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Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers #6)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  3,021 Ratings  ·  218 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.

From the Hardcover edition.
Kindle Edition, 239 pages
Published (first published July 20th 2000)
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Jul 12, 2010 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-fiction
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
If you read only one Furst book, this is it. Except for his 2013 release, all of Furst's work is much the same -- character development, ennui, plotless-disconnected scenes. Kingdom of Shadows, however, has the best characters (including two half-way real females) and almost a plot. Besides, the lead character is great and the setting (the City of Light, just before the Germans invade, punctuated by trips to England, Normandy, and Antwerp) is beautifully painted. The business trips, on the other ...more
Mal Warwick
May 06, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to “Night Soldiers,” the brilliant series by one of our most accomplished writers of espionage novels.

Meet Nicholas Morath, 44, is an aristocratic Hungarian living in Paris, where he is a partner in an advertising firm. His uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, is a senior diplomat in the Hungarian mission to France who is engaged in organizing the resistance to Hitler in Eastern Europe. World War II hasn’t yet started in earnest — Germany’s Anschluss with Austria is still weeks away, and the occu
Furst is regarded as one of the best contemporary thriller writers, and for good reason. His books are not just literary thrillers, but historical espionage novels, all of them set before or during World War II. He writes elegiacally of a world gone by, of a Europe that had grace, romance, style, and art. His characters are talented people who find themselves struggling to find a place for themselves as the biggest maelstrom in history begins to descend upon them. His writing is clear and strong ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 28, 2016 Neil rated it liked it
This is book №6 in the "Night Soldiers" series. As with the previous books the central character is almost portrayed as a reluctant hero, often dragged into things inadvertantly. If this case it is the turn of Nicholas Morath. He was a Hungarian cavalry officer in WWI, who now finds himself working as an advertising executive, and living as a Hungarian ExPat in prewar Paris. His Uncle, Count Polanyi, is a diplomat at the Hungarian legation, who also doubles up as the spy master in situ. On the o ...more
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
Feb 18, 2017 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compelling "thriller" set just as the Nazis are about to overrun Eastern Europe. One thing I like about Furst's novels is that they are not one tightly controlled narrative arc. Instead they are almost like a series of loosely connected episodes. You can never guess what the "big" conflict will be; you usually can't even guess from where it will spring. The reader is swept away enjoying the atmosphere, the arcane details that Furst somehow knows (or invents convincingly) of that era, and all o ...more
C.C. Yager
Dec 23, 2016 C.C. Yager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Espionage, for Alan Furst, is just a regular job with an edge. He writes his spies as people, not as heroes with guns and gadgets. Nicholas Morath may be a Hungarian aristocrat and wealthy, but he's as concerned with people and life as the waiter in his favorite Paris cafe. While he is a part-owner of an ad agency and spends time working for it, he also works for his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat at the Hungarian Legation in Paris. In this installment of the Night Soldiers series, the s ...more
Alan Furst's sixth Night Soldiers novel introduces Nicholas Morath, a Hungarian aristocrat and cavalry veteran of the first world war, who now works as an advertising executive for an agency in Paris. It is 1938, and as Adolph Hitler tests Europe's appetite for another war by uniting Austria and Germany and annexing territory in Czechoslovakia and Poland, Morath finds himself increasingly at the beck and call of his uncle Janos Polyani, a spymaster for the Hungarian government.

Polyani's intrigue
Dec 27, 2014 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
William Korn
This is the second of the dozen-plus "Night Soldiers" novels I've read. I enjoyed the plot, the historical background that Alan Furst so copiously provides, and most of the characterizations of the characters, major and minor, in his stories. I will probably read more of them, but I am concerned with two things that may cause me to change my mind:

1) In each the books I read, the protagonist is a petit aristocrat of surprisingly generous and liberal outlook (surprising for a petit aristocrat, any
Dick Reynolds
It’s 1938 in Paris where Nicholas Morath works at his advertising agency. His clandestine spy activities are on behalf of his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat in the Hungarian legation. In September, when Parisians return to the city from their August vacations, Hitler is screaming at them from every newspaper stand. The people are sick and tired of it. But when November’s rain appears, they are content in their warm bistros with their new and exciting love affairs. Then it all changes du ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
alan furst doesn't write novels so much as a series of episodes. some are loosely connected and some don't seem to have any connection to what has gone on before or after. it's kind of frustrating. I don't want formula or cliché, but if you're going to break the rules, you better make it work. we're nearing the end of kingdom of shadows--we're running for the curtain--and a whole new story line comes up. it's as if furst is trying to tell a story the way it would happen in real life. but reality ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Andie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Alan Furst's World War II noir thrillers and this one is very noir indeed. Nicholas Morath, nephew to my favorite Furst recurring character, Hungarian Count Janos Polanyi, is living the good life as an advertising executive in Paris while helping his uncle out with his clandestine work on the side. It is 1938 and as the story moves along - told in a series of vignettes rather than a straight forward narrative - Nicholas is drawn further and further into the shadowy world of displaced pers ...more
Ryan Chapman
Mar 05, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Another fine entry in Furst's group of books set mostly in Europe on the eve of World War II. (Some of the books also take place after war has begun.) Nicolas Morath, Hungarian nobleman and advertising man, lives an enjoyable life in Paris in 1938. He does worry a bit about his native land, where home-grown Fascists would love to make common cause with Hitler, but he remains uninvolved until his uncle, who works in the Embassy, asks him for help. Throughout the book, the shadow of war grows dark ...more
May 07, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2013 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
There were moments I absolutely loved this book, but then it would unravel and drop. The whole fabric of the novel was just a tad too rough. The narrative was beautiful, like all Furst novels, but it didn't have much forward momentum. Other than the jumpy, rough plot -- I loved it. You can practically fall asleep in the whole dark, smokey, Hungarian/French flavor. Furst is amazing at describing the grease between the gears of history.
Dean Kelly
Dec 30, 2013 Dean Kelly rated it really liked it
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.
Sandra Riverol
Apr 25, 2015 Sandra Riverol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bailamos porque lo terminé.
Pronto la reseña.
Feb 11, 2017 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a very quiet book. The writing is terse and stylized, full of fragments to give a feeling more than a clear picture. I think it was probably a good book, but it didn't hold my interest, and was so minimalist, I'd often miss important pieces introduced in a single sentence, and have to reread. For a short book, it certainly took me a long time to work my way through. While the author might not spend much time describing whatever incredibly important and subtle political maneuvering was ha ...more
Jan 25, 2017 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knocking off a star because I wasn't as engaged by the capers of Nicholas, Count Morath as by Jean Casson in the previous two books. I've established by now that Alan Furst doesn't kill off his heroes (even when, as in Red Gold, it seems like he has), but Morath's travails seemed oddly consequence-free - there was always a deus ex machina to get him out of a scrape.
Nov 27, 2016 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. Like several of his other novels, it recreates the pre-World War 2 Europe of espionage and politics. His protaganists work futily against the rising tide of fascism. You know they will lose in their efforts to avoid war, and you realize they know they will too.
Christian Scala
Il Regno delle Ombre, in originale "Kingdom of Shadows" del 2000 è un romanzo di Alan Furst . Ha vinto nel 2001 il Premio Hammett.

La trama del romanzo: la storia è ambientata in Europa tra aprile 1938 e luglio 1939, un momento di crescente paura e apprensione in tutto il continente. Nicholas Morath è un espatriato ungherese sulla quarantina e il co-proprietario di un'agenzia di pubblicità a Parigi. Suo zio, il conte Janos Polanyi , è un funzionario di alto livello presso l'ambasciata ungherese i
Aug 25, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, suspense
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
Aug 05, 2008 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Alan Furst 1 12 Sep 17, 2009 01:34PM  
  • Stettin Station (John Russell, #3)
  • The Last Supper (Paul Christopher #5)
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • 36 Yalta Boulevard (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #3)
  • Cause for Alarm
  • Los Alamos
  • Once a Spy
  • Rosa (Berlin Trilogy, #1)
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)
  • 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)

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“The lawyer Thien, when Morath was ushered into his office by a junior member of the staff, turned out to be an ancient bag of bones held upright only by means of a stiff, iron-coloured suit.” 0 likes
“Earlier, during a lull in business, Morath had laid out the details of Kolovitzky’s letter and the two of them had discussed strategy, coming up with the plan that couldn’t go wrong and what to do once it did. In” 0 likes
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