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Night Soldiers by Alan Furst

Night Soldiers (original 1988; edition 2009)

by Alan Furst

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922249,486 (3.97)99
Title:Night Soldiers
Authors:Alan Furst
Info:Phoenix (2009), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, historical, espionage, 1930s, WWII, Europe, USA

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Night Soldiers by Alan Furst (1988)

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  1. 10
    Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell (ANeumann)
    ANeumann: Another example of a great piece of historical fiction.
  2. 10
    The Fort by Bernard Cornwell (ANeumann)
    ANeumann: Another great historical novel of a different era.
  3. 00
    Zoo Station by David Downing (majkia)
    majkia: similar books in that they focus on ordinary people swept up into becoming spies.

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
If you had to decide from internal evidence which was the first of Alan Furst's spy novels to be published, you would surely spot this one.: He tried to produce an epic and covered too much ground. From then on, he got his formula right. Epic is not his thing; depth and detail is his thing.
  sonofcarc | Feb 16, 2014 |
Re-read on the floor while the boy sleeps. I didn't like it as much as the first time, but still an A-list spy novel.
  ben_a | Dec 23, 2013 |
In 1930's Bulgaria, young Khristo is recruited to Moscow as a young trainee in the Russian secret service NKVD. As tensions in Europe mount leading up to WWII, our hero learns tradecraft, suffers betrayal, has great sex and works for competing intelligence organizations. Very atmospheric and generally well written. Don't get too invested in many of the characters -- they crop up only to disappear.
  michigantrumpet | Oct 28, 2013 |
Author Alan Furst calls it “near history.” Night Soldiers provides us a view with near-miraculous clarity of war-torn Europe in the 1940s, and this glimpse comes to us courtesy of Khristo – a nineteen-year-old Bulgarian youth who grows up by a river, watches Fascist thugs murder his younger brother, and falls into the war himself in the clutches of the Soviet secret service, the NKVD. This satisfying excursion into World War II espionage has every feature you’d want: intriguing insights into the tradecraft, a closely imagined story of a Soviet purge of its security service (Khristo is sentenced to life in prison as a result), close-ups of the cruel and genocidal regimes lording it over Europe at the time, and even a dabbling into the hero’s love life.

World War II nearly kills Khristo; he is one of the few survivors from the close-knit group that trained together in Moscow. Mr. Furst spares no effort in portraying the wasted Europe of the time, either. Protagonist Khristo suffers time and again in various circumstances and for various reasons, just like the devastated continent. In fact, we witness the damage done over time to the man and the place, as in parallel. That’s what remains with me after finishing this book: I remember and feel the near-death escapes, heroic perseverance, and lost opportunities for happiness. Night Soldiers is packed with diverting secondary characters, too, from Khristo’s lover in Paris, to the American adventuress fighting in the Spanish Civil War, to the stout woman who pilots the tug boat that carries Khristo to freedom.

This is an extreme page-turner. Outcomes for characters are always in doubt – some make us sorry we liked a character, but overall, Mr. Furst has cobbled together a highly satisfying yarn of suspense, featuring fully nuanced heavies, and intrepid heroes.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2013/05/night-soldiers-by-alan-furst.html ( )
  LukeS | May 24, 2013 |
The story begins in 1937. Kristo Stoinev, a Bulgarian is recruited by the NKVD, the Russian secret service, after he runs into trouble with the local Fascist group in his home town of Vidin. Here he trained in the art of espionage. He make friends with various people of differing ethnicities. He is send to Spain to run an agent. Due to personnel and policy changes in the NKVD, he comes under suspicion and is forced to flee from Spain. He lands up in Paris determined to lead a straight life but is pulled into a net of con men and plans a robbery of gold from a Russian embassy personnel. The robbery goes well but he once again comes in the radar of NKVD. the NKVD catches up to him but in return to valuable information he is allowed to go but has to leave France and his girlfriend behind. On the run he is recruited by the OSS, the American secret service but is abandoned in the field. By this time it is 1945 and the war is at its end and Kristo seeks to go back home.

The beauty of this book lies in the details. The author lays stress on the little things and puts us on the ground with Kristo. Being a spy is not about the style, it is a constant struggle for survival. An excellent read. ( )
  mausergem | May 19, 2013 |
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In Bulgaria, in 1934, on a muddy street in the river town of Vidin, Khristo Stoianev saw his brother kicked to death by fascist militia.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375760008, Paperback)

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates
the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934-45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau mode in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the Freanch underground in 1944.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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