Furst's "Mission to Paris", a film between book covers

I don't often write about what I am reading, but I can't help rejoicing in Alan Furst's new novel, Mission to Paris.  I can't name another author who has succeeded so well at capturing the atmosphere of cinematic suspense in his novels of wartime Europe in the 1930's and '40's, as exemplified by films like Casablanca and Foreign Correspondent.

I read Dark Star in the early '90's and was captivated.  I read the previous novel, Night Soldiers, and have followed him faithfully.  Mission to Paris is the twelfth in the "Night Soldiers" series.  I still think that Dark Star is his best, but they are all good.  When you have a new Alan Furst novel, you can look forward to a vivid and satisfying read.


Ελλάδα said...

Mission to Paris is set (as the title suggests) in Paris with side-trips to Berlin, Morocco, and Hungary. The unwitting protagonist is one Fredric Stahl. Born in Austria, Stahl made his way to California as a young man and is now one of Hollywood's leading men. He is sent to Paris by his studio head Jack Warner to do a movie with an international cast. The German foreign ministry has decided that Stahl should be enlisted to aid them in their cause and that sets up the story to follow.

I think it unwise to get into plot details so I'll simply state that Furst's strong point has always been how he sets the scene. His descriptions of the streets of Paris and Berlin reek of authenticity. Similarly, Furst has a keen eye for the inner life of his protagonists. Almost invariably Furst manages to convey a real sense of how those protagonists think and feel. Both of these elements of his writing generally dominate his plotting and are primarily responsible for getting the reader to turn to the next page. In this instance, Furst takes a frog in the pot of water approach to his story. Stahl's introduction to the dark world of Germany's `political cold warfare' is set on low and finally brought to a boil. Stahl's reactions to the heat being turned up is handled exceptionally well. The story kept me engaged and the ending was very well done.

Brett said...

Thanks, Ελλάδα, for your response and your plot summary. I am almost finished reading it.