Jim's Reviews > Kingdom of Shadows

Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst
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's review
Mar 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, thrillers, ebooks
Read in March, 2011

In my experience, a new novel by Furst is always a treat. Like his earlier books, this one is something of a series of vignettes that could stand on their own as superior short stories and which combine to make a fine novel. Through the course of the vignettes, we watch as Nicholas Morath, the protagonist, gets drawn more and more into the world of his uncle, who is a Hungarian nobleman, diplomat and Hitler antagonist. I know of no one who does a better job of evoking a time and a place than Furst does with his WWII stories, and this one is no exception. And like his previous works, this one is full of interesting minor characters brought to life in an excellent narrative from a master of the genre. Imagine a cross between Graham Green and Eric Ambler, with a bit of Orson Welles thrown in for good measure, and you get something of an idea of what's waiting for you here. Where I find a Furst story lacking is in the fact that his protagonists always seem to be carried forward by external forces, rather than internal ones. And while this is surely due at least in part to the WWII setting and the relative powerlessness of any individual to do much to fight the inevitable, it does tend to give a sense that the novelist is somewhat adrift along with his protagonist. And while this "falling into" approach to story development might work well for some, I find it a bit on the passive side.
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07/01/2016 marked as: read

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