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Dark Star by Alan Furst
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Dark Star by Alan Furst
Paperback $18.00
Jul 09, 2002 | ISBN 9780375759994

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    Jul 09, 2002 | ISBN 9780375759994

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  • Dec 10, 2008 | ISBN 9780307483577

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Product Details


Praise for Alan Furst and Dark Star
“A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story.”
The New York Times

“Compelling…An excellent novel of history, betrayal and, most important, survival…While the story offers enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent spy fan, author Alan Furst transcends genre. This is a novel with heart.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a rich book, to be savored…for it is a work of an accomplished writer without obtrusively saying so on every other page. Furst has the instincts of the historian—he likes to get his sequences right, he tells a story straight, and he believes that setting matters—and the gifts of the storyteller.”
The Boston Globe

“The time-frame of the late 1930s on the Continent was once the special property of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene; Furst has ventured into their fictional territory and brought out a story that is equally original and engaging.”
–Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times

Dark Star is as fine an evocation of prewar Europe as anything I’ve ever read. An extremely well written and literate novel that practically creates a new genre: historical espionage.”
–Nelson DeMille, author of The Gold Coast

“Outclasses any spy novel I have ever read.”
–Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate

“Captures the murky allegiances and moral ambiguity of Europe on the brink of war. . . . Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time. But Furst comes closer than anyone has in years.”
–Walter Shapiro, Time

“[Dark Star] explores the ambiguous moral ground familiar to readers of Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and le Carré. . . . Terrific stuff–poignant, moving, provocative.”
–Adam Woog, The Seattle Times

“Gripping . . . [Furst’s] details of the period . . . give the book a forceful–and sometimes terrifying–reality.”
–New York Newsday

“A page-churner of the best sort . . . Brilliant detail and sure sweep . . . Here is a thriller more deeply satisfying than much of the nonthrilling ‘serious fiction’ around today.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review

“One of the best spy novels I’ve read in years. . . . The novel is impeccably researched. It’s as much historical fiction as it is spy fiction, and the atmosphere of danger and doom it creates by means of deftly employed historical details is matched only by the vividness of its mostly fictional characters. Dark Star doesn’t merely evoke the period. Because of its engaging plot and appealing hero, it makes you live there, suffer there, and hope.”
–Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

“Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and le Carré sit up all night and talk to each other and this is what you get. It is absolutely wonderful.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Intelligent, provocative, and gripping . . . Beautifully and compellingly told.”
Publishers Weekly

Author Q&A

Alan Furst describes the area of his interest as “near history.” His novels are set between 1933–the date of Adolf Hitler’s ascent, with the first Stalinist purges in Moscow coming a year later–and 1945, which saw the end of the war in Europe. The history of this period is well documented. Furst uses books by journalists of the time, personal memoirs–some privately published–autobiographies (many of the prominent individuals of the period wrote them), war and political histories, and characteristic novels written during those years.

“But,” he says, “there is a lot more”–for example, period newsreels, magazines, and newspapers, as well as films and music, especially swing and jazz. “I buy old books,” Furst says, “and old maps, and I once bought, while living in Paris, the photo archive of a French stock house that served newspapers of Paris during the Occupation, all the prints marked as cleared by the German censorship.” In addition, Furst uses intelligence histories of the time, many of them by British writers.

Alan Furst has lived for long periods in Paris and in the south of France. “In Europe,” he says, “the past is still available. I remember a blue neon sign, in the Eleventh Arrondissement in Paris, that had possibly been there since the 1930s.” He recalls that on the French holiday le jour des morts (All Saints’ Day, November 1) it is customary for Parisians to go to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. “Before the collapse of Polish communism, the Polish émigrés used to gather at the tomb of Maria Walewska. They would burn rows of votive candles and play Chopin on a portable stereo. It was always raining on that day, and a dozen or so Poles would stand there, under black umbrellas, with the music playing, as a kind of silent protest against the communist regime. The spirit of this action was history alive–as though the entire past of that country, conquered again and again, was being brought back to life.”

The heroes of Alan Furst’s novels include a Bulgarian defector from the Soviet intelligence service, a foreign correspondent for Pravda, a Polish cartographer who works for the army general staff, a French producer of gangster films, and a Hungarian émigré who works with a diplomat at the Hungarian legation in Paris. “These are characters in novels,” Furst says, “but people like them existed; people like them were courageous people with ordinary lives and, when the moment came, they acted with bravery and determination. I simply make it possible for them to tell their stories.”

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