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Midnight in Europe (Night Soldiers #13)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  3,674 Ratings  ·  582 Reviews
Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called “the most talented espionage novelist of our generation,” now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris ...more
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Random House
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spies
”Wouldn’t it be a better world if people revealed themselves? Did what they secretly wanted? ‘I know you want to kiss me,’ she said. ‘What are you afraid of?’ So he locked the door and they went ahead with it, his hands exploring her...She stood, removed hat and dress, then...suddenly self-conscious, ‘Would you look away for a moment?’ He did, discovering a perfect image of the dimly lit compartment in the dark window as she wriggled out of the girdle, freeing a cascade of soft, rosy flesh.”

 photo ParisianGirdle_zps3357bca5.jpgPar
I got a pretty good fix for my addiction to this loosely connected series. Now up to 13 books known as “The Night Soldiers” collection, they all take place in the last few years before France is invaded (May 1940) and feature relatively ordinary people become extraordinary by getting involved in actions to slow the impeding takeover of Europe by the fascists.. France is usually a setting for much of the action, but the plots spread the narrative to peoples and locations in other countries which ...more
“Europe is a nice neighbourhood with a mad dog. Just now the dog is biting Spain, and nobody else in the neighbourhood wants to get bitten, so they look away.”

But there are people like Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish lawyer employed by Coudert Frères in Paris, for whom the situation in Spain matters. Consequently he allies himself with a clandestine operation where he assists in the procurement of arms for the Republican forces in Spain.

1938 is a difficult time in Europe. The Spanish Civil War is i
Lewis Weinstein
Another terrific story from Alan Furst, who always manages a different take on events that you are vaguely familiar with. Here, a lawyer in Paris gets involved in arms smuggling on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War, and in the course of telling the story, Furst presents as clear an understanding of what that war was about as I have read. All of the bad guys - Germany, Russia and Italy - were getting ready for the bigger war to follow while the French and British dithered.

Furst's abili
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Furst phoned this one in. The characters, settings and dialogue are sketchy and formulaic, even as he explains things any dunderhead would know and repeats plot points in case we missed them the first time. A very disappointing effort from an author who's given me much entertainment in the past. This barely earns two stars.
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
With “Midnight in Europe” Alan Furst is exposed as a good novelist now simply going through the motions. He has lost his edge. His characters are stereotypes and the plot, always his weakness, is more lifeless than usual. Furst continues to patronize his readers with ham-handed history lessons.

I came across two lines which, if they had been openings, would be contenders for the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest:

He believed, deep down where his desire lived, that redheads had thinner skin, so that a s
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Damn! I finished it in one day! Now I have to wait two years for his next one! *sigh* Maybe I'll go reread Night Soldiers or Dark Star. That might make me feel better.

I've always wondered what the Spanish Civil War was really about. No one could tell me. I knew it was a testing ground for Hitler's new weapons, but that's about it. (So, yeah, maybe I'm a dope, but I wasn't really clear on what World War 1 was about either, until my daughter wrote an 11th grade paper about it.)

As he always does,
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alan Furst's WWII novels read like chilled martinis served on a dark battlefield. His crisp prose and compelling narratives are spare and go down smooth, but their iciness chills the blood as you realize that his protagonists, often idealistic yet jaded men caught up in the snare of fascism, are about to come up against forces far greater than they expect. He never wastes time filling in backstory. From page one, you're drawn into his masterful tales set in isolated corners of a Europe hovering ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, review-copy, 2014
What is there left to say about Alan Furst? This novel was not better than the others, nor as good, but I can't call it appreciably worse. Some reviews have said Furst phoned this one in, which I don't agree with, but I think they put their fingers on something lackluster in this book, which I'm more willing to pin on its focus on the Spanish Civil War. That conflict is more complex and less familiar and it's not going to be as easy to use its events and outcome to loom over the story. I did fin ...more
Jim Loter
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Less an espionage thriller and more of a procurement procedural, Furst's latest in the "Night Soldiers" series is downhill even from "Mission to Paris," which I felt was already a marked decline from his earlier novels.

In "Midnight in Europe" we focus on Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish lawyer living in Paris, who becomes involved in an effort to smuggle arms and ammunition to the republicans in his home country. There is very little tension as Ferrar rather openly pursues his aims, announcing his mis
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Either Alan Furst has lost a step or I've read too many of his books and they're starting to seem interchangeable. Smoky,  Champagne-soaked cosmopolitan Europe, just before the cataclysm of WWII, is as well drawn as ever and sucks me in every time. But the assorted cast of aristocrats, gangsters, whores, bureaucrats, spies, and always at least one brave working stiff with his political heart in the right place, is getting old. As is our stalwart hero, an amateur called, often reluctantly, to the ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
'Midnight in Europe" begins with a lovely paragraph about snow falling on Manhattan...and then goes downhill. This is not Furst’s exceptional writing, his tense plots, his foreboding atmosphere, his intriguing protagonists, his almost poetic occasional phrases, his settings that transported the reader. Another reviewer said, “Furst phoned it in.” I say it feels as if Furst subcontracted it.
More than a book with a central story, "Midnight in Europe" it is a series of stories, involving the same l
Jun 19, 2014 rated it liked it
MIDNIGHT IN EUROPE. (2012). Alan Furst. ***.
Furst was not up to his usual high standard with this novel. It is more of an outline of potential characters thrown at a potential crisis that he could dip into in the future. His main character is Cristian Ferrar, an attorney for a global partnership dealing in international affairs. He has offices, seemingly, in most countries of Europe. The period is the late 1930s. The Spanish Civil War is raging. Franco is sure to win since the Republicans cannot
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Furst’s books are billed as World War II historical thrillers. The “thriller” label is a bit of a stretch, which is not a knock. (And Furst’s books are usually set just before or early in the war.) His books are character driven, rather than being one heart thumping chase scene or shoot-out after another. Furst’s protagonists are not your stereotypical war heroes. They fight off the battlefield and on the fringe of the war, battling Nazi Germany/tyranny/evil one day at a time, against incredible ...more
Thelma Adams
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Has Alan Furst spoiled me for Alan Furst? He remains one of my favorite authors of historical espionage. I pre-buy every new volume, although his last book, "Mission to Paris," about a Hollywood actor spying in Europe was the least satisfying. In "Midnight in Europe," the research is impeccable. The prose pristine. The psychological insight astute. The women characters intrigue; the protagonist wise and complicated.

Again we have a chapter from the WWII playbook, a slice that evokes the whole: a
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
Review also found at

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Random House via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is June 10, 2014.

This is one of those stories where I struggle with my comments and opinion....

The book was exactly as advertised. A spy novel with numerous dangerous and sketchy plots in an effort to assist a war effort. Check. Well written and easy to understand. Check. An interesting vent
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Spy novels are not really my thing. Still though I've read and listened to some that were really good and so it isn't a genre I'd deliberately exclude. Plus I do enjoy the historical aspect of them. This book was chosen, like a lot of my audiobook selections, based on the library availability, but it sounds interesting enough. It was in fact, but just barely so. Something about this tale of international agents struggling to get weapons for the Spanish republic army in 1938, specifically one age ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Alan Furst book I have read, and I loved it. The plot is so subtle you almost miss it. The gentle storytelling and personal details make the reader feel like they are sitting next to Cristián listening to him tell about his day in the office. When he is finished you think, WOW, that was amazing. The nonchalant way the action happens draws you in and keeps you reading even though you know you need to put the book down and go to bed. This isn't one of those spy novels that i
Kent Babin
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Furst is my favourite author, so I find it difficult to review his books objectively. There’s just something about the way he sets a scene that has me hooked by the end of the first paragraph. And I don’t come up for air until I’m done. It’s as if I was a spy in the 1930s, or wished I was.

Midnight in Europe, while maybe not one of his best, ticks off all the boxes of a classic Furst novel: diverse characters facing tough decisions, gritty locales, historical context, sex, even pacing, and a
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm constitutionally incapable of disliking an Alan Furst book. This one has much of the great sense of place and time, pre-WWII Europe, which are Mr. Furst's strengths. With that said, MIE continues some recent trends in his work which to me, at least, are not positive. First, the mood and menace of his early novels is virtually non-existent here. Yes, there are some close calls, and some risky missions undertaken, but the overall effect is rather light. Second, the protagonist is a well-to-do ...more
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Can there be an end of stories in pre-war 1930s Europe worth telling? Alan Furst plainly doesn't think so and to be fair, he continues to entertain. Furst's combination of a fine eye for detail, unexpectedly sharp sense of humor, and ability to conjure the past has helped make his long series of novels a success. That said, it isn't so much the period as the plot which seems to be growing repetitive. With few exceptions, his heroes are all strong men (and they're always men), with a well develop ...more
Charles Vella
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am a big Alan Furst fan. He writes about an interesting place and time and generally comes up with a pretty interesting cast of characters who often find themselves in pretty tough positions. Occasionally his books seem to meander to an end without anything being resolved, but given that is how real life works I've never been bothered by that.

I bought this book as a gift for my wife, who is also an Alan Furst fan. I picked it up and noticed she'd started reading it and set it aside. She could
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not usually a fan of spy novels, but the period prior to WWII has always interested me and the description was intriguing. The book takes place during the waning days of the Spanish Civil War, a war that has also been referred to as a rehearsal for WWII since it was, essentially a training ground for Fascism. The book's central character is Cristian Ferrer, an attorney with a well known law firm with offices both in Paris and New York. They are sympathetic to anti fascist causes. Ferrar's bo ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My first introduction to the writing of Alan Furst and I am reading more.

I've seen in reviews that this is not his finest work but I really enjoyed it. A period piece set in parts of Europe 1938 pre-WWII. The fight in Spain (which I know little about) is a main theme in this spy book.

I thought it was exciting and I could see a movie made of it...they have to get anti-aircraft ammo for the Spanish fights and how they go about it, run from people trying to catch them is the theme of this novel.

Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Surprised this got published. Very disappointing. Read like a Sidney Sheldon book and that's not a compliment. No depth to the characters or story.
Carey Combe
Disappointingly formulaic but still very readable.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
I've heard good things about Alan Furst’s spy stories from friends, so I wanted to give him a try. Maybe this was the wrong book to start with, since I notice several Goodreads reviews saying this book isn't one of his best.

Set in 1937-1938, the plot centers around two men assisting the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War, a task that takes them across Europe. The story starts out dramatically, but focuses more and more on the logistics of procuring armaments. The story is clearly written,
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting plot smothered in libertinism (thinly disguised perversions). Loved the narrator and hope to hear him again.,..
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
It has peaks and valleys, some parts dragged on.
Very interested in the subject matter.
I would read more from the author.
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WW II Spy Novels: Alan Furst Midnight in Europe 1 11 Nov 29, 2014 01:21AM  
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  • Where They Bury You
  • Then We Take Berlin (Joe Wilderness, #1)
  • The Circle of Thirteen
  • Rogue (The Beloved, #2)
  • Grains of Truth
  • The Cairo Affair
  • One Great Year
  • The Small Boat of Great Sorrows
  • The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)
  • Deadly Diamonds
  • Katya's War (Russalka Chronicles, #2)
  • The Black Stiletto: Stars & Stripes  (The Black Stiletto #3)
  • The Broken Places (Quinn Colson, #3)
  • The Fall of Saints
  • The Book of the Crowman (Black Dawn #2)
  • Leaving Berlin
  • The Loved and the Lost (The Verona Trilogy #3)
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 Foreign Correspondent (Night Soldiers, #9)
  • The Spies of Warsaw (Night Soldiers, #10)

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“Fascism is a revolutionary force, it wants to destroy the established order and take its place—take its money, its businesses, everything it has because, to these people, the governing class in Europe is hesitant, ineffective, effete. So, destroy it.” 0 likes
“It was dawn by the time the detective showed up; tired and weary. Tired because he’d been called from his bed before dawn, weary because he’d spent his life looking at the bad side of human nature and that wasn’t going to change.” 0 likes
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