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Under Occupation

(Night Soldiers #15)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  57 reviews
From the master of espionage and intrigue, this novel about heroic resistance fighters in 1942 occupied Paris is based on true events of Polish prisoners in Nazi Germany, who smuggled valuable intelligence to Paris and the resistance.
Occupied Paris in 1942, a dark, treacherous city now ruled by the German security services, where French resistance networks are working
...more
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published December 3rd 2019 by Random House (first published November 14th 2019)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Gram
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nazi occupied Paris 1942 and a running man is gunned down in the street. Paul Ricard, a journalist turned crime writer, goes to his aid and the man slips him a single page drawing which turns out to be a schematic of a submarine torpedo's detonator. Ricard realises this may be of importance to the British and manages to contact the fledgling French Resistance and pass the document along.
Gradually, Paul is drawn into working for the Resistance and the pace of the plot quickens as he becomes
...more
Lynn Horton
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I like Furst’s work, although this one isn’t my favorite. He has his own style, and it works really well with historic spy novels. He handles the “grit” well, and I never finish one of his novels feeling uplifted—but then again, I really shouldn’t.

Under Occupation seems incomplete to me. It feels rushed and under-developed. Maybe I’ve read too many WW2 books of late (and I’ve pretty much declared a moratorium on them), but this story just ambles along and never really reaches a climax.

...more
Maine Colonial
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a free publisher's advance review copy via Netgalley.

Paul Ricard, a Paris-based crime novelist, becomes enmeshed in the resistance against France’s Nazi occupiers almost by accident. A man is shot on the street and manages to give Paul what appears to be a technical drawing and asks him to get it to the British.

Once Ricard tracks down a resistance contact and passes on the document, he is recruited to act as an agent. He starts by traveling to Germany as a journalist reporting on a
...more
Rachel Pollock
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is the sixth novel of Alan Furst's that I've read, and it is my least favorite. The book reads like a draft which would be improved by further rounds of editing for character development (everyone is a cardboard cutout), location description (sometimes you can picture in your head where the events are happening, other times it's very disconnected), and weeding out goonish ogling at the bodies of all the female characters. I realize this is spy noir, but it's not told in the first ...more
Mike Sumner
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic Alan Furst, set in occupied Paris, 1942. Furst's ability to recreate the terrors of espionage is matchless. I have always admired the resilience and courage of the French resistance, working secretly to defeat Hitler. The German occupying forces are everywhere...

Paul Ricard is a novelist of some repute and becomes ensnared in the world of espionage when a man being chased by the Gestapo hands over a strange-looking document to the unsuspecting novelist before he dies, shot trying
...more
Angela
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was so excited to read a new title by Alan Furst. However, this slim book is a disappointment - repeated use of french terms, then restated in english; thin plotting with slow movement. I had hoped for better.
Stephen Hackett
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Very disappointing. As other reviewers have said, this feels like a draft - some sections are little more than sketches, others far better developed. I can see that Furst was perhaps trying to convey the fleeting nature of wartime encounters, as agents and refugees pass through Paris and on to the next safe house, but it wasn't well enough done to be convincing. The author also treats his readers like dimwits, explaining every French phrase, constantly telling rather than showing. I wondered ...more
Linda Bond
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Consummate writer of espionage tales brings 1942 Paris to life for us in his latest novel which takes place in the underground resistance of France as well as in Germany itself. It might also be called the Polish Resistance. Polish laborers who are enslaved to the Nazi’s and forced to help develop war machines in the u-boat naval yards. In retaliation, they steal secret documents and pass them via the underground to the hands of the British. Tense, taught, unnerving is this writing, yet filled ...more
Steven Z.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
For devotees of the writings of Alan Furst, the superb purveyor of historical fiction dealing with pre-World War II and World War II historical fiction, a new novel, UNDER OCCUPATION, his first book since 2016 has just been published. After fourteen previous successes that include THE POLISH OFFICER, THE SPIES OF WARSAW, SPIES OF THE BALKANS, and THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, Furst has constructed a story that provides the reader what it was like to live under German occupation in France during ...more
Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller
Occupied Paris in 1942 is a dark, treacherous city now ruled by the German security services, where French resistance networks are working secretly to defeat them.

Alan Furst’s latest novel, part of a loosely defined series about World War II, opens with a man handing French novelist Paul Ricard a document just after being fatally shot by the Gestapo. The drawing inside looks like a sketch for a military weapon that Ricard realizes he must hand to someone in the resistance. As he is reluctantly
...more
Bookreporter.com Historical Fiction
Occupied Paris in 1942 is a dark, treacherous city now ruled by the German security services, where French resistance networks are working secretly to defeat them.

Alan Furst’s latest novel, part of a loosely defined series about World War II, opens with a man handing French novelist Paul Ricard a document just after being fatally shot by the Gestapo. The drawing inside looks like a sketch for a military weapon that Ricard realizes he must hand to someone in the resistance. As he is reluctantly
...more
Flo
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
It is hard for me to criticize one of my favorite writers, Alan Furst, who has been a favorite since his first book, Night Soldiers, came out in 1988. His latest, Under Occupation, comes nowhere near his earlier novels, which seem to get less interesting with each one.
It is 1942 and the Germans are occupying Paris. Furst is excellent at atmosphere, but the tidbits he drops from time to time about life under the Germans are redundant; he's used them before. Even his writing is a bit clunky: in
...more
Gene Ritchings
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just finished this book in disgust. Understand something: I discovered Alan Furst's novels in 2001, read them consecutively right up to 'Under Occupation.' I've read each novel multiple times, they are some kind of essential spiritual nutrient, as great fiction can sometimes be, and Alan's novels of 1930s Europe in an uncanny way are predictive of the decay of America into fascism and a world of bullies vs. invertebrates. That said, 'Under Occupation' just made me sad. I started to worry about ...more
Toni
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Paul Ricard, a relatively famous writer of spy novels, is drawn in become a real-life spy when he comes into possession of plans for a military weapon. Under Occupation is the story of his adventures in France during its occupation by Germany.

While I enjoyed this novel, it lacked a great deal of depth. It seemed to be more of a draft of a novel rather than the finished product. The sentences are matter-of-fact and rather simple. "He went into the cafe and delivered the message, then came out,
...more
Michael
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Under Occupation" is another satisfying historical espionage novel from Alan Furst. Set for the most part in Nazi-occupied Paris, the plot follows a detective novel writer named Ricard who, in coming to aid of a man who has been shot outside a cafe, is passed a drawing of some sort of German weapons system. In attempting to get this drawing into Allied hands he is recruited into the resistance. We then follow Monsieur Ricard on a series of exciting missions and interesting encounters with ...more
David Lowther
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So there we are - he's done it again and produced another beautifully crafted espionage tale. This one is set in Paris and, as with several of the past novels by the author features a relatively laid back character who becomes involved with spying in occupied France not because he's heroic but because he is a patriot and feels he has to.

As ever, the narrative introduces us to a whole host of fascinating characters from Ricard the main man to the collaborators, Gestapo and brave women who battle
...more
TJ
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a short fast read. I would suggest paying attention to the first of the book so you don’t get lost, it was sometimes confusing when Ricard would start talking about his book he was writing when you were thinking the events were really happening.
There were several scenes that were very well done and the descriptions were excellent, one was the train ride when the RAF were bombing, you could easily envision it happening. On the other hand, unfortunately, I could not get completely pulled
...more
Liz
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Via https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/

Under Occupation is my first novel by Furst, so without expectations or prior experience, I learned about the French resistance to the Nazi occupation of France. The protagonist is Paul Ricard, a novelist who specializes in crime sagas.

Ricard lands in the world of espionage by accident and teams up with a young Polish woman, Kasia, who is a friend working in a bookstore. Together, the couple complete easy assignments that get more difficult and dangerous
...more
Rachel Pollock
This is the sixth novel of Alan Furst's that I've read, and it is my least favorite. The book reads like a draft which would be improved by further rounds of editing for character development (everyone is a cardboard cutout), location description (sometimes you can picture in your head where the events are happening, other times it's very disconnected), and weeding out goonish ogling at the bodies of all the female characters. I realize this is spy noir, but it's not told in the first ...more
Steve
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
To be clear, Alan Furst is not Hemingway; no one is. But it is also true that Furst is that rarest of writers: the minimalist, able to say a lot with a few words, in disarmingly simple sentences. His heroes, women included, are basically good people, sometimes flawed, but moved to do the right thing, acting in ways that show quiet courage. So it is with Paul Ricard, a writer, who joins the French Resistance by happenstance and then commits himself with a determination that surprises even ...more
Grouchy Historian
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Paddy
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I thought this was poor and surprisingly amateurish for an experienced author. The book was more like a collection of connected short stories that felt like they were churned out in a hurry. The proof reader didn’t do a good job - one passage was repeated verbatim for example and there was no explanation why Leila didn’t keep her rendezvous or answer her phone yet she shortly afterward returned his call when Richard was really desperate. The accolades on the back cover read more like “I’ll slap ...more
John Walker
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it seems that most Alan First novels take place before World War II, this one takes place between 1942-43, during the German occupation of France and Paris in particular.
Paul Ricard, noted mystery writer is going back to his garret apartment when a man runs pass him and is shot by the Gestapo. Before he dies he shoves a paper into Ricard's hands. Thus begins Paul Ricard's secret life with the British and the French Resistance. The paper is a blueprint for an advanced torpedo.
After
...more
J. Mitchell
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've read all Alan Furst's World War II era novels and this one is just not up to the standard of his previous work. The characters are perfunctory sketches and there is no individual villain or antagonist who threatens the spies consistently or sufficiently to make readers care about their fates. He's even elected to omit some of the familiar places that often make return appearances in his other books. This one seems phoned in, quite run of the mill -which I regret. Maybe he should try setting ...more
Don Hare
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Plot too thin

This was a very disappointing book. It was just not credible. The situational dynamics were glib, the sub plots of the actions naive, the time scales unbelievable - eg after shooting a GESTAPO officer in an evening, Richard is presented with a poster with his face on it offering a 10,000 franc reward; two hours after the event; when previously he had been free to wander the streets!
The ending was "happy ever after" for all concerned written in about two paragraphs. I think the
...more
Susan Burlew
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaway
This book was interesting but hard to follow. The main character is Paul Ricard. He is part of the french resistance in Paris. The story seemed to skip over some parts. An associate would be detained by the Germans and they would talk about rescuing them. Then the story usually jumped somewhere else. It might be mentioned later that they got the person out of the country but without any explanation. Paul's papers were held by the Germans and he got fake ones and nothing else was mentioned about ...more
Vickie
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it

I have enjoyed some of Furst’s prior novels. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for this one.

The writing is very simplistic, with not much depth to the characters, plot, setting, or action. The Resistance fighters featured perform quite a few jobs for the cause, but Furst just skims over them. He notes what they were and that the were carried out, but we get no details, no drama, no action. I also thought the story could have been written without all the salaciousness and gratuitous sex spread
...more
Clay
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
What a mess. After binging on all of his other books just a year or so ago, I pre-ordered Under Occupation sight unseen. That was a mistake. I forced myself to read the whole book, hoping that there would be something redeeming, but it was all just a waste of time.

The plot was scattered, the characters were vague and lacked depth, the threats never really felt real and the action felt forced.

Such a shame.
Kevin Harber
Not of the same quality as Furst’s earlier works. I fear he’s lost his fastball as he’s aged. The writing feels perfunctory and sparse and occasionally sloppy and inconsistent. The romance between two characters emerges as a fair accompli toward the end without ever being established. They have one encounter midway through the book and then don’t meet again till the end when they’re suddenly in love and can’t live without each other.
Greville Waterman
It’s always a pleasure to read a new Alan Furst. Nobody captures the atmosphere of wartime Paris better than he does.

You breathe it all in and relish the level of detail and also emotion.

His books have changed lately in my opinion. They now seem to comprise a series of shorter themed vignettes rather than a full length novel in its own right.

No real problem given the style and economy of words plus Furst’s massive historical research.

I loved it.
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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
...more

Other books in the series

Night Soldiers (1 - 10 of 15 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)