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A Hero in France

(Night Soldiers #14)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,506 ratings  ·  636 reviews

Let Alan Furst take you on a journey through the cobbled streets and smoky salons of wartime Europe as the continent stands on the brink...

Spring 1941. Britain is losing the war.

But the fighters of the French Resistance are determined not to give up. These courageous men and women - young and old, aristocrats and nightclub owners, teachers and military heroes - run an esc

Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by WEIDENFELD NICOLSON (first published May 31st 2016)
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COL(ret.) Frank J. Stech, PhD This is very much a stand-alone novel. But you will enjoy it much more if you read the other novels in the Night Soldiers canon that are set in Paris.…moreThis is very much a stand-alone novel. But you will enjoy it much more if you read the other novels in the Night Soldiers canon that are set in Paris. The series is in rough chronological order so we get the sense of the espionage evolution of Paris from the Thirties to the early Occupation. Furst has lived long enough in Paris to capture Parisians in few elegant strokes, its shadow world in a few quintessential scenes. His lines and palette are perfect. He is the Toulouse-Lautrec of espionage storytellers.(less)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,506 ratings  ·  636 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, spies
”He didn’t want her to be in love with him because it was possible that some night he wouldn’t come home and she would never see him again and he knew what that would do to a woman who loved you.”

 photo Paris_zpstatvexrm.jpg

Occupied Paris 1941, the street lamps are painted blue. Every window is hung with thick, black curtains, turning the apartments into small dark boxes. Curfews curtail the Parisian nightlife. The city of light has become the city of midnight.

The French want their city back.

Mathieu is a man who has slo
A Hero of France broke my heart. Never before have I been so fully let down by a (used-to-be) favorite author. Night Soldiers blew me away as probably the most elegant, dark, subtle, historically detailed, and intellectual "spy" novel I'd ever encountered (I don't even like to describe it as a "spy" thriller because Night Soldiers is not genre fiction, but absolutely brilliant noir-historical WW2 literary fiction). I've read some others in the series, and loved them all (the last was #9, The For ...more
Cindy Burnett
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I always enjoy Alan Furst’s books, and this one was no exception. The plot was fascinating and moved along at a fast pace. I was a little disappointed with the ending; I felt the story was wrapped up a bit too neatly and quickly. Overall however, I really enjoyed this installment in the series.

Furst’s knowledge of Paris and the other areas of France is very apparent in his writing. His descriptions of daily life in France, particularly Occupied Paris in 1941 and 1942, transported me straight to
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."
-- Charles de Gaulle


I've been reading Furst novels for years. 'A Hero of France' is #14 in Furst's 'Night Soldiers' series. 'A Hero of France' is basically the tale of a small cell of French Resistance fighters in Paris, France and the French countryside who operate to return downed RAF pilots back to England to continue their work in the war. This book takes place through
Lyn Elliott
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, war
I find it difficult to believe that this is the same Alan Furst who wrote Spies of the Balkans.
The writing here is so flat and simplistic that it killed any engagement I could have had with the plot.
For really riveting stories of life and resistance in France, Jo Baker’s ‘A Country Road, a Tree’, Irene Nemirovsky ‘Suite Francaise’ and Peter Grose’s ‘A Good Place to Hide (true story and a revelation for me) are all excellent.
Lewis Weinstein
Another great story by a master of WWII spy fiction ... beautifully described characters and settings which are a feature of Furst's writing ... a moving plot with twists and turns and difficulties ... keeps the pages turning ... PLUS ... some useful facts for me as I work on the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL ... who knew that La Samaritaine in Paris had a photomat that was used to take pictures for fake ID? ...
Marvelous realism in this rendering of ordinary people carrying out dangerous efforts in the Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France in 1941. As usual Furst does not reach for entertaining thrills or romanticism in his plotting. Historical fiction tends to diverge between elucidating historical events with characters as in a stage play and stories that focus on characters with the historical events as a backdrop. Furst’s work lies exactly at the intersection of the approaches. His atmospheri ...more
Alan First has carved out a niche for himself in writing historical thrillers set throughout Europe during WWII. I’ve read several and particularly enjoyed this one set in Paris, 1941, early on during the German Occupation of Paris.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
WWII French Resistance. In 1941, Mattieu is the head of a clandestine cell based in Paris, he organises daring operations where men and women smuggle downed RAF pilots out of the German occupied zone.
My expectations were met by the interesting story (and there were times where the tension so intense!), but I think the sex scenes could easily have been edited out, they didn’t add anything to Mattieu’s character nor the story, in fact I skipped ahead to the interesting parts LOL.
For me it was ok
In his last three books, Furst has gone from bad to rotten.
“A HERO IN FRANCE” is a story set during the early months of the German Occupation of France during the Second World War. It is centered around a Frenchman with the nom de guerre “Mathieu” who has cast off the trappings of his previous life in Paris to join the ranks of the Resistance. Mathieu is in his early 40s, fairly fit, resourceful, tough, determined, yet not without charm and a knack for making friends in the most interesting places. Unlike most French people, who at this stage of the war ...more
The 14th novel in the loose Night Soldiers series

After the ok'ish but not quite top of the line Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst returns to France (which is the setting of a majority of his Night Soldiers books, while featuring in almost all) and delivers an excellent novel and a return to form.

While it is billed as his first novel set during WW 2 proper - as usually his books in the loose series ended when the war started or immediately after in 1939, though there were exceptions that kept the
Keith Currie
I was once a fan of Alan Furst’s novels – the sequence right up to and including Dark Voyage are individual masterpieces of intrigue, suspense and menace set throughout Europe in a frightening period. The Polish Officer and Dark Star are among my favourite novels of all time. With Spies of Warsaw I began to feel that the formula was becoming tired and routine. The novels became shorter, the plots more perfunctory and episodic – as though the author was writing them while doing something else mor ...more
Paris, 1941. Mathieu-- not his real name-- operates a cell of the French Resistance concerned primarily with returning downed RAF pilots to Britain so that they can live to fight the Germans another day. Meanwhile, the Germans are closing in on these escape lines, and Mathieu risks being denounced by everyone he knows and anyone he meets. Who *can* you trust during a war?

This is a nice little spy novel. Good plot, decent enough writing. Too much sex and an ending that's too cute, but enjoyable o
Meh. The early Furst's had zero plot but max ennui. The book before this, he traded for max plot and zero ennui. "A Hero of France" has neither plot nor the shivering ennui that made his early work so good.

I guess once you write a masterpiece like "Kingdom of Shadows", it's impossible to up your game.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-ii-holocaust
A really good read dealing with the French Resistance during World War II. Intriguing workings of a Resistance cell and how the many varied people helped in their own ways.

Not an overly demanding piece but a good story.

Was not aware it was part of a series.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mathieu is his nom de guerre, and, like many of Alan Furst's leading men, he's something of a loner, a considered risk-taker who hides his intelligence and sophistication behind a quiet demeanor. He's good at sizing up people, figuring out if they can be trusted. "And I'd better be,'' he says, ''because I can only be wrong once.''

Mathieu is the capable leader of a small Resistance cell in A Hero of France (Random House, digital galley), Furst's excellent new novel of the shadowy world of espiona
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-thrillers
Hero In France – Brilliant Step Back In Time

Alan Furst has written yet another brilliant spy thriller set in the Second World War, and based in France and without saying as much points out not everyone acted honourably. This is about the very few heroes that were left in France after its fall in 1940 who helped the allied war effort by placing their lives in danger by running escape lines for downed airman from the RAF. While the majority did nothing but look the other way, while civil servants
Aug 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you look at my reviews you will see that I read other Furst novels and gave them much higher ratings. You will also notice that I always comment on his writing style. There is just something off/odd/different about the way he writes that always makes me think I am reading a translation. Perhaps it adds to the atmosphere of the stories since they take place in Europe pre and post WWII.

In any case, in the novels I liked, I eventually get lost in the story, plot, characters and my attention to
Ellie Midwood
If you love historical thrillers with a bit of noir in them, Alan Furst is your author. His writing style is very different from most of the authors who write in the same genre, and I particularly enjoy his short, snappy sentences; I know that they annoy some readers as incomplete but I personally find them fascinating, just like his metaphors and vivid descriptions. Furst knows his Paris, and that knowledge, along with meticulous research (I read about the case when a real résistante worked her ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspenseful and informative. A novel that shows what it must have been like to be a resistance fighter in France during the WWII Occupation by German forces. The heroes, unsung, that were made during that time as they made sacrifices and risked their lives to helpsave people and downed British airmen hiding from the Germans.
Ralph Blackburn
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Hero of France by Alan Furst- This is a World War II novel that lacks the intensity of Le Carre or the sharp edge of Len Deighton, but is no less an enjoyable spy drama in its own right. Mathieu is a member of a resistance cell. His job is to help downed pilots from across the Chanel escape back to England. Paris and the shambles of the Occupation by German forces is described in poetic detail as well as the Vichy government that rules the Southern reaches of this desecrated country. Mathieu a ...more
Roman Clodia
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a detailed and atmospheric story of the quiet, relentless heroism of the ordinary people who worked with and for the French Resistance. Set during six months of 1941 when France was occupied, the British were bombing Germany and the US hadn't yet entered the war, this is an episodic story of escape, evasion and the countless tensions of defying Nazi authority.

Furst doesn't do big, dramatic scenes so there's no Hollywood action here, but it's the very ordinary nature of his characters whi
Paula Bailey
Sadly, a Disappointment

I have loved Alan Furst's novels. Dark Star Was my first happy discovery, which led me to go to the beginning and read -- no, devour -- the entire Night Soldiers series. I found myself carried along by the beautiful use of language, the imagery, the suspense, the characters, even the wonderful humor: the description of the "loud Gypsy orchestra with copious gypsies" in Blood of Victory still makes me laugh out loud.

How very disappointed I am with this book. What happened?
Dana West
I struggled with this book. It is an easy read, however, another reviewer summed up my issues perfectly:

"* all nuance has been obliterated in favor of simplistic moralizing and reeking explicitness
* direct, factual-reporting style
* sex and nudity have been shoved in for purposes of titillation only, in ways that add nothing to the plot or characterizations
* the realistic gritty-noir moody tone has been replaced by that of a commercial, superficial action-thriller "

I love the plotline, I just don
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-readers
I have a shelf of books that I have not got around to reading, so making an effort to clear this shelf. 'A Hero in France' was a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This is the first time that I have read any novels by Alan Furst. It was an ok read, which means that I did manage to get to the last page. I have heard that some of Alan Furst books have been very good, so may try one another on my next visit to the local library.
Helga Cohen
This was a thrilling novel about the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied France by a great espionage thriller writer. This story takes place in 1941 Paris when Mathieu, a leader of the occupation, leads one Resistance cell by helping downed British airmen escape back to England.
Alan Furst captures this dangerous time incredibly well. Mathieu and the Resistance members risk their lives to fulfill their missions. These include Lisette, a 17 year old student, Max de Lyon, a wealthy arms dealer to ni
John Dodson
I've read The Nightingale and All The Light You Cannot See, and this book struggles in the rarified air these two amazing works have created.
Jeremy Hornik
Alan Furst, mmm. Hits the spot.
Jill Meyer
Amazon book reviewers can choose one to five stars to rate a book. The five and four star reviews are considered "positive", while the one, two, and three star reviews are considered "Critical". And there's a real problem for Amazon reviewers who would like to use a three-stars as "not bad but not good". A three star review should be considered "neutral", but it isn't. There are books that I would like to use that designation but I can't, so I have to write a nuanced-enough 3-star review to stat ...more
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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

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)
“Most of it meant nothing—the daily output of a grinding bureaucracy speaking to itself.” 0 likes
“The real, true spring had arrived, the chestnut trees were in blossom, and the Boche could do nothing about it.” 0 likes
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