The Polish Officer Hardcover – 1 Feb 1995
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‘One of the best novels of the year… Furst’s ability to recreate the terrors of espionage and combat is matchless.’
Robert Harris, Daily Mail
‘Brilliant… you can almost hear the chained wheels of the Gestapo car on the snow, the whack of bullets in the moonlit Polish forests, the quietness of occupied Paris by night… a compelling work.’
‘Excellent… beautifully written, intensely atmospheric and dramatically convincing. The Polish Officer is a work of quiet subtlety that will niggle in the memory far longer than most frenetic novels of espionage.’
‘Surely among the most convincing war books of our time.’
From the master of the historical spy thriller, a story set in the heart of the Polish resistance --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The Polish Officer in question is a wonderfully understated character, merely trying to do what's best in a more-than-uncertain world. With his loyalties lying with "a country with a bully for a neighbour" he seeks out the best underground way possible to continue fighting for it, be it against the Russian NKVD or the German Gestapo. We are taken along for the ride across a war-torn Europe, wondering much as he does as to when he is going to be killed, rather than if. He survives long enough for us to empathise with him and his situation. He is like we would be; ordinary but using it to his advantage. He underlines the fact that a James Bond in his situation would be merely a name on a headstone.
This is an excellent spy novel. This is an excellent war-story. But above all it is an excellent tale from an excellent author
For the English or American reader, life in Occupied Europe from the perspective of those who lived there is still an unfamiliar angle from which to view the Second World War, and I found Furst's treatment a refreshing change from the usual Anglocentric perspective. There are no English or American characters of any significance; instead the focus of interest is upon the emigres and displaced persons, the former military officers and bandits who find themselves more or less willingly drawn into an apparently hopeless resistance to the occupying Nazi and Soviet forces in France, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine. It is a small triumph that Furst makes this unfamiliar material compelling to the English reader.
I would add only one caveat; the author's somewhat curious decision to limit his period of interest to that between roughly 1938 and 1941, (broadly, that in which the Axis powers were most clearly in the ascendant) although defensible in dramatic terms, left this reader at the novel's end with a strong feeling that the whole story had not been told. I understand that Alan Furst's other, and now rather numerous, novels are set in the same period, and one wonders how long it will be before he begins to feel constrained by this self-imposed restriction. Certainly the central character of The Polish Officer is strong enough to justify at least one sequel, and perhaps to set the mind at rest.
It is a measure of the author's success that one badly wants to know for certain that his hero survives the war. I will certainly be seeking out this author's other books, though I will be surprised if they are superior.
'Captain de Milja was a soldier, he knew he didn't have long to live. And, in truth, he didn't care. He was not in love with life. One or two things had to be taken care of, then matters could run their course'.
'De Milja looked to be in his thirties, but there was something about him, some air of authority, that was much older than that ... His face was delicate, arrogant, hard ... in any event, he was a very serious man.'
Like a lot of the author's characters, they seem doomed but do survive or at least, are alive at the end of the book and sometimes make a brief appearance in some of his other books, especially as in 'The Foreign Correspondant'. It would be good to encounter Captain De Milja again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This story i really enjoyed. And definitely left wanting more.well written i thought. ... TedPublished 7 months ago by ted
I would happily agree with everyone who enjoyed and admired this book and, yes, I also would relish another book about de Milja. Read morePublished 9 months ago by E. Floyd
The Polish Officer by Alan Furst was recommended and a copy given to us by our friend Dave Dyke. Set across Second World War Europe, the novel follows the activities of a Polish... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Stephanie Jane