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Under Occupation

(Night Soldiers #15)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,104 ratings  ·  229 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
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published November 26th 2019 by Random House
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Jeffrey Keeten
”I’ve read them all, by way of getting to know you. They’re good, Monsieur Ricard, The Waterfront Spy, The Odessa Affair, all of them, and you have something in common with Ambler. Your hero is not a detective, not a government agent. Like Ambler’s Latimer, he’s caught up in the politics of his time. One is sympathetic to Latimer, a rather stodgy college professor thrown into the middle of a secret operation because he writes romans policiers, his way of escaping academic publication. That’s ...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
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
Alex Cantone
Under Occupation opens in Oct 1942, Paris has been under Nazi occupation for two years and Parisians go about their business as best they can with rationing, extra food sourced from the countryside, taxis converted to burn coal (oil is only available to the Germans), carrying papers issued by the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) – Nazi intelligence - controlling how and where they live and nightly curfews.

Former journalist Paul Ricard writes detective/spy novels in a garret on Rue de la Huchette in the
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.

Dan O'Meara
Dec 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
The weakest of all of Furst's books. Reads like he is going through the motions. I have been a great fan of his work, but this and the previous three efforts are not a patch on Night Soldiers, or The Polish Officer or any of the rest. Even his writing style seems to have changed. Pity.
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
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
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
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.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is absolutely no “Oomph” to this ‘spy’ novel by “America’s preeminent spy novelist”.
I found myself drifting throughout the reading of this very short novel due to some very improbable scenarios.
It could have been called “The Reluctant Spy” as the main character, mystery novelist Ricard, is more or less involuntarily propelled into spying rather than knowingly and purposefully deciding to spy for the resistance.
Very disappointing offering by such an esteemed author.
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
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
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.
David Whigham
Nov 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The worst Furst

Can't believe he wrote this unless suffering from early signs of dementia
Poor writing and a ludicrous plot with so many inconsistencies that I nearly did not finish it
Altogether rubbish
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
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
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
His latest entry in the iconic Night Soliders series is, to my heartbreaking disappointment, nowhere near as good as his other books. Furst is so much better than this, and at times I even thought someone else tried to poorly mimic his style, some middling student swiped his notes and gave it a shot. It just doesn’t feel like him. It’s like Mona Lisa without her smile. It’s like the Rolling Stones without Mick and Keith. It’s a Christmas tree without the ornaments. The story of French spy ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alan Furst is the king of Worls War II thrillers, and in his latest installment we are in occupied Paris in 1942. Paul RIcard is a writer of noir thrillers and one night as he walks home from a book signing, a man running from the Gestapo is shot in front of him and with his dying breath puts a piece of paper into Paul's hands. It is a drawing of what looks to be a part for a military weapon. Ricard knows that he should get rid of it, but instead decides to turn it over to the Resistance. Thus ...more
Michael Martz
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be disappointed in an Alan Furst novel. Sadly, that day has arrived. "Under Occupation", his latest installment in his series covering WWII in Europe, would be considered fairly interesting if written by anyone else, but the standard for a Furst novel is high and this one didn't cut it.

Under Occupation begins with a French novelist, Paul Ricard, dipping his toe into the operations of the Resistance against the Nazi occupation of Paris in the middle years
Jess Edgar
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this but maybe it just wasn’t for me. The suspenseful parts were great but some of the other parts seemed random. A couple twists came out of nowhere in a not-so-good way. I haven’t read any of his prior books but it seems from reviews that they are much better so I’ll still give one of those a try!
Edward  Goetz
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, 2020
Although not as impressive as some of the earlier Night Soldiers novels (this is 15), Furst remains able to convincingly write about individuals before and during the early years of WWII.

His novels are on the micro-level, not about the big picture of the war. Everyday people thrown into spying, resistance fighters, etc. If you read non-fiction about WWII, read Furst. Totally different perspective.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing how Furst's average citizens become successful espionage agents against the Nazi occupiers and just how "freely" they seem to move about occupied France and other parts of Europe. I always enjoy reading his novels however as usually the good guys prevail.
Molly Jean
Well this is kind of heartbreaking and something I never thought I would giving a single star to an Alan Furst book. I have read all of his espionage novels and loved them. When I found out this title had been published I reserved it from the library and waited for it with great anticipation. When the book finally arrived I cleared my schedule so I could just wallow in it. But within a few pages, I knew something had gone very, very wrong. There is no other way to put it...the book is ...more
Mal Warwick
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the fall of 1942, before the Allies invaded North Africa and the Germans lost at Stalingrad, France had fallen, Britain was staggering, and the United States had not yet meaningfully entered the war in Europe. Virtually all of the Continent outside a handful of neutral nations was occupied by the Nazis. And nowhere was the Nazi presence felt more strongly than in Paris, which the Wehrmacht had preserved as a playground for its troops. There, the French Resistance was growing steadily under ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
It's late 1942 in Occupied Paris. Paul Ricard is an author who writes spy novels. A chance encounter with a Polish fugitive gets him involved in the Resistance movement. He reports to a handler who gives him various assignments, including travelling into Germany, sheltering agents and helping to smuggle torpedo parts to Britain for analysis.

Earlier this year I read The World at Night and Red Gold, both also set in Occupied Paris (Red Gold ends approximately six months before Under Occupation
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
From my earlier review of "A Hero of France" (Night Soldiers #14): "The last three Night Soldiers novels read less like novels than outlines of novels, with characterization, world-building, and nuance yet to be added."

I gave Alan Furst another chance, hoping he'd return to form in "Under Occupation," the 15th novel in the Night Soldiers series, but no. In fact, this one strikes me as an ever lazier effort than the one before it. It's a draft, unfleshed, lacking in feel and characterization. I
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
John Kaye
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a disappointing read. I've waited avidly for each new Furst over the last twenty years, and not been let down, until now. I hardly felt as though I was reading the Alan Furst I knew. The writing was different, with a somewhat staccato style; there was none of the suffocating atmosphere, and it felt at times as though Furst was getting Paris out of his system , with descriptions and detail that could have come from a research notebook and needed not to be wasted. The plot was barely ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This short book (it struggles to get to 200 pages) felt like a struggle on Furst's part. What once may have been glorious narratives are now brief summaries. Some of the characters' actions seem perfunctory, and the writing does too. I gave it three stars because I still enjoyed the novel, and sometimes the old Furst would peek through the clouds. But I wish he had waited longer and written more. It would have led to a stronger book. I've never associated Alan Furst with "breezy," but this book ...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

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)