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Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers #6)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,211 ratings  ·  170 reviews
In spymaster Alan Furst's most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath—a hugely charismatic hero—becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in eastern Europe.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published July 20th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve
An Alan Furst protagonist is invariably intellectual, politically astute, a man of action, a consummate lover, honorable, brave, and on the right side of any conflict (which follows naturally from despising Nazis). Nicholas Morath is the perfect archetype. Of course, the background and circumstances of a Furst hero can vary. Morath was an ex-pat from Hungary residing in Paris right before WWII. He was living life well working as an ad executive and seeing an attractive Argentine heiress. As the ...more
John
This book was frustrating. Everytime the plot started to get interesting Furst would go off on one of his innumerable tangents, examining the circumstances of some bit player. I know that he likes to chronicle the effect WWII had on everyday people but the plot gets too diluted with all the effort to create atmosphere everywhere. Plus, I think he's too enamoursed of his witticisms. When he would examine the actual history of the era the book was very good, but these passages were too few and far ...more
KOMET
In reading "KINGDOM OF SHADOWS", I saw echoes of "The Third Man". Furst does a superb job here of making you feel 'in the moment', in the midst of a time in which Europe stood on the brink of war. 'Europe 1938' lives again through Furst. I liked von Morath and admired his style and sang-froid. His relationship with his mistress was tender and endearing. More than anything, I loved the cinemagraphic sensations this novel evoked in me. "KINGDOM OF SHADOWS" reads as good as any of the best movies o ...more
Jon
A blurb on the back of my edition read, "...haunting, elegiac, and seductive. It is suffused with forlorn hopes, risktaking and heartbreak. I wanted it to go on and on." I agree with all of that except the last sentence. This book was real, detailed, and authentic. It put me in a pre-war world of betrayal and fear that I could not wait to get out of. I've visited some of the cities described here, and I've read potted histories describing the national animosities of the period. But this book mak ...more
Ryan Chapman
Apr 05, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WWII Buffs
Shelves: fiction, lightweight
This was my stab at genre fiction, and a stab it was: quick and ineffective. Furst might be excellent within his coterie, but as a traditional reader of literary fiction, this felt slight and cheap at almost every turn. The plot itself was pretty much garbage, nothing more than a prop for the author's show-offy details, and I couldn't feel anything for the protagonist because he, too, was nothing more than a prop. There should be a name for this, but you can probably guess the type: adult male w ...more
Angela
I'm fascinated by WWII and the history of the Holocaust so I began this book eagerly, on the recommendation of my friend Mike Ciraolo. I was somewhat chagrined to realize how ignorant I was about the details of that era which made it hard to follow the book at times. When I finally "connected," I found I couldn't put it down. I was particularly interested in the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent invasion of Poland with all of the complicated politics surrounding the rise of Fasc ...more
Dean Kelly
Furst chooses a sometimes reluctant Hungarian spy (Nicholas Morath) living in Paris to explore the difficulties of life in late 1930s Europe. A variety of situations arise where Morath deals with both fictional and historical characters who Furst uses to bring the locations and the time period to life. If you enjoy historical novels you should like this book. My next Furst read will be Night Soldiers which is the first of this series of twelve books.
Mary Miller
I have read a few Alan Furst novels before, so I knew how he likes to tell his stories. I have a word of advice for those trying to read this or any other Furst-- Read it as fast as you can, not letting much time elapse between reading sessions. If you put it down and then pick it up days or weeks later, you will probably have forgotten some vital clues that he drops into the story. Until there is a guide to Alan Furst spy novels where you can look up characters and plot points quickly, you will ...more
Ron
Nicholas Morath was a soldier in the first world war, a cavalry officer who almost lost his legs and bears the scars from it, and as the story opens, he is a Hungarian ex-pat living the relative good life in Paris with an Argentine love interest. He is owner of an advertising business through his uncle Count Polyni, a Hungarian diplomat in Paris, and will eventually receive an inheritance from him. He apparently has enough money to live very well if not extremely well. Their former homelands wer ...more
Will Byrnes
This is a spy novel set in the beginnings of World War II, in which the protagonist undertakes various assignments surrounding anti-Nazi and Hungary-related intrigue. I found it unengaging. It is sold as an Eric Ambler type black-and-white sort of experience. It does attempt to portray atmosphere more than action but it just did not do it for me.
Mena Digings
I love Alan Furst's writing. This is the best one I've read so far.
Nicholas Morath,the main character is a suave, Parisian-based Hungarian exile. He is a cavalry officer with the elegant and noble manner of an old-world charmer. He is a romantic hero who becomes lured into political intrigue in pre-war Paris by his diplomat uncle who has a finger in rather too many dangerous pies.
Nicholas's adventures become more chilling as war approaches.
Despite the dangerous expeditions, the hero has a roma
...more
Christopher H.
An excellent and very well-written little novel! I have read several of Alan Furst's fictional espionage/period pieces focusing on the run up to the Second World War in Europe. I think what I like about each of them is that they really tend to be about ordinary people that are put in the position of re-evaluating the moral fabric of the society around them as Europe begins edging closer and closer to war again. In hindsight it is always easy to say, "Well, I certainly would have stood up to the ...more
Calzean
I found this hard to read. The style was stilted and there were numerous diversions. For most of the biik I thought I was reading a series of short stories featuring the hero and his mysterious uncle as I could not see too many links between the various story lines.

The plot, if there was one, was convoluted and I did not care what happened to the hero or any of the other characters.

The "hero" is a Hungarian living in Paris in the lead up to WWII. The historical references of the various politic
...more
Jennifer Taw
Some really interesting spy stuff in the run up to WWII from the perspective of Hungarians, Russians, Czechoslovakians, and many of the ethnic groups that crossed those states' flexible boundaries ... some great vivid scenes (crossing a broken bridge over rushing water in the middle of the night with a murderous stranger, cutting through a forbidding alley to find a hidden 18th century square), but the characters and settings and situations creating the stage for the spy story were one-dimension ...more
Douglas Karlson
Loved this book. I am a huge fan of Alan Furst.
"Kingdom of Shadows" follows Nicholas Morath, an upper class Hungarian and former WW1 cavalry officer, who runs an advertising agency in Paris and also works as a spy for his diplomat uncle, Count Polanyi.

Set in 1938 and 39, the story moves across Europe, from Paris to Budapest, Vienna, and numerous other locales. Of particular interest, the Sudetenland, which the Czechs struggled to hold onto as it afforded the only way to defend their country fro
...more
Rob Kitchin
Furst’s novels are multi-layered, atmospheric affairs, full of crafted prose and understated plotlines. Kingdom of Shadows is no different. An awful lot happens in what is a normal length novel, as Morath criss-crosses Europe sliding in and out of various scrapes, and yet the pace seems leisurely and evocative. Furst is very good at setting a scene, placing the reader into a landscape, and in providing in an economical fashion the contextual politics both locally and at a European scale. In this ...more
Richard Needham
This story of low level espionage is set in Paris, Hungary, Ruthenia (now part of the Ukraine?), and Roumania. As is the case for other Furst novels of this genre, it is set shortly before full scale war breaks out in Europe: Hitler is ruthlessly consolidating power (terms that make one shudder: ‘Lebensraum’, ‘Sudetenland’, ‘Kristallnacht’, ‘Nurmeberg Rally’, ‘Peace in our Time’ are all evoked here). Furst is wonderfully descriptive of the feel of this time of impending doom. His protagonist her ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.

Furst returns once more to Paris at about the beginning of the war, his principal character being a Hungarian nobleman, on the fringes of his country's diplomatic legation to France and the person who carries out the complex political schemes of his Machiavellian uncle as Hitler begins to menace first Austria then Czechoslovakia, threatening much disruption throughout central Europe.

As events move towards the actual outbreak of war, these acti
...more
Lauren
I have a strange relationship with thrillers and mysteries: oftentimes, I want to like them far more than I actually do. I'll go on buying sprees where I'll purchase ten suspense novels at once, but of those, only one will end up actually working for me.

It may have taken me two years to get around to reading Alan Furst's Kingdom of Shadows, purchased during one of these sprees, but it's good to know what the standout of that batch unquestionably was. This is a lucid, smoothly written spy novel w
...more
Ed
Oct 16, 2009 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: espionage and historical fiction fans
One of Furst's better efforts. No one writes better "espionage fiction" than Alan Furst. As I've said before his books are more literature than thriller.

This story, which takes place in 1938-39, follows Nicky Morath, a Hungarian businessman, living in Paris, who is also a part-time diplomat and part-time spy. The style Furst employs here is slightly different from his other books. He does not use a lot of transitions but jumps to the next event without them. I had no trouble following the story
...more
Anne


Alan Furst is simply one of my favorite writers. I have thoroughly enjoyed every book of his that I've read. His extensive research of the time period leading to and during World War II in Europe is brought to life by his excellent writing. He creates a panorama of characters and places but keeps them relatable and memorable. His descriptions of Paris makes me want to fly there and see if I can find where Nicholas arranged to purchase a forged passport or where the Baroness Frei held her Christ
...more
Jimajima9
Nicholas Morath, Hungarian military/diplomat/spy.
Count Janos Polanyi, uncle of NM, diplomat.

First mission: retrieve person from Ruthenia, now part of Ukraine.

Later, Morath views a love-nest / murder scene: he "exhaled, a sound of exasperation, ran his fingers through his hair, swore in Hungarian - mostly to do with fate, shitting pigs, saints' blood - and lit a cigarette."

"It's like blaming a fox for killing a chicken."

Another mission: coordinate with Hungarian forces on plans to defend "in the
...more
theresa Younce
I subscribe to BOOKS AND CULTURE, an imprint of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. John Wilson, the editor and publisher, loves foreign intrigue books and recommended the newest by Alan Furst. I could not get the newest one out of the library, so tried this one. Since I have read three more. I think this is my favorite so far. They all take place in the mid to late 30's, pre WWII in Europe. The characters are well-drawn, the situations are compelling and it once again boggles my mind how the whole world and es ...more
Jim
In my experience, a new novel by Furst is always a treat. Like his earlier books, this one is something of a series of vignettes that could stand on their own as superior short stories and which combine to make a fine novel. Through the course of the vignettes, we watch as Nicholas Morath, the protagonist, gets drawn more and more into the world of his uncle, who is a Hungarian nobleman, diplomat and Hitler antagonist. I know of no one who does a better job of evoking a time and a place than Fur ...more
Robert
I really liked this book. There was perhaps a bit more personal insight into this character than some of Furst's other characters in other books. It's like the others in that it conveys a great deal of then texture of the times in a period that is usually only the province of great names and great events in history. It also gave mention to a geo-political concept that was new to me, i.e., intermarium, meaning the nations and peoples between the seas, in this case the Baltic and the Black. It's a ...more
Sarah Sammis
Kingdom of Shadows is the second Alan Furst novel I've read. This one follows the opening days of the war with Hitler's rise to power but from the point of view of the owner of an advertising agency in Paris who is balancing his time between work, his mistress and some espionage for his Hungarian uncle.

Nicholas Morath and his small group of friends remind me of the idle and bored characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's, with Tender is the Night coming specifically to mind. The only difference is tha
...more
Stephen
I can't keep straight in memory the ultra-realistic nightmare-atmosphere novels of Alan Furst but read them with great interest, even the ones that are more a set of short stories than a single novel. I think The Polish Officer is such. His main characters are admirable, brave, resourceful and loyal to what usually seems a lost cause. I don't get to know them very well as people, only how they work their way out of crises. They are kind of colorless, as befits a kingdom of shadows.
Sam Reaves
Furst's espionage series set in Europe on the eve of World War Two is generally excellent, though in my opinion the books vary in quality. This is one of the strongest. It takes place in 1938 and '39 in Paris with forays into Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia, borders shifting rapidly as Hitler carves up the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Nicholas Morath, a former Hungarian cavalry officer exiled in Paris, runs errands for his uncle, an aristocrat deeply involved in anti-Nazi intrigues in easter ...more
Bill
I enjoy history and thrillers, particularly those that take place in the years between the world wars. I think Alan Furst's books, at least the ones that I have read, capture the atmosphere intrigue, fear and denial I imagine were endemic in those years. I wonder if we would recognize a similar catastrophe if it is or were on the horizon today.

This is the third of Alan Furst's "Night Soldiers" series that I have read and I plan to read more.
Sandra
I am a fan of Alan Furst. I really liked The foreign correspondent, the spies of Warsaw and the spies of the Balkans. I liked the most recent book too, mission in Paris, but not quite as much. I am now going back to earlier books, and I just finished the kingdom of shadows. This book's protagonist lives in paris but is from Budapest, which I am visiting later this month, so I especially enjoyed the Hungarian backdrop. I listened to the book and the reader was just great, so mellow and laid back. ...more
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Alan Furst 1 11 Sep 17, 2009 01:34PM  
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49941
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...

Other Books in the Series

Night Soldiers (1 - 10 of 13 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)
  • Blood of Victory (Night Soldiers, #7)
  • Dark Voyage (Night Soldiers, #8)
  • The Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers, #9)
  • The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10)
  • Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)
Night Soldiers (Night Soldiers, #1) Mission to Paris (Night Soldiers, #12) The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10) The World at Night (Night Soldiers, #4) Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)

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