From Alan Furst, whom The New York Times calls "America's preeminent spy novelist," comes an epic story of romantic love, love of country, and love of freedom-the story of a secret war fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, in the mountains of Spain and the backstreets of Berlin. It is an inspiring, thrilling saga of everyday people forced by their hearts' passion to fight in the war against tyranny. By 1938, hundreds of Italian intellectuals, lawyers and journalists, university professors and scientists had escaped Mussolini's fascist government and taken refuge in Paris. There, amid the struggles of émigré life, they founded an Italian resistance, with an underground press that smuggled news and encouragement back to Italy. Fighting fascism with typewriters, they produced 512 clandestine newspapers. The Foreign Correspondent is their story. Paris, a winter night in 1938: a murder/suicide at a discreet lovers' hotel. But this is no romantic traged-it is the work of the OVRA, Mussolini's fascist secret police, and is meant to eliminate the editor of Liberazione, a clandestine émigré newspaper. Carlo Weisz, who has fled from Trieste and secured a job as a foreign correspondent with the Reuters bureau, becomes the new editor. Weisz is, at that moment, in Spain, reporting on the last campaign of the Spanish civil war. But as soon as he returns to Paris, he is pursued by the French Sûreté, by agents of the OVRA, and by officers of the British Secret Intelligence Service. In the desperate politics of Europe on the edge of war, a foreign correspondent is a pawn, worth surveillance, or blackmail, or murder. The Foreign Correspondent is the story of Carlo Weisz and a handful of antifascists: the army officer known as "Colonel Ferrara," who fights for a lost cause in Spain; Arturo Salamone, the shrewd leader of a resistance group in Paris; and Christa von Schirren, the woman who becomes the love of Weisz's life, herself involved in a doomed resistance underground in Berlin. The Foreign Correspondent is Alan Furst at his absolute best-taut and powerful, enigmatic and romantic, with sharp, seductive writing that takes the reader through darkness and intrigue to a spectacular denouement. From the Hardcover edition.
Furst's reputation as one of today's best writers, in any genre, is further solidified by this gripping historical thriller with echoes of Graham Greene, which opens in Paris in December 1938. Journalist Carlo Weisz, an expatriate Italian who's half Slav, is fighting the Mussolini regime by writing for the Paris-based underground opposition newspaper, the Liberazione. When agents of the OVRA, the Italian secret police, murder the Liberazione's editor in the arms of his mistress, Weisz assumes greater responsibility for keeping the paper running. OVRA also targets Weisz and his surviving colleagues, forcing him to scramble to stay alive while continuing his subversive work. Furst (Night Soldiers) excels at characterization, making even secondary figures such as shadowy presences from British intelligence and Nazi minders more than cartoon stereotypes. Through the exploits of his understated hero, Furst presents a potent portrait of Europe on the eve of WWII. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Just too slow
Posted December 18, 2009 by Ian , LangleyI found the book rather slow and had difficulty identifying with the characters.
2 . Good vacation read
Posted March 24, 2009 by VacationReader , HoustonI really enjoyed this novel. I really enjoy novels from this period -- Europe at the beginning of WWII. It is somewhat similar to Daniel Silva's "The Unlikely Spy" The story follows an Italian emigre in Paris who becomes entangled in love and espionage at the on set of the war. The story has great tension, with sinister enemies, an interesting historical setting and protagonist.
3 . Excellent Phoney War Fiction
Posted January 09, 2009 by Laura , CanadaThis book is an excellent fictionalized account of the Phoney War leading up to the Second World War, as well as a look at emigre life in Paris..
May 29, 2006
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Excerpt from The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst
In Paris, the last days of autumn; a gray, troubled sky at daybreak, the fall of twilight at noon, followed, at seven-thirty, by slanting rains and black umbrellas as the people of the city hurried home past the bare trees. On the third of December, 1938, in the heart of the Seventh Arrondissement, a champagne-colored Lancia sedan turned the corner of the rue Saint-Dominique and rolled to a stop in the rue Augereau. Then the man in the backseat leaned forward for a moment and the chauffeur drove a few feet further and stopped again, this time in the shadow between two streetlamps.
The man in the back of the Lancia was called Ettore, il conte Amandola--the nineteenth Ettore, Hector, in the Amandola line, and count only the grandest of his titles. Closer to sixty than fifty, he had dark, slightly bulging eyes, as though life had surprised him, though it had never dared to do that, and a pink flush along his cheekbones, which suggested a bottle of wine with lunch, or excitement in the anticipation of an event planned for the evening. In fact, it was both. For the rest of his colors, he was a very silvery sort of man: his silver hair, gleaming with brilliantine, was brushed back to a smooth surface, and a thin silver mustache, trimmed daily with a scissors, traced his upper lip. Beneath a white wool overcoat, on the lapel of a gray silk suit, he wore a ribbon holding a silver Maltese cross on a blue enamel field, which meant he held the rank of cavaliere in the Order of the Crown of Italy. On the other lapel, the silver medal of the Italian Fascist party; a tipped square with diagonal fasces--a bundle of birch rods tied, with a red cord, to an axe. This symbolized the power of the consuls of the Roman Empire, who had the real rods and axe carried before them, and had the authority to beat with the birch rods, or behead with the axe.
Count Amandola looked at his watch, then rolled down the rear window and peered through the rain at a short street, the rue du Gros Caillou, that intersected the rue Augereau. From this point of observation--and he had twice made sure of it earlier that week--he could see the entry of the Hotel Colbert; a rather subtle entry, only the name in gold letters on the glass door, and a spill of light from the lobby that shone on the wet pavement. A rather subtle hotel, the Colbert, quiet, discreet, that catered to les affaires cinq-a-sept; amours conducted between five and seven, those flexible hours of the early evening. But, Amandola thought, a little taste of fame for you tomorrow. The hotel commissionaire, holding a large umbrella, left the entry and headed briskly down the street, toward the rue Saint-Dominique. Once more, Amandola looked at his watch. 7:32, it said. No, he thought, it is 1932 hours.