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Mission to Paris (Night Soldiers #12)

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,323 Ratings  ·  993 Reviews
Frederic Stahl, born of Viennese intelligentsia, ran away to sea at 17. Arriving in America, his matinee idol looks took him to Hollywood, & a life of movies & women. Soon after war breaks out in Europe, he goes to Paris to shoot a film. He is soon drawn into a clandestine world of foreign correspondents, exiled Spanish republicans, & spies.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 14th 2012 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published June 12th 2012)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
2.5 stars
This is a bland treatment of an intriguing plot idea. Fredric Stahl is an American movie star with Austrian roots. In the fall of 1938, he goes to Paris for a film shoot. The Nazis railroad him into serving as propaganda to boost their image.

Furst spends the first 200 pages or so introducing an endless array of new characters, treating us to boring descriptions of various films, and taking us through tedious days on the movie set with Stahl and the film crew. The last 50 pages are more
Will Byrnes
One of the things we enjoy most about spy stories is when a non-pro gets caught up in international intrigue. Richard Hannay in The Thirty Nine Steps (The film, of course. Yes, I know he was an intel-guy in the book) and Roger Thornhill

Robert Donat as Hannay in Hitchcock’s classic

in North by Northwest pop immediately to mind. While our everyman in Mission to Paris may not exactly be just anyone, Frederic Stahl, a B-list movie star in Paris for a shoot, is, by virtue of his profession, a person
Furst again mines well that sweet spot for personal moral drama: in the face of the impending Nazi domination of Europe in the late 30’s, what would you, an ordinary person, do to contribute to countering the threat?

In this case, the “ordinary” person takes the form of Fredric Stahl, a Hollywood movie star on location in Paris in 1938 to make a film, ironically about Foreign Legionnaires making their way home after World War 1. He soon becomes a target to become a player in the Nazi propaganda
I’ve been spying on (pun intended) Alan Furst’s delicious looking WW2 noir fiction for quite some time now. The front covers with the old black and white photographs of dark alleys and stairwells of old Europe look irresistible to me. It instantly reminds me of the classic black & white Noir film, the Third Man, which is one of my favorite films.

This new book, Mission to Paris, is the twelfth in Furst’s Night Soldiers series which all follow separate plots concerning different characters an
Jeepers, what a tough review to write. It's that 3-star curse: "I liked it just fine, thank you, Ma'am." My literary passions were neither inflamed nor offended, but I was happily entertained. And sometimes that's all I need from a read: an escape.

And if it comes in a package of sublimely crafted settings that conjure from history's clouds the darkening heart of 1938-39 Europe, with characters rendered as precisely as wood-block prints ("He was about fifty, Stahl guessed, with the thickening bo
Read Mission to Paris and it was vintage Furst with a return to the non-pro agent (an Austrian-American actor) like in Blood of Victory or Dark Voyage. Of the two more recent ones, I loved the Warsaw novel but the Balkans one was less interesting for some reason; this one was excellent and while Dark Star is still Furst supreme and one of the best ever pre-WW2 novels I've read, this is top tier; a lot of predictability true but still very enjoyable as character and atmosphere rather than action ...more
Lance Charnes
Jun 18, 2013 Lance Charnes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of unfiltered cigarettes, Paris Match and Claude Rains
Mission to Paris is an Alan Furst production, which should, by now, tell you everything you need to know about it: interwar European intrigue, a morally compromised milieu, atmospheric settings sketched with the lightest touch, buckets of research made to look effortless. His novels take place in a world in which cocktail parties and dinners happen every night, every man has at least one mistress, and the main characters smoke Gauloises and say smart things and have a je ne sais quoi you might e ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Another excellent story, set mostly in 1938 Paris, with some scenes in Berlin and some in a Hungarian palace. Furst describes vicious and thorough Nazi political espionage efforts to demoralize France and convince them of the futility of fighting. Needless to say, it worked. When the Nazis invaded, France gave up after 5 weeks.

The story is told around the making of a movie, a plot device Furst has used before, and one which works well here. My only complaint is the wrap-up at the end, which I t
May 09, 2016 Gerald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the years just before WWII broke out in Europe, Warner Bros. loans movie star and leading man Frederic Stahl to a Parisian film studio. Born in Vienna, Stahl speaks English, French, and German. He becomes a reluctant messenger to power brokers in Berlin as the Nazis prepare to unleash their plan. He's a kind of double agent, because the Germans think he's working for them.
Mission to Paris is more of a love story than a spy thriller, perhaps because its main character is more lover than spy. H
May 16, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hurray for Hollywood

In “Mission to Paris” Furst writes a story of an actor, Fredric Stahl, who goes to Paris in 1938 to star in a film and slowly gets lured into taking sides between Germany, his old homeland, and the rest of Europe. Even before he arrives both Germany and France are subtly vying for his loyalty. Though he left Germany for America many years ago he’d still been sucked into World War I working as a desk clerk. The more he explores the Paris of 1938 the more he begins to loathe th
I am a huge Alan Furst fan. I look forward to all of his new books with great anticipation and am always rewarded with a great read. That is why this book is a big disappointment. It has many of the same elements of Furst's previous novels, including the Paris bistro with the bullet hole in the wall. However, it is painfully slow, almost plotless with terribly undeveloped characters who utter inane lines. Alan, did you really write this book? I don't believe it!
L Fleisig
May 01, 2012 L Fleisig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold." Prince Metternich
It is autumn 1938 and the German government has decided to make Paris sneeze violently as it carries on its preparations for war. Determined to avenge the ignominy of Versailles, the German Foreign Ministry seeks to destabilize the already fragile French Third Republic by co-opting willing and unwilling fifth columnists to do their bidding. It was a cold war designed to soften the French before the onslaught of the real war that everyon
Alexander McNabb
I enjoy Alan Furst's books for their atmospherics and tremendous sense of time and place. They're great escapes, often set across stunning swathes of wartime Europe and when they hit the sweet spot, they can be spine-tinglingly realistic and gripping.

I'll not summarise the plot, there are plenty of plot summaries around. I'll just get straight onto the experience if you don't mind.

This was an easy enough read, generally delivered on the grimy sepia vignettes but seemed somewhat aimless. It meand
Jun 05, 2016 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
“Without giving up anything on the plane of justice, yield nothing on the plane of freedom”
― Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays


This is my first introduction (other than by reputation) to Alan Furst, and while the novel was interesting and well-researched from a historical perspective -- it just wasn't a great spy thriller. Perhaps, I was hoping Mission to Paris would be grittier, but it seems like Furst was more interested in telling this pre-WWII spy novel in the tone and s
Aug 19, 2012 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read all of Alan Furst's earlier books. Liked the earlier novels a lot. Immensely, to be honest. Finally someone writing about the period with subtlety and insight. But the last couple--and especially this one--were disappointing. "Mission to Paris" often reads like Harlequin romance schtick aimed at male readers (no, and that ain't me, as you might guess). The protagonist, an Austrian-Slovenian-born actor who now takes the name "Stahl," is never in serious jeopardy, in fact, if it can be believ ...more
Tim Pendry

Another solid thriller from Alan Furst, a cut above the average. The characterisation is one stage improved on 'Spies of the Balkans' and the sexual relationships vastly so.

Furst is good at creating believable heroes - not so much likeable as manly and with existential integrity. His Austrian-turned-Hollywood star Frederic Stahl is in that mould. His woman are also well drawn.

The book is not subtle politically. Furst's history is accurately researched even if the Nazis are all straight out of Ne
Dec 30, 2014 Speesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: between-the-wars
I think if you’re going to start reading Alan Furst novels (and if you haven’t, why not?), you could do no better than start here. Though, as this is so good, maybe it would be better to start elsewhere and save this pleasure? Hard to decide how to recommend it best. It really is a summation of all his strengths, all his subtitles. The perfect place to start, the perfect place to carry on from.

A deceptively simple story - all the best are - and American movie star, Frederic Stahl agrees, at his
Jim Leffert
Oct 13, 2012 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cue the deep fog enveloping the dreary docks in a Balkan or Turkish port, listen for the clinking of wine glasses in Paris, and take note of the menacing shadows of Nazi ambitions reaching over Europe—Alan Furst is back with a new World War II era novel! In each of these books, a "regular"person, who is neither a professional spy nor a soldier, responds to the Nazi menace by risking his life in a clandestine operation.

There is a formulaic quality to these books—the hero will undergo danger, hav
Craig Pittman
Jun 23, 2012 Craig Pittman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say that Alan Furst writes spy novels is misleading. What he writes are novels about how ordinary men and women responded to the greatest crisis to confront Western civilization in the 20th century, namely the rise of fascism in Europe. His heroes are ship's captains, mapmakers, writers, soldiers, who are pressed into service as spies and saboteurs. This book features his most unlikely hero to date, a Hollywood movie star named Fredric Stahl. Stahl, born in Austria, is now being sent to Paris ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've now read three of Alan Furst's novels and conclude that he's a good writer. He tells some pretty good stories set in Europe during the '20s or '30s with the same general themes: Nazis and Fascists are bad, so are Communists except when they're fighting the Nazis, and we must have faith because the good guys will prevail.

Furst does a great job with atmosphere, especially in Paris, where I kept expecting to bump into Bogey and Bergman on their way to Casablanca. He describes the weather, the
Jun 25, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Furst is back and in fine form. Long time readers will recognize characters and places from previous novels and welcome new ones. Furst's pre-war Paris would not be complete without a visit to Papa Henninger's for some choucroute. And yes, the Bulgarian bullet hole is still there.

But there is a new thread as well. And that is that the evil of totalitarianism isn't just in wars and concentration camps -- the big things -- but in small things too. The way these regimes must attack human dign
Alan Furst's novels have everything I'm looking for in a spy novel. He writes exclusively about what was going on in Europe in the 30s and 40s. His characters tend to have complicated motivations and it's often hard to tell who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. Turns out we're all a little of both.

Actually, in this, there is a clear hero. Fredric Stahl is a famous movie star living in Hollywood; he's originally from Vienna. In the fall of 1938, Warner Bros sends him to Paris to film a movie
Aug 07, 2012 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mission to Paris, is the twelfth installment of Alan Furst's Night Soldiers series. A series that began 24 years ago and continues with the same vigor and intelligence. I have read them all and still continue to marvel at how each one, generally with a completely new cast of characters, although some appear multiple times, generates the same level of intense interest for me. Furst's books are, as I said in my review of Spies of the Balkans, "variations on a theme, Hitler's War looms and in vario ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spy story and Alan Furst Fans
Alan Furst is one of my favorite authors. He is head and shoulders above anyone writing spy novels today possibly excepting John Le Carre'. As I've said in previous reviews, he has taken the spy novel to the level of contemporary literature. This effort is no exception.

The protagonist, Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl, born in Vienna but now a permanent resident of the U.S. is sent to Paris in late 1938 to make a movie for Paramount Studios on loan from Warner Bros. Upon arriving in Paris he is
Marc  A.
Mar 19, 2013 Marc A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If 1/2 stars were available I would have awarded 4.5. The less than top rating only to distinguish this most recent effort from some of the other books in Furst's spy novels that I think are better.
Otherwise, "Mission To Paris" delivers all the well crafted historical background and suspense that I have enjoyed from Alan Furst's earlier works. Set again mostly in pre-WWII Paris (a city with which Furst is intimately familiar, the reader is treated to another "you are there" story of the lives of
Byron Lord
Jun 24, 2014 Byron Lord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Good reads and this is my honest review.
A spy tale of the first order and an insight into the political espionage of the Third Rich, as World War II in Europe reaches climax. Set in Paris in 1939, this story brings out the brilliant under workings of Von Ribbentrop’s political drama and dirty tricks to thwart French buildup for the upcoming invasion. We are treated to a view into the early efforts of the US which ultimately became the Office of Strategic Service, OSS. W
Dec 16, 2015 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, noir
I thought this one would be a disappointment, since the ratings on it are much lower. But actually, technically, it's one of Furst's better ones. The usual Furst here is, while human and passionate, rather heroic. But this time, the central figure, Stahl, is a rather helpless, naive, and foolish man. Not even terribly bright. An actor. But Furst this time has taken a page deliberately out of Eric Ambler, and shows how an ordinary man gets sucked into events way above his pay grade. And indeed, y ...more
Harold Kasselman
I enjoyed the historical setting in pre-World War 2 France with the impending invasion of Germany. The author provides a spot on glimpse of the ambivalence of the people of France.; the anxiety and belief that the Nazis regime could not be prevented and the hope that concessions could lead to conciliation. That duality helped the Nazis propaganda machine foster and shape the minds of the French to opt for hope that conciliation could save them from disaster.
Set in this background is the story o
Joni Dee
Apr 04, 2016 Joni Dee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed by Alan Furst's mission to Paris. I thought it was an easy "fast food" read, but was lacking a lot of profound ground for it to really appeal to me. The story is straightforward. Boy comes to Paris - boy gets attention from many women - boy selects the surprising "ugly duckling" - boy protects his women when in danger. In the meanwhile boy is becoming some sort of American spy/agent in Nazi Germany, oh and yes - boy (Fredric Stahl) is a famous American actor.

"Mission to Paris"
Jul 10, 2012 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
normally i really like furst's spy novels, but this one took way too long to get going, and was basically pretty boring. it took until page 200 of a 255 page book, before any real espionage went on. prior to that, there was way too much time spent in building up the character of the main protagonist, a famous american actor, in france to film a movie, who eventually ( and i do mean eventually, gets dragged into the spying game. a very disappointing book.
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Mission to Paris by Alan Furst 1 7 Mar 05, 2015 11:20AM  
Historical Myster...: Night Soldiers by Alan Furst 1 21 Apr 03, 2013 01:28PM  
  • Lehrter Station (John Russell, #5)
  • Istanbul Passage
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher #1)
  • Jack 1939
  • A Foreign Country (Thomas Kell, #1)
  • An American Spy (The Tourist, #3)
  • The Arms Maker of Berlin
  • A Game of Lies (Hannah Vogel, #3)
  • Then We Take Berlin
  • Flight From Berlin
Alan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island.

Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The F
More about Alan Furst...

Other Books in the Series

Night Soldiers (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Night Soldiers (Night Soldiers, #1)
  • Dark Star (Night Soldiers, #2)
  • The Polish Officer (Night Soldiers, #3)
  • The World at Night (Night Soldiers, #4)
  • Red Gold (Night Soldiers, #5)
  • Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers, #6)
  • Blood of Victory (Night Soldiers, #7)
  • Dark Voyage (Night Soldiers, #8)
  • The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers, #9)
  • The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10)

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