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Pawns in the game
on 30 January 2011
The details of this story of 1930/40's espionage have been ably set out by others. Khristo Stoianev and his Eastern European cohorts are portrayed as pawns in the spying game symbolized by the chess piece he carries as a sort of lucky charm.
The book did not grip me. It read more as the findings of a research project than as an outstanding novel. The minute detail of local politics, geography and actual events was often distracting. The decision to split into four major chunks did not work. There were many set-pieces which would have benefited from a natural chapter break.
The book is laudable, educational and describes a rarely covered broad canvas of European history from a different political perspective. However, it was rather earnest and did not thrill - but then again maybe Mr Furst never intended it to. A worthy and rewarding book.