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The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers #9)

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,130 Ratings  ·  296 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 May 30th 2006)
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe 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 870 books — 1,530 voters
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
51st out of 699 books — 826 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Will Byrnes
Apr 13, 2016 Will Byrnes rated it it was ok
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
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"This is a war, and, in war, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, and, sometimes, when you think you've lost, you've won."
Jun 08, 2016 Darwin8u rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
“A fat man with a Nazi party pin in his lapel played Cole Porter on a white piano.”
― Alan Furst, The Foreign Correspondent


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 m
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
Jun 25, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy, spy, germany
In the world of Alan Furst the clock is set to either just before the start of or just after the start of the Second World War. He excels at presenting that sick feeling in the pit of the stomach that things are likely to get much worse ... and soon.

The Foreign Correspondent is the story of Reuters foreign correspondent Carlo Weisz, from Trieste, who now lives in Paris working for Reuters, and in his spare time editing an anti-fascist publication called Liberazione, which is attracting the unwel
Feb 09, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: series
I think the motto for this book has to be "Il faut en finir" -- roughly, this can't go on.
This story takes place toward the end of 1938 through the summer of 1939' it follows the experiences of Carlo Weisz and his fellow refugees from the Mussolini regime in Paris. Carlo is in an extremely unique position as a journalist working for the Reuters News Service in Paris, miles above pretty insubstantial jobs his colleagues have -- he is the only one in the emigre group that is able to pursue his pro
Michael Klein
Nov 23, 2010 Michael Klein rated it it was ok
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
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
Aug 10, 2007 Steve rated it really liked it
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
Lewis Weinstein
... an excellent portrayal of anti-fascist resistance, in this case against Mussolini. Furst's place descriptions, as always, are superb. The plot is satisfyingly complex, and the ending is appropriately ambiguous - the lives Furst explores never have clear demarcations.
Jun 17, 2012 Merilee rated it really liked it
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:-(
Mark Fine
May 28, 2015 Mark Fine rated it it was amazing
This novel was quite a revelation with its focus resting on events between the two great wars. As the storm clouds of World War II are looming we are there via Alan Furst’s pen, experiencing the noir-like, uneasy last hurrah of a free Paris (including a brief dalliance with the film world); to soon fall under the grip of the jackbooted Nazi hordes. In the meantime anxiety builds as loyalties are split. The Communists metastasize their subversive ways in their quest for power as the sinister forc ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Ioana rated it it was amazing
Meticulously researched, painstakingly detailed historical portrait of the Italian resistance (esp in France) during WWII: I learned more about the war reading this than I ever did in a history class in school- this is the kind of book that induces one to look up every reference and, along the way, learn about aspects of history it may never have occurred to one to ask about. Such as: the existence of King Zog I, self-proclaimed King of Albania and only Muslim king in all of Europe; the plight o ...more
Jul 30, 2009 Map rated it really liked it
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
Rob Kitchin
Aug 12, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 16, 2012 Dave rated it liked it
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
Dick Reynolds
Apr 10, 2013 Dick Reynolds rated it really liked it
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
Dec 03, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 15, 2008 Scott rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2014 Massimo rated it really liked it
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
Feb 27, 2014 Stuart rated it really liked it
Shelves: espionage
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
Feb 17, 2009 Lynn rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2016 Sara Grace rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sara Grace by: NPR
Shelves: favorites
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.
Brian Hinchcliffe
Feb 27, 2016 Brian Hinchcliffe is currently reading it
The author delivers a valuable combination of war based story telling and insight into human nature using a concentrated writing style that Is appealing and revealing.

Quote from Kolb to Weisz page 165

" We are a traditional service , and we operate on the classic assumptions. Which means we concentrate on the three C's: Crown , Capital and Clergy. THat's where the influence is, that's how a state changes sides, when the leader, King, premiere, whatever he calls himself, and the big money -captain
Nancy Ellis
Sep 27, 2014 Nancy Ellis rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of film noir, this is a dark story of intrigue and resistance in Berlin, Mussolini's Italy, and Paris immediately prior to WW2. Carlo Weisz, an Italian emigre himself, becomes, as the result of murder, the publisher of an Italian antifascist newspaper in Paris where many Italian emigres are trying to save their country. Carlo also happens to be a correspondent for Reuters, so he is able to travel across Europe, including Berlin, where his girlfriend is about to be arrested. Working w ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another amazing historical spy novel, this time it's the Italian resistance in Paris in 1938. The emigres publish a newspaper critical of Mussolini, and Mussolini's secret police murder the editor (this is in the first chapter, not a spoiler). Carlo Weisz, AP reporter, takes over as editor, and is then recruited by British intelligence. His reporting, and spying, take him to Spain, Germany, Italy and all over France. Among the many things that are incredible about these books is the depiction of ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Shannon rated it really liked it
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
Rosemary Zurawel
Jun 17, 2016 Rosemary Zurawel rated it really liked it
Furst's angle on the rich earth of WWII spy novels is unique: an emigré from Mussolini's fascist state to Paris where his cover is as a reporter for Reuters, but he also writes for and publishes an underground anti-fascist newspaper for distribution in Italy. Carlo Weitz is a well-drawn character with the courage of a man clear on his personal mission. He knows deprivation while covering the struggles in Spain, and the rise of Hitler in Berlin. At last, he is drawn into a devil's bargain with th ...more
My favorite part of this was the time/setting - reading about Europe on the cusp of war and what that meant for the different countries/cultures/nationalities. It's not something I know much about, but was a good follow-up to The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis, much of which also took place during that same time and covered similar themes of displacement and cultural destruction.
Neil Pierson
Sep 08, 2015 Neil Pierson rated it liked it
Reasonably entertaining story about a regular guy who is drawn into mildly subversive activities that become life-threatening.

Interesting for its portrait of Europe on the eve of World War II and for its low-key characters. Even the professional spies are hardly dashing or glamorous; they just go about their jobs competently. It's refreshing to read about characters who don't know whether they're the targets of Mussolini's secret police or life's hard knocks, don't have a gun and wouldn't know h
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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 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 Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10)
  • Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)

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“A fat man with a Nazi party pin in his lapel played Cole Porter on a white piano.” 0 likes
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