The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers, #9)
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The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers #9)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,381 ratings  ·  244 reviews
From Alan Furst, whom The New York Times calls “America’s preeminent spy novelist,” comes an epic story of romantic love, love of country, and love of freedom–the story of a secret war fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, in the mountains of Spain and the backstreets of Berlin. It is an inspiring, thrilling saga of everyday people forced by their hear...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2006)
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The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Espionage
52nd out of 531 books — 592 voters
The Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
86th out of 712 books — 998 voters


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Jim
Stars-wise, this is either a strong 3 or a weak 4. Normally, I would rate Alan Furst's novels more highly, and this one was a solid 4-star up until the last 50 pages or so. I think the problem I had was that the author doesn't seem to flesh out the last part of the story enough. Furst gives us a lovely build-up, but when his protagonist is in the most danger, he (the author) rushes through to the end.

Still, I was entertained. All the usual elements were there: exiles and refugees, Stalinist age...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This turned out to be really yummy. Good "cloak and dagger" stuff, but with nary a cloak nor a dagger in sight. Italian emigres living in Paris put together newspapers to be smuggled into Italy, where Mussolini has control of the information flow.
This was much quieter than a lot of spy/war novels. Instead of the fast-paced action, it depicts what life was like in Europe immediately before WWII began in earnest. Everyone was tense, knowing war was coming, but not knowing what they should do or h...more
Steve
Thank you, Susan, for turning me on to this well-told spy story. I have to believe that Furst is among the best in this genre. The setting--Europe in the 30’s, in the throes of fascism--is so fateful and Furst’s knowledge of the era is impressive. He gave his characters enough life to care about them, too, which I don’t imagine is always the case with stories of this sort. I have to say I also came away with a greater appreciation for historical fiction, in general. It’s such a painless and effe...more
Merilee
Another fun thriller listened to in the car. This one narrated by Alfred Molina, who does a great job with all the accents, except for pronouncing Madchen Maadchen:-(
Will Byrnes
I found this book very disappointing. I snatched it from a bookshelf at home, thinking it was the book that provided the basis for Hitchcock’s 1940 film, “Foreign Correspondent.“ Oops. It is a 1930’s spy novel all right, but one published in 2006 by highly regarded writer Alan Furst. Ok. No big deal. It could still be pretty good, right? I have enjoyed more than a few books that transport one back to the time and place, capturing a certain feel. I was still hoping for Hitchcockian adventure. Ala...more
Rob Kitchin
Alan Furst’s stories are thrillers with a small t. They grab and pull you along, but the storytelling is subtle and deep, avoiding melodrama and high tension plotting that often characterise capital T thrillers. They are sumptuous meals of carefully blended tastes, rather than the zip of junk food. And so it is with The Foreign Correspondent. As with all Furst novels, the prose is excellent, the narrative is well structured and textured, and his characters are complex, living multi-dimensional l...more
Michael Klein
I picked this book up because I was so taken with the first Furst book I read, "The Spies of Warsaw." Also, Furst is considered a master of the historical spy novel, and he is writing about the time period I am writing about. More or less. So why not sit back and watch a master at work?

I found "The Foreign Correspondent" to be slightly disappointing, particularly when held up to "Warsaw."

The problem I think I had with this novel was that we never really got to know enough about the main characte...more
Darwin8u
A nice solid Furst novel. I took a small pause from reading Furst because his books had started to all be blending in together (maybe by design), but 'The Foreign Correspondent' was like a well-timed nosh. The story was tight and well-paced, there was an interesting memoir-within-a-novel that worked rather well since the protagonist in the novel was the ghost-writer of the memoir.

Anyway, not on my top-shelf of Furst's novels, but it was a good Night Soldier's addition that focused on the period...more
Map
Terrific book! I've had this for a while but finally got around to reading it on my iPhone, thanks to forgetting another book for the subway. Alan Furst recreates the sense of despair, terror, menace, and claustrophobia of a group of antifascist emigres in Paris in the months leading to the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II. The main character, an Italian journalist at the center of the group named Carlo, was intriguing and intelligent, and his fears, hopes, and passion for the br...more
Dick Reynolds
This novel by Alan Furst spans the period from December 1938 to July 1939 and takes place in Italy, Berlin, but mostly in Paris.
The central character is Carlo Weisz, an Italian émigré whose day job is a foreign correspondent for the Reuters bureau in Paris. But his writing talents also have him working at odd hours as editor and occasional contributor to a clandestine newspaper that is part of the resistance against Mussolini's fascist government. He’s also the ghostwriter on behalf of Colone...more
Susan
The Foreign Correspondent opens with an assassination. The reader sees it unfold through the eyes of its mastermind: a shadowy figure seated at the back of a luxury sedan, the silver medal of the Italian Fascist Party pinned to his lapel. With icy satisfaction he watches his victim enter a Paris hotel on a rainy evening in 1938, where a gunman bearing a silencer-tipped Beretta is waiting. Yet there is no mystery to this murder. It is intended as a direct, chilling message to the community of Ita...more
Scott
As my first foray into espionage thrillers, I was excited to see what was ahead -- would it be military-focused and procedural (ala Tom Clancy?) I hoped not. I wanted something more akin to Patricia Highsmith. I wanted brooding, the anti-hero, classic European sights, twisting plot, dark and light characters.

I definitely got that -- and more: history, pre-WWII, insights into the political machineries that Hollywood-produced movies self-centeredly miss.

As a fan of fantasy books, with their self-p...more
Massimo
La vita che scivola giorno dopo giorno non è più la stessa per chi decide che il mondo non gira nel verso giusto.
1938: Carlo Weisz è uno stimato giornalista, che vive a Parigi e viaggia in tutta l'Europa per coprire i principali avvenimenti come inviato per conto di un'importante testata inglese e che non perde occasione per essere a Berlino e incontrarsi con l'amante tedesca moglie di un alto ufficiale dell'esercito di Hitler. Apparentemente, tutto meno che un eroe.
Ma Carlo Weisz è anche un r...more
Stuart
This was a better book than the last one I read by Alan Furst (Spies of the Balkans, which was somewhat bland). Like most of his books, it takes place in Europe as events move inexorably towards the Second World War. He creates the terrible atmosphere of that time, the sense of despair, frustration and fear, via the experiences of a group of anti-Fascist Italian émigrés in Paris who do their best to create (in Paris) a monthly anti-government newspaper called Liberazione for distribution in Ital...more
Lynn
I loved this book, for the characters, the plot, the time period. Got a feel for the pre-2nd world war in Europe and the stress of the life of a foreign correspondent. Yes, I know it is a novel, but Furst writes "first"-rate fiction. Pure plot and character, little sex or violence, just a good yarn, well told.

Sara Grace
Jul 12, 2008 Sara Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sara Grace by: NPR
Beautifully written. The ending felt a little anti-climatic, and the plot progressed much slower than you might expect for a political intrigue novel. Certainly worth reading.

Now that a few months have passed I should comment that this book has aged well. I refer to it often and remember it fondly.
Shannon
I give The Foreign Correspondent 4 stars not because of the plot, which was not so "thrilling" (and I love thrillers) but because of the richness in character and historical detail of a doomed WWII past in Europe, where ordinary folks practiced espionage by day, and sat down to dine with their families in the evening.

Furst loves his stuff! And for that I love him! Check this quote out from page 5:

"The chauffeur was watching his side-view mirror. "Il galletto," he said. Yes, the cockerel, so th...more
Jodie
I had been wanting to read a book by Alan Furst. I had heard they were good...spy thrillers, but more intellectual than some others. Although I tend to like the more action filled spy novels, I do like to read this type also. I found there to be no real intrigue or really interesting clandestine activity in this book, but the story was enjoyable. I agree with some of the other reviewers that the ending was kind of odd and anti-climatic. Even though I didn't love this book, I would try another to...more
Emily
Jan 09, 2009 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
My father described Furst's work as not a thriller, but a novel of intrigue, and he's quite right: this is no Jason Bourne-parkour-shootout-adventure, but rather a thoughtful novel about a journalist who's doing something dangerous but necessary--and who'd like to keep things quiet if possible.

The protagonist, Carlo Weisz, is originally from Trieste and works for Reuters in Paris in 1938. On the side, he edits an antifascist paper called Liberazione--a dangerous gig, considering that the last ed...more
Robert
The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst is a novel about the little wars that precede the big ones. By this I don’t refer to the early skirmishes, I refer to wars of information, propaganda, subversive and unifying communication. As often is the case with Furst, the setting is pre-World War II Europe. Paris and Berlin play central roles, but the focus is on Carlo Weisz, an “Italian” from Trieste who is a multi-lingual Reuters correspondent who also helps edit a small anti-Mussolini newspaper in...more
London
Jan 02, 2013 London rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dedicated Alan Furst fans
This was a hard book to rate. In many ways, it delivers on all of the promises any Alan Furst novel offers. The research appears to be top notch, with plenty of telling details to give it a powerful sense of place; the story puts the reader in the middle of the hidden side of the road to WWII. Yet, I got the the last 20 pages wondering where the novel was going? Alas, I don't mean an unexpected plot turn thrilled me with the unknown. Rather, the plot doesn't seem to suggest an ending. While Furs...more
James Schubring
I wanted to love this book, but the adjective I keep coming back to as a descriptor is: bloodless.

There's a lot of ponderousness and little action to fill the pages. How do you take the pre-WWII period of a life among Italian emigres into Frances, people trying to cause Mussolini problems, and render it dull. There's an assassination at the beginning and lots of moments that could be tense. There's Italian secret police and a MacGuffin-like list of Nazi's emplaced into Italy that could be a knoc...more
Dorothy
Nov 05, 2008 Dorothy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WWII buffs, lovers of historical fiction and espionage thrillers
Recommended to Dorothy by: Hubby
Alan Furst is a really good writer. I'm very glad I read this book although I would never have picked it up on my own. It covers a period of 20th century history that has been done to death and that I OD'd on long ago - the World War II period, that staple of the History Channel. But my husband, who is actually a WWII and espionage buff, read it and recommended it to me, telling me that I would like it in spite of the subject material. Once again, he was right.

The action here takes place in 193...more
Erin
This book got a lot of positive reviews, so I thought I'd check it out. I really enjoyed many aspects of the novel, including the author's writing style, but wasn't completely satisfied by the story.

The Foreign Correspondent is set in Paris in 1938, on the eve of World War II. It tells the tale of Carlo Weisz, an Italian who has fled his country for Paris as Mussolini's grip tightens in Italy. He works for Reuters in Paris, but his passion is writing for the underground, anti-fascist newspaper L...more
Paul
I'm a great fan of Alan Furst. His novels involve a locus and a period of history that fascinate me -- the civilian population (more or less) of Wesern and Eastern Europe before, during, and immediately after WW II.

This novel begins west of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, 1935, and concludes in Paris in mid-1939, a few months prior to the Nazi invasion of Poland that September.

Principally the local of the book is Paris, but Berlin and Genoa have their moments.

As with all Furst novels (I ha...more
Dave
Not bad, but not really satisfying. Spy fiction gives a writer an opportunity to challenge readers' preconceived notions of right and wrong. Many of LeCarre's books do that. Foreign Correspondent does not. Its basic moral premise is that Fascists and Nazis are bad. That was pretty much resolved by the time I was born (and I am old).

Spy fiction also gives an opportunity for action. Aside from a brief passage in the Spanish Civil War, the book's only action has the protagonist hit from behind (the...more
Elli
Another great novel from the period Naziism was really establishing itself in spite of the fact that most of the intellectual population really didn't think it could possibly go that far or last that long. In these you become one of the many concerned people, most of them little, but very capable people. Many are emigrants who for one reason or another can probably never go back, and most are quite fond of Paris, the closest second-best to the home they wanted when felt forced to leave. The more...more
Lars Guthrie
Similar set-up to 'Spies of Warsaw' and 'Spies of the Balkans,' which is OK with me. Furst has still got me hooked with his somewhat unwilling but ultimately decent spies who win in love, even if their efforts to obstruct the Axis are doomed.

The name of 'The Foreign Correspondent' is Carlo Weisz, a name that conveys a past of shifting allegiances, as does that of his home town, Trieste. But Weisz, after shuffling through early adulthood, has found his vocation, writing for Reuters in Paris, a ca...more
Laura
This was the first Furst (heh) book I read, and the more of his stories I read, the easier it gets. Furst writes historical thrillers almost like poetry, with unconventional sentences, stellar imagery, and lots of foreign phrases sprinkled in. But they never really reach a climax - they meander along at a pleasant pace, giving you plenty of time to explore your surroundings, then rush you through some exciting rapids, then set you gently adrift as you were before. This is the biggest drawback to...more
Jonathan
I’ve heard good things about Alan Furst’s spy novels. They’re set almost exclusively in the pre-WWII “rise of fascism” era or during WWII itself and contain immersive detail about the events, politics, and general life of the time period. I like spy novels. I like WWII history. From the sounds of things, it should be just the type of thing to float my boat. Or trip my trigger. Or tickle my pickle. Take your pick. So when I selected The Foreign Correspondent (Furst’s 2006 entry in his Night Solid...more
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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
More about Alan Furst...
Night Soldiers (Night Soldiers, #1) The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10) Mission to Paris (Night Soldiers, #12) The World at Night (Night Soldiers, #4) Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)

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