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Night Soldiers (1988)

by Alan Furst

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Night Soldiers (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,4704410,642 (3.9)152
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.… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, jamesabg, Jeffrey_G, jbadams101, kamintra, GrettelTBR, DidIReallyReadThat, superdubey
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
  1. 10
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» See also 152 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I found this to be a hard book to read, partly due to the number of characters and partly due to my lack of familiarity with the places along the Danube river.

Some of the characters seemed to have little or nothing to do with the story, although I'm not real sure what the story actually was. All I know is it wasn't what I was expecting, but that's not really a problem.

I think the book is sort of like poetry, where a lot of things are hard to follow, but it leaves impressions along the way. The mood is perhaps more important than a story. Also important is the history, which is exposed by following a lot of people, many of which are not a part of the main story. And to be honest, I'm not totally sure how it ends, or if it matters. But then again, I was never very good at following most poetry. ( )
  MartyFried | Oct 9, 2022 |
This first novel in Alan Furst’s Night Soldiers series sets the tone for the subsequent novels to come. Featuring the murky politics of Eastern Europe and the cynical maneuvering of the German Nazis and the Russian communists, our hero, Khristo the Bulgarian just want to survive. From his training by the Soviet NKVD to his special service in the Spanish Civil War, to the real war beginning in 1940, Khristo has to navigate the funhouse mirrored world of Stalin’s Soviet Union, as well as the shifting loyalties of the partisans fighting the Germans.

A tour de force, Alan Furst is not called the master of the spy novel for nothing. ( )
  etxgardener | Jun 3, 2022 |
Bulgarian recruit of NKVD, Spain France and beyond
  ritaer | Jul 10, 2021 |
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst A story of a young man who is "recruited" by a Russian and taken from his home in Bulgaria and trained "in the craft of spying".
 
This story follows his life from Russia to Spain to France to Germany. This is a huge undertaking to read, at around 460 pages it requires concentration and commitment  but it is hugely rewarding. Superbly written and completely coherent with distinct characters. It conjures up real atmosphere in every setting of this panoramic story. Epic is the word I was looking for and in this case it is the word that best fits this masterpiece. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Read twice in the last few years. A wonderful, wide-ranging in time and space, novel with a dark, mysterious ending. Great protagonist and characters. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Furst, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, George.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noble, LouiseCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, GeorgeMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Push out a bayonet. If it strikes fat, push deeper. If it strikes iron, pull back for another day.

—V. I. Lenin

May 1922
Executive Order 9621

TERMINATION OF THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES (OSS)

The Secretary of War shall, whenever he deems it compatible with the national interest, discontinue any activity transfered by this paragraph and wind up all affairs relating thereto.

—Harry S. Truman

September 20, 1945
Dedication
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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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If you had nothing else in the world you could at least have a secret. (Chapter 1)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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