Mission to Paris
By Alan Furst
(Random House, Hardcover, 9781400069484, 272pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
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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, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.
From Alan Furst, the bestselling author, often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that’s truly hard to put down. 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 operations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russian film actress and spy 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 émigré 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.
Advance praise for Mission to Paris
“The writing in Mission to Paris, sentence after sentence, page after page, is dazzling. If you are a John le Carré fan, this is definitely a novel for you.”—James Patterson
“I am a huge fan of Alan Furst. Furst is the best in the business—the most talented espionage novelist of our generation.”—Vince Flynn
Praise for Alan Furst
“Unfolds like a vivid dream . . . One couldn’t ask for a more engrossing novel.”—The Wall Street Journal, about Spies of the Balkans
“Though set in a specific place and time, Furst’s books are like Chopin’s nocturnes: timeless, transcendent, universal. One does not so much read them as fall under their spell.”—Los Angeles Times, about The Spies of Warsaw
“Alan Furst’s novels swing a beam into the shadows at the edges of the great events leading to World War II. Readers come knowing he’ll deliver effortless narrative.”—USA Today, about The Foreign Correspondent
“Positively bristles with plot, characters and atmosphere . . . Dark Voyage has the ingredients of several genres—the mystery, the historical novel, the espionage thriller, the romance—but it rises above all of them.”—The Washington Post, about Dark Voyage
“No other espionage writer touches [Furst’s] stylish forays into Budapest and Berlin, Moscow and Paris. No other writer today captures so well the terror and absurdity of the spy, the shabby tension and ennui of émigré communities at the time. His characters are hopeless, lethal, charming. His voice is, above all, knowing.”—Boston Sunday Globe, about Blood of Victory
Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into eighteen languages, he is the author of 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. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris, and now lives on Long Island.
Alan Furst's new thriller, Mission to Paris, follows a German-American film star to Europe on the brink of war. Fredric Stahl thinks he's going to make a movie in France, but he winds up caught between German and American forces who both hope to use his stardom for their own ends. More at NPR.org
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“This is the romantic Paris to make a tourist weep … The brilliant historical flourishes seem to create – or recreate – a world … In Furst’s densely populated books, hundred of minor characters – clerks, chauffeurs, soldiers, whores – all whirl around his heroes in perfect focus for a page or two, then dot by dot, face by face, they vanish, leaving a heartbreaking sense of the vast Homeric epic that was World War II and the smallness of almost every life that was caught up in it.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Alan Furst again shows why he is a grandmaster of the historical espionage genre. Furst not only vividly re-creates the excitement and growing gloom of the City of Light in 1938-39, as war with Nazi Germany looms, but also demonstrates a profound knowledge of the political divisions and cultural sensibilities of that bygone era … As summer or subway reading goes, it doesn't get more action-packed and grippingly atmospheric than this.”
—The Boston Globe
“Between them, Fredric and Paris make this a book no reader will put down to the final page. Furst evokes the city and the prewar anxiety with exquisite tension that is only a bit relieved by Fredric’s encounters with several women, each a vivid and attractive character. Critics compare Furst to Graham Greene and John le Carré, but the time has come for this much-published author (this is his ninth World War II novel after Spies of the Balkans) to occupy his own pinnacle as a master of historical espionage.”
—Library Journal (starred)
“Furst conveys a strong sense of the era, when responding to a knock might open the door to the end of one’s days. The novel recalls a time when black and white applied to both movies and moral choices. It’s a tale with wide appeal.”
“[Furst] is most at home in Paris, which is why legions of his fans, upon seeing only the title of his latest book, will immediately feel pulses quicken … Furst has been doing this and doing it superbly for a long time now … Long ago Furst made the jump from genre favorite to mainstream bestsellerdom; returning to his signature setting, Paris, he only stands to climb higher.”
“Alan Furst’s writing reminds me of a swim in perfect water on a perfect day, fluid and exquisite. One wants the feeling to go on forever, the book to never end … Like Graham Greene, Furst creates believable characters caught up, with varying degrees of willingness, in the parade of political life. And because they care, the reader does, too … Furst is one of the finest spy novelists working today, and, from boudoir to the beach, Mission to Paris is perfect summer reading.”
“The writing in Mission to Paris, sentence after sentence, page after page, is dazzling. If you are a John le Carré fan, this is definitely a novel for you.”
"I am a huge fan of Alan Furst. Furst is the best in the business--the most talented espionage novelist of our generation."
“Reading Mission to Paris is like sipping a fine Chateau Margaux: Sublime!”