The Spies Of Warsaw

Alan Furst is a master at conjuring up the shadowy world of espionage in pre-World War II and wartime Europe. I'd previously read his two novels set in occupied France - The World at Night and Red Gold.

Spies of Warsaw is set in the run-up to the Second World War. Jean-Francois Mercier is Military Attache to the French Embassy in Warsaw. He is also the Head of French Intelligence in the city, although there doesn't seem to be very much happening. This changes when a German engineer provides information on Panzer tank trials - it soon becomes clear to Mercier that the Nazis are planning an invasion of France via the forests of the Ardennes, but can he convince anyone to listen to him?

There is adventure and romance aplenty as he rescues a pair of ex-NKVD spies, falls in love, and provokes the wrath of a Gestapo thug. Furst is great in detailing the atmosphere and minutiae of a doomed city. There is a wonderful film noir intensity to the novel - as I was reading it my mind was seeing the action as though I was watching Casablanca. He writes beautifully very much in the style of Graham Greene with just a touch of Le Carre. C.J. Sansom was very clearly influenced by Alan Furst's writing in his thriller Winter in Madrid.

Very readable, this is an atmospheric tale which grips from start to finish.


Popular Posts