely disappointed. On the plus side, it does have some interesting observations about Soviet spy craft and the historical setting is, of course, fascinating and very dark and threatening (hence the two stars). However, the novel is too long and very badly written. For example, in the few action sequences it is very difficult to understand what is actually happening because of the naive and artless writing style. Key elements are missed out and so the slower reader (like myself presumably) is left having to go back and re-read sections trying to figure out who had done what to whom. Further the story is told in a most laconic, one might say annoying, style where for many pages nothing at all happens, occasionally punctuated by clearly important - but difficult to discern - meetings in dark alleys between people the reader often fails to recognise. This is brought to bear particularly in the way the author introduces a new character and gives several pages of their back story - the German fighter bomber pilot in Madrid is a good example - and then immediately kills them off. This happens all the time as detailed characters come and go through the life of the hero (Khristo Stoniev), but who serve no long-term function in the story - the American Robert Eidenbaugh (alias Lucien) is a prime example - and just disappear with no explanation.Read more ›
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