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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mission to Paris- A Review

I recently finished Mission to Paris by Alan Furst. His other books include: Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, The Foreign Correspondent, The Spies of Warsaw, and Spies of the Balkans.

This was my first foray into the spy thriller genre so I felt a little out of my element in the beginning of the novel. However, as the characters developed, I found myself intrigued by the play of events and curious to see how the lead character, movie actor Fredrich Stahl, fairs in his dealings with the politics behind the film industry during a crucial time in the world's history.

There are a lot of characters that come into play throughout the novel and I wanted to know more of their background. There could be so many spinoffs where these characters have the potential to carry their own storylines in future novels. They each possessed their own secrets that don't fully come to light in Mission to Paris.

The city of Paris is almost a character itself, always luring you in with her seduction- elegant hotels, quaint bistros, and the sophistication of its fashionably clad inhabitants.

Initially, Stahl appears to be an egocentric celebrity but as he is forced to play the game by the Nazi's rules, the reader discovers that he is greatly sensitive to the cultural issues that were weighing so heavily on Europe at that time and he answers to his conscious. I enjoyed Mission to Paris. It was a nice change to step out of my reading comfort zone and discover a more masculine style of writing.

I received Mission to Paris from Random House Reader's Circle.

Happy Reading!

Random House Book Description
     It is the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, the Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he's coming- a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political  warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France's will to defend herself.
     For their purposes, Fredrich Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don't know is that Stahl is horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become a part of an informal spy service being run out the American embassy in Paris.
     From Alan Furst, the bestselling author often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that will have you reading "just one more page" until you're done. Mission to Paris includes beautifully drawn scenes of romance and intimacy, and the novel is alive with extraordinary characters: the German Baroness von Reschke, a famous hostess deeply involved in Nazi clandestine oeprations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russion film actress Olga Orlova; the Hungarian diplomat and spy Count Janos Polanyi; along with the French cast of Stahl's movie, German film producers, and the magnetic women in Stahl's life, the socialite Kiki de Saint-Ange and the emigre Renate Steiner.
     But always at the center of the novel is the city of Paris, the heart and soul of Europe- its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it was their last. As always, Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

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