90 Books about Poland | Polish War Graves in Britain
It is 1937. A world war is two years away. Across Europe the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet NKVD engage in a struggle for supremacy. On the front line is Andre Szara, a jew, foreign correspondent for Pravda and an NKVD spy. A born survivor of the Polish pogroms, the Stalinist purges and the Russian civil wars but can he survive in a Europe on the brink of catastrophe.
A wonderful review of Dark Star by the author Adam Le Bor that captures the essence of an Alan Furst novel.
Somewhere in Mittel-Europa in the late 1930s, on a train, a boat, or a rickety propeller-powered plane, a man is trying to cross a border. It is night, the hour just before dawn, the sky gun-metal grey. He may be fleeing the Nazis or the Soviets, with a valid passport or a forged one, with secret papers or perhaps just information in his head that others will kill for. Across the frontier a woman waits for him ... great storytelling, atmosphere and marvellous characters ... the late 1930s and wartime 1940s are an ever-present backdrop.
Adam LeBor is the author of City of Oranges: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa (2006). The book was reviewed on NormBlog (4 April 2006).
Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times (US) 12 June 1991, wrote in Spying for Russia in Prewar Europe
The place and time is Paris in 1938, as Franco is driving to victory in Spain and before Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which would draw all of Europe into World War II. Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass in Germany, has shattered any illusions that the Third Reich might halt its murderous persecution of the Jews… The historical background and intelligence information are woven into the novel seamlessly. It's as if Mr. Furst obtained documents under a Freedom of Information Act - which, of course, doesn’t exist in the Soviet Union - about NKVD activities ... His Dark Star casts a strong new light on the old world of espionage.
J. Bradford DeLong is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He has reviewed Alan Furst’s novel Dark Star on his website.
Next time I teach a course on the entire politico-economic history of the twentieth century, I think I may assign Alan Furst’s novel Dark Star, for it does a better job than anything else I have read to catch the atmosphere of the days when Josef Stalin seemed to be the lesser of two evils–and it is a very fine novel besides.