Dark Star Summary ☆ 108

Dark Star

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Ts an agent in Berlin who can supply crucial information Dark Star captures not only the intrigue and danger of clandestine life but the day to day reality of what Soviet operatives call special work. This book is a sure fire winner for anyone who enjoys truly compelling story set against a lushly detailed historical back dropAlan Furst really has an incredible talent for bringing history alive and this book is a fine exampleGeneralities aside for the moment I particularly enjoyed the RussianEastern European bent of this story Our protagonist is a Polish born Russified Jew who begins the tale as a fiery empassioned writer for Pravda but is slowly sucked into the ravening maw of the NKVD Precursor to the KGB as Hitler devours Europe and the region is sucked inexorably towards warThe intensity and poignancy of this story make it a definite stand out The all too up close and personal encounters with anti antisemitism and life under Stalin's purges are just heartrending and left me unable to put this one down Highly recommended Belgravia only the intrigue and danger Lay Down with Dogs - Get Up with Fleas of clandestine life but the day to day reality Birth in Storm of what Soviet One Beat at a Time operatives call special work. This book is a sure fire winner for anyone who enjoys truly compelling story set against a lushly detailed historical back dropAlan Furst really has an incredible talent for bringing history alive and this book is a fine exampleGeneralities aside for the moment I particularly enjoyed the RussianEastern European bent Winds of Change of this story Our protagonist is a Polish born Russified Jew who begins the tale as a fiery empassioned writer for Pravda but is slowly sucked into the ravening maw Driftworks of the NKVD Precursor to the KGB as Hitler devours Europe and the region is sucked inexorably towards warThe intensity and poignancy My Pup (Fitzroy Readers, of this story make it a definite stand Race/Gender/Class/Media out The all too up close and personal encounters with anti antisemitism and life under Stalin's purges are just heartrending and left me unable to put this Kinpeibai Kinden Honoo no Kuchizuke one down Highly recommended

Read & Download Þ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF à Alan Furst

Paris Moscow Berlin and Prague 1937 In the back alleys of nighttime Europe war is already under way Andr Szara survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars and a foreign correspondent fo. Sometime in the early 90s I was driving at night from Santa Fe to Albuuerue in a barrowed car thanks again Erika listening to NPR Their book reviewer of the moment Elvis Whatshisname as I recall was laying extravagant praise on a spy novel saying it broke the constraints of its genre and blah blah blah I stopped the car and made a note Some weeks later back in London where I was then living I bought the bookNow I don't ordinarily read trash Not because I am too good for it but because I read so slowly that I feel that every moment spent on trash is a lost opportunity But while I have to admit this was trash it was for lack of a better term good trash What made it different from one's basic run of the mill trash For one thing Mr Furst is clearly working hard and he isn't one to say good enough Alan on to the next bit uite freuently he writes like an angel for a sentence or a paragraph or several paragraphs rarely It's enough At least for me I live for those wow moments and am prepared to endure uite a number of yada yada moments between them In a spy novel Furst manages to include than enough wow moments to keep me goingIn addition there is his often remarked upon skill at atmospherics The smell of sulphurous coal smoke layered into a city for which war is both history and destiny The tang of strong French cigarettes The moist chill of a Central European evening The not uite shine of shoes that have been repaired too many times and soak through with salt water than once The mustiness of wet wool that hasn't been cleaned in a long while The colour of a man poisoned by cyanide Furst has an uncanny skill with details of this sort He clearly has done his research and if he is not always correct about which model of car the Nazi or Soviet secret services drove in any given city at any given moment so what He's a writer of fiction not a uiz writer IJn any case for those obsessive compulsives there are than enough websites on which to check which Einsatzgruppe was where when using what guns to kills which defenceless peopleI have read all of his books from Night Soldiers forward Except for Dark Star I have read them all in the order in which they were published It is often remarked by my friends who have already read Furst though rarely all of it that he writes the same book over and over So did Mark Twain It's a legitimate complaint but at the same time it's beside the point Most authors manage not to exhaust the things that worry them after the first book and many keep writing that first book until they finally get it right One might say that Jane Austen did this except she managed to get it right the first time and every time thereafter Still it can be difficult not to mix up the plots and characters of her booksBut in the case of Furst I think he keep writing similar stories in very different ways The Polish Officer for example is so fast paced and picaresue that the tiniest bit of skepticism will bring the whole thing crashing downAnd then there are the grand conceits that Furst allows himself in each book and sometimes across several books If you aren't amused then I assume you aren't getting the jokes As an example in The Polish Office almost no one including the officer in uestion has a Polish name As I live in Poland I know how rare it is to encounter someone in this country who does not have a Polish name De Milja I don't think so Vyborg Not a chance Perhaps Furst's editor or publisher told him to lose the unpronounceable Polish names I don't care it's still a hoot albeit a subtile oneEach book may tell a version of the same story but none of them tells its version in exactly the same way as any of the others Some books have next to no love interest Others have the protagonist in bed with a woman or two but in love with none In still others love interest seems the whole interest Spies of Warsaw has sex in it than the first few books put together even so you get the feeling that Furst is practicing Some books like The Polish Officer include so many events that one begins to think of the protagonist as a sort of composite character Others like Red Gold move at a snails pace and go nowhere As before I am convinced this is not a failure but a concious decission by the author to work one an aspect of his craft that he thinks needs workIt's for that that I most often recommend Furst's books They let you examine how a book is written how the author adds meat potatoes vegetables stock herbs and spices to concoct the sort of stew that is a novelI gave this book 5 stars for it's transparency in terms of allowing an apprentice or journeyman writer to see how really good and sometimes great writing comes about The reader can see how much work and what sort of wort goes into Furst's novels

Alan Furst à 8 Free read

R Pravda is co opted by the NKVD the Soviet secret intelligence service and becomes a full time spymaster in Paris As deputy director of a Paris network Szara finds his own star rising when he recrui. read long ago re reading now in preparation to writing spy scenes in my seuel to A Flood of EvilUPDATE 121016 an excellent spy story that you feel as much as read Changing currents new alliances set chapter by chapter against the evolving Nazi horror Andre Szara Jewish Polish Russian struggling to stay alive but never stepping away from making a difference wherever he can Fascinating moody portraits of Paris Berlin and many other cities I didn't follow every turn but it doesn't matter A wonderful read


10 thoughts on “Dark Star

  1. says:

    Alan Furst is better than John Le Carre There I've said it Since I started the series I've been living in 1939 wearing my rain coat and I'm thinking of sewing my passport into the lining of my briefcase Is that too obvious? It's true what everyone says about Furst You're suddenly and shockingly plunged into this period in history You'll learn to care deeply about all those eastern bloc countries that you barely know You'll learn how to survive as a Russian agent in Paris This is an amazing series


  2. says:

    I learned about Stalin and World War II from this book than I ever learned from any history class Andre Szara is a respected Russian journalist working for Pravda occasionally doing a little favor for the State when suddenly he finds himself involved in a political killing He is handed a luggage ticket retrieved from the body and directed to redeem a piece of luggage stowed away in a Prague train station Under a false bottom in an old suitcase he finds a case file detailing a mysterious sombody’s years of snitch work for the Okhrana the Tzar's secret police The somebody turns out to be Stalin himself An underground force within Soviet intelligence wants Szara to write the story exposing the Soviet leader's traitorous criminal background essentially asking Szara to commit suicide And then history convulses priorities change and Stalin is needed to lead the fight against HitlerA survivor of pogroms the Russian Pale and Stalin's purges Szara is wry and witty dashing and romantic cynical and softhearted I’ve read all of Mr Furst’s books and Szara is the most solidly real of all his heroes You bob your head along with his observations you ache when he aches you fear for his life You understand what it feels like to lose all hope and what it means to fall in love when you thought there was nothing left inside of youWith the effortless grace of his language his amazing grasp of history and an astounding vocabulary of period detail Furst conjures it all to uivering life When you read this book you will know how it feels to be hunted by the NKVD what it is like to be a Jew in Berlin on Kristallnacht how to react if a Gestapo officer leans over to look at you and of course how to run an agent You will feel those German warplanes roar down over your head before they drop their payloads You are in that line of Polish refugees trudging away from both sides as fast as you can It’s you waiting with increasing desperation for some country any country to give you a visa so that you can get away from bad people who want to kill you Most effectively he recreates what it must have felt like to be a Jew in an increasingly unfriendly world I love all of Alan Furst's books But Dark Star is my favorite


  3. says:

    Sometime in the early 90s I was driving at night from Santa Fe to Albuuerue in a barrowed car thanks again Erika listening to NPR Their book reviewer of the moment Elvis Whatshisname as I recall was laying extravagant praise on a spy novel saying it broke the constraints of its genre and blah blah blah I stopped the car and made a note Some weeks later back in London where I was then living I bought the bookNow I don't ordinarily read trash Not because I am too good for it but because I read so slowly that I feel that every moment spent on trash is a lost opportunity But while I have to admit this was trash it was for lack of a better term good trash What made it different from one's basic run of the mill trash? For one thing Mr Furst is clearly working hard and he isn't one to say good enough Alan on to the next bit uite freuently he writes like an angel for a sentence or a paragraph or several paragraphs rarely It's enough At least for me I live for those wow moments and am prepared to endure uite a number of yada yada moments between them In a spy novel Furst manages to include than enough wow moments to keep me goingIn addition there is his often remarked upon skill at atmospherics The smell of sulphurous coal smoke layered into a city for which war is both history and destiny The tang of strong French cigarettes The moist chill of a Central European evening The not uite shine of shoes that have been repaired too many times and soak through with salt water than once The mustiness of wet wool that hasn't been cleaned in a long while The colour of a man poisoned by cyanide Furst has an uncanny skill with details of this sort He clearly has done his research and if he is not always correct about which model of car the Nazi or Soviet secret services drove in any given city at any given moment so what? He's a writer of fiction not a uiz writer IJn any case for those obsessive compulsives there are than enough websites on which to check which Einsatzgruppe was where when using what guns to kills which defenceless peopleI have read all of his books from Night Soldiers forward Except for Dark Star I have read them all in the order in which they were published It is often remarked by my friends who have already read Furst though rarely all of it that he writes the same book over and over So did Mark Twain It's a legitimate complaint but at the same time it's beside the point Most authors manage not to exhaust the things that worry them after the first book and many keep writing that first book until they finally get it right One might say that Jane Austen did this except she managed to get it right the first time and every time thereafter Still it can be difficult not to mix up the plots and characters of her booksBut in the case of Furst I think he keep writing similar stories in very different ways The Polish Officer for example is so fast paced and picaresue that the tiniest bit of skepticism will bring the whole thing crashing downAnd then there are the grand conceits that Furst allows himself in each book and sometimes across several books If you aren't amused then I assume you aren't getting the jokes As an example in The Polish Office almost no one including the officer in uestion has a Polish name As I live in Poland I know how rare it is to encounter someone in this country who does not have a Polish name De Milja? I don't think so Vyborg? Not a chance Perhaps Furst's editor or publisher told him to lose the unpronounceable Polish names I don't care it's still a hoot albeit a subtile oneEach book may tell a version of the same story but none of them tells its version in exactly the same way as any of the others Some books have next to no love interest Others have the protagonist in bed with a woman or two but in love with none In still others love interest seems the whole interest Spies of Warsaw has sex in it than the first few books put together even so you get the feeling that Furst is practicing Some books like The Polish Officer include so many events that one begins to think of the protagonist as a sort of composite character Others like Red Gold move at a snails pace and go nowhere As before I am convinced this is not a failure but a concious decission by the author to work one an aspect of his craft that he thinks needs workIt's for that that I most often recommend Furst's books They let you examine how a book is written how the author adds meat potatoes vegetables stock herbs and spices to concoct the sort of stew that is a novelI gave this book 5 stars for it's transparency in terms of allowing an apprentice or journeyman writer to see how really good and sometimes great writing comes about The reader can see how much work and what sort of wort goes into Furst's novels


  4. says:

    read long ago re reading now in preparation to writing spy scenes in my seuel to A Flood of EvilUPDATE 121016 an excellent spy story that you feel as much as read Changing currents new alliances set chapter by chapter against the evolving Nazi horror Andre Szara Jewish Polish Russian struggling to stay alive but never stepping away from making a difference wherever he can Fascinating moody portraits of Paris Berlin and many other cities I didn't follow every turn but it doesn't matter A wonderful read


  5. says:

    ‘Dark Star’ is my favorite Furst 1930s spy novel so far I’ve read seven from eleven It’s the second and finds Furst yet to completely settle into the formula which serves him so well in the most recent ‘Spies of the Balkans’Like that novel ‘Dark Star’ features a shopworn veteran of his profession in this case Russian journalism who takes up spying to survive and becomes a reluctant hero of sorts André Szara comes off the most concretely of any of Furst’s marvelous lead characters I've encountered perhaps because he is so unprepossessing You can smell this modest man’s sweat He has the usual carnal dalliances Furst seems to feel obligated to throw into all his books but with Szara there’s a tangible sense of desperationAnd that’s because he’s a minor player in a big picture of highly desperate times Kristallnacht marks Hitler’s open declaration of his mad manifesto and the antisemitic thug who rules Russia might turn out to be the lesser evil if he refrains from joining forces—Nazis and Communists together could have controlled the world Not a good time to be an NKVD agent nor a Jew but Szara moving warily from Paris to Berlin and through eastern Europe has nothing else to be He does the best he can to save his own life then helps to save the lives of other JewsNo one can better Furst in integrating history and adventure and here he’s got a wholly exciting backdrop where he can move around the pawns of an unbelievably dark period I learned about the vicious cartel from Georgia that brought Stalin to power In the space of a few pages I came to a real understanding of the Pale of Settlement Furst passes along these nuggets of information without slowing down his story in the slightestWithout sentimentality and only inklings of the horrors borne by those dispersed people of the Pale he also makes clear what it meant to be a Jew in Europe in 1938 ‘There is a trick’ says a colleague of Szara’s ‘played on us through the centuries and now played on us again the Jew is accused of being cunning by someone a thousand times cunning than any Jew has ever been’If you can only read one Furst novel this should be it Highly recommended


  6. says:

    Fabulous Far FAR better than The Polish Officer which is formulaic A book that was praised by Alan Bullock reminiscent of Victor Serge; a piece of finely written deeply felt WW II political historical sleuthingSzara is a very sympathetic characterthis is a stand alone novel despite being part of a series and the book to read of Furst's Thoroughly enjoyed it


  7. says:

    Another excellent offering from this very very talented author Love the detail of these novels set in Europe at the beginning of the second world war This novel as with Night Soldiers captures the period and ambiance of those troubled times


  8. says:

    This book is a sure fire winner for anyone who enjoys truly compelling story set against a lushly detailed historical back dropAlan Furst really has an incredible talent for bringing history alive and this book is a fine exampleGeneralities aside for the moment I particularly enjoyed the RussianEastern European bent of this story Our protagonist is a Polish born Russified Jew who begins the tale as a fiery empassioned writer for Pravda but is slowly sucked into the ravening maw of the NKVD Precursor to the KGB as Hitler devours Europe and the region is sucked inexorably towards warThe intensity and poignancy of this story make it a definite stand out The all too up close and personal encounters with anti antisemitism and life under Stalin's purges are just heartrending and left me unable to put this one down Highly recommended


  9. says:

    Furst captures the vibe the atmosphere of the era I think many of us born right after the end of WWII all grew up watching the same movies the same horrific documentaries and reading the same books about the war The intrigue the romance the danger the heroism the sacrifice portrayed in this media became an early part of out psyche and in a strange way places a book like this into a continuum with films like Casablanca 13 Rue Madeleine and books like The Mask of Dimitrius and the non fiction works of Ben Macintyre Of course Dark Star is dark gritty and realistic than the films mentioned but what they have in common is the atmosphere of en era that they all manage to capture


  10. says:

    This is my second Alan Furst novel in the Night Soldiers series and once again he delivers No one can eual him when it comes to creating the atmosphere of pre WWII Europe Add a cast of interesting characters a plot with all the twist and turns you could want and what you have is a very enjoyable read If you’re interested in Europe before and during WWII this will be like catnip If what you want is a fast paced spy novel you won’t be disappointed The novels in this series each has a new set of characters so feel free to jump in anywhere along the wayI read this as an audiobook The narrator George Guidall was excellent


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