Channel, fully dressed; the kind of stroke works fine in a movielike
, but seems arbitrary in a novel.
heart remains as elusive as the secretive world hespends much of the book trying to avoid, but not as intriguing. Jean Casson is the callow, reluctant hero, struggling with thedecision whether or not to join the Resistance. Good enough, but the impacts of outside events on him never seemed to come tolife. I never felt touched by the war raging inside Jean. He seemsto be dressed in a finely tailored but hollow suit.However,
I’m glad to say,
Casson filled out that empty suit in
Furst’s next adventure
, a breakneck, harrowing thriller
of Casson’s adventures after he
commits himself body and soul to the Resistance. Here, Casson comes live as a dashing thoughstill-ambivalent hero, thanks to relentless, hair-raising,sometimes horrific, encounters with both German occupiers and treachery from other Frenchmen. I closed that book with anadmiring shudder and admiration for the bravery it must havetaken to stand up to the Nazis. Like the best war stories, it gaveme to feelings of both excited admiration for its heroes and gratitude
that I didn’t have to live through it.
But now I come to
Kingdom of Shadows
. Here, the 50 Percent Theory again seems useful
. This time, we’re with the Hungarian
segment of the Resistance
, starting in March 1938, when Hitler’s
with some assist from Stalin--were gathering and thewhole world seemed willing to give way before his stew of manipulation, deceit, and proud-faced bullying.We experience this world through the eyes of Nicholas Morath,handsome Hungarian nobleman, sometime playboy, and patriot
who’s living in exile in Paris
. Morath is resolutely anti-Nazi,willing to do his utmost to serve his country. Unlike JeanMasson, Morath feels no doubt about joining the good fight.Unfortunately though,
thanks to internal Hungarian politics, he’snever sure whose side he’s working
for, pro- or anti-Fascist.