The Spies of Warsaw is an encapsulation of the subtle and dark arts of espionage in interwar Europe. An art, which, through the passage of centuries,...moreThe Spies of Warsaw is an encapsulation of the subtle and dark arts of espionage in interwar Europe. An art, which, through the passage of centuries, had been enhanced with the accoutrements of science.
The story begins in Poland in late 1937. A man who looks to be a modest businessman arrives in Warsaw, briefcase in hand. He books a room at the Hotel Europejski for an assignation with his mistress, a Polish countess. All is not as it seems. The businessman is Edvard Uhl, an engineer and specialist in tank design, who lives just across the border in Breslau. There is more to Herr Uhl than meets the eye. For some time, he had had some "dealings" with the French military attache. Both men had worked well together for some time. But now the attache has been recalled. His replacement is Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, born of the lesser nobility in the heart of the French countryside, a graduate of Saint Cyr (the French equivalent of West Point), where one of his classmates was a fellow officer by the name of Charles de Gaulle. Mercier is a veteran of the First World War and of the Russo-Polish War of 1920-21 (where he again renewed his acquaintance with de Gaulle).
Being an attache begins as a bit of a bewildering experience for Mercier le veuf. Besides making the acquaintance of his Polish counterparts, and ingratiating himself with the diplomatic community in Warsaw through endless rounds of parties graced with scintillating conversations, bubbly champagne, and fine food, Mercier has to learn --- quickly --- the skills deemed essential for being a successful spy. In the process, he embarks upon a journey with many twists and turns. A journey in which one step too far could be his last. The stakes are high. The margins --- infinite, given the increasingly fractious relations among Poland, Germany, and France.
Furst shows in this book why he is generally acknowledged as the master of the historical espionage novel. Espionage brings out both the best and most base aspects of people. In reading " The Spies of Warsaw", brace yourself for a thrilling and bumpy ride. (less)
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 t...moreIn 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 of "film noir" you'll ever see. Highly recommended.(less)
This fantastic novel reads like a film noir and is centered around a secret mission undertaken by a 'Spanish' freighter from Tangier to Sweden's Balti...moreThis fantastic novel reads like a film noir and is centered around a secret mission undertaken by a 'Spanish' freighter from Tangier to Sweden's Baltic coast during the late spring of 1941, just prior to Operation Barbarossa.(less)