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The Spies of Warsaw
The Spies of Warsaw
The Spies of Warsaw
Audiobook9 hours

The Spies of Warsaw

Written by Alan Furst

Narrated by Daniel Gerroll

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

4.5/5

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About this audiobook

A new thriller from "the greatest living writer of espionage fiction"
-- Houston Chronicle

Autumn 1937: War is coming to Europe. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-François Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations.

Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amid an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters -- Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence; the mysterious and sophisticated Dr. Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier's brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed.

The Spies of Warsaw is Furst's finest novel to date -- exciting, atmospheric, erotic, and impossible to put down.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateJun 3, 2008
ISBN9780743571807
The Spies of Warsaw

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Reviews for The Spies of Warsaw

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
4.5/5

32 ratings23 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A typical Alan Furst book. That is a compliment, not a criticism, even though I'm a little tired of some of the plot devices that are repeated, like the high school romance. I was still impressed with Furst's ability to generate concerns about the hero's safety, even though I know that his heroes always survive. If I remember one scene ten years from now, it will probably be the professionally clever, morally stupid Gestapo bureaucrat who frightens the colonel's wife out of Berlin with a gentle tone and fake eyeglasses.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I usually don't read the spy novel genre that much. Furst was recommended so I picked this book up. It was a bit disappointing. From other reviews I have read, it is possible that this is one of his weaker books. The plot was very simplistic and very hard to believe. I could not understand the motivation of a Greek police detective wanting to get involved with the dangerous work of moving people out of Nazi Germany and on to Turkey. The relationships were simple with little depth. The plot had little dramatic tension but I did enjoy the historic element of this time prior to the US entering the was. I will do more research on Furst's other books before I read another of his novels.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    By the numbers spy thriller, with the added interest of being set in the turbulent Balkans in the early years of WWII. It concerns the activities of a handsome Greek police officer who navigates the twisted loyalties and dangers of wartime Europe while saving endangered people from the clutches of the Nazis, finding time along the way to bed various women who happen to cross his path. "Slick" is the word that springs to mind when describing this book. It is the literary equivalent of sliding on a thick coat of oil across a highly polished floor. You begin at the beginning, slide effortlessly and quickly through with minimal emotional engagement, and exit at the end, having been entertained, certainly, but wondering if that few hours of your life invested was well-spent. There is simply a lack of drama in the story, very little sense that the characters are ever in any danger, which is essential for a spy story. The protagonist is is simply too be good to be true, he never encounters a situation he can't instantly think his way out of, and flits through the dangers of wartime Europe with ludicrous ease. The author has a habit of setting up situations and then resolving them without any attendant suspense or drama, which certainly moves the story along very quickly, but sort of defeats the purpose of a thriller. For instance, our heroic protagonist shoots an SS officer in the face, in the middle of Occupied Paris, which would seem to guarantee an intense manhunt and plenty of close shaves. Not a bit of it. Two pages later, he's safely out danger and back home in Greece without turning a hair. Even James Bond had to survive being captured and tortured a few times. Not our hero, he's literally the Teflon Man. In addition, he's also, as required, impossibly attractive to women. Throughout the novel, a whole string of women find it impossible to resist disrobing and sampling his manly charms between the sheets. The most ludicrous example of this concerns his true love, who has barely cast a first glance his way and is straight away indicating by various subtle movements that she wants to play hide the sausage with him. I mean, I have seen lust at first sight in real life, but it usually involves copious amounts of alcohol and always at least the exchange of some words. Again, even the immortal Bond struck out once or twice, but not our hero. Really, that is the whole story of this book, it's just too unbelievable to be taken seriously. Which is a pity, because the author's description of the chaos of wartime Europe, the seedy underworld and labrynthine politics of the Balkans, are very good. the book just needed a bit of genuine drama and a more human protagonist to be a top class spy thriller. As it is, it is very much an airplane read, buy it at the airport, read on a long flight, leave it in the motel room for the next guest because its not worth lugging around once you're done. Not bad, not good, mildly entertaining, but guaranteed not to stretch your intellectual capacities in any way.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is a grat story. The main character is Costa Zannis, a police detective in Salonika in Greece. The story takes place just as the Second World War is starting. Because he is a nice, fair person with a network of friends and contacts, he becomes increasingly involved in political intrigues and people smuggling. The background story of Hitler, Mussolini, Mextax and the Yugoslavian government is fascinating to view through Zannis' character. If you like a really well written spy novel, read this.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Satisfying thriller set in the Balkans in 1940. As Germany menaces the Balkan nations, Italy launches a clumsy, unsuccessful invasion of Greece. Caught up in the turmoil is Costa Zannis, "a senior police official" in Salonika. Tackling special cases, Zannis is slowly drawn into an operation smuggling Jews out of Germany. Step by step, he is recruited by the Brits to help them in their war against the Nazis. Beautifuly imagined and written, this book pulls you into the dark night before war.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    As I work through all of Alan Furst's books in trade paperback, I'm constantly reminded of how meticulous a researcher he is and how skilled he is at weaving the knowledge he's gained about the years leading up to and through World War II into a work of fiction, skill that includes breathing life into a set of heroes, both likely and unlikely.In this book, he set his tale in Greece, a country whose activities during the Second World War are largely unfamiliar to me. As with the other books of his I've read, Furst engages his characters in a series of actions and events that paint a picture of life in Greece as it prepares for the threat of a German/Nazi invasion.Costa Zannis, a Greek police official who works on special cases, uncovers a German spy at the waterfront in Salonika at the start of the book, and over the next year or so, finds himself called up for active service in the Greek army, is injured and returned home, becomes involved in an underground network sneaking Jews out of Germany to Egypt or Turkey, and falls in love, all while planning for the safety of his mother and brother should the Germans invade, his activities taking him to a number of European cities. When I read Furst's books, I feel as if I'm there with the characters, experiencing their world, and this is no exception. The pacing is solid, the actions required of Costa growing in seriousness and urgency until the Germans are at the border and he's faced with the decision of whether or not to leave his homeland. Despite the intrigue and tension, this is at its core, a simple tale well told.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    A suspense book that takes place in Salonika, Greece on the cusp of the Nazi invasion of the Balkans in 1941.Furst is a masterful writer who has created an unforgettable character, Costa Zannis , a police inspector and insider. He is a brave, inventive strong willed and strong armed individual. He is also a talented lover who falls in with English spies and a wealthy jewish heiress in Berlin, setting up an underground escape route for German jews.This is a most satisfying tale, well paced and suspenceful.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Lead up to the German occupation in Salonika telling the story of police detective Zannis and his evolution from cop to spy to resistance leader. Never read anything quite like this. Fast moving, tense, but giving a good feel to pre-war Greece. Looking forward to the next one. Always great discovering a new author.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Greece in the early 1940s kept her wary eye on Hitler's advances through parts of Europe. Mussolini, attempting to replicate Hitler's success, decides to invade Greece, but is repelled by the Greek army. But Salonika waits for the inevitable invasion by Hitler's army and secret service.In these uncertain times, spies with different international concerns blend into Salonika society, some catching the eye of Costa Zannis, a police inspector known for his integrity, and one with a special team, working on cases that may require discretion. As the situation for Jews in Germany worsens, he gets involved in an underground movement to rescue Jews fleeing Germany, developing a system with a Jewish wife of a high ranking German officer, and another police official in Zagreb, and helping them escape to Turkey and Egypt. If that wasn't sufficiently stressful, the British secret service seek his assistance in rescuing a British scientist who managed to get himself shot down over occupied France, and bring him back to England. As the situation in Salonika deteriorates, even his own window of opportunity to get his family and lover to leave for safer shores becomes narrower.This is not merely a good spy thriller, it is also an excellent study in characters who believe in doing what's necessary to save humanity, even if it means putting their own lives at risk.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Good adventure/spy novel. Set in the six-month time period of October 1940 to early April 1941 during World War II. The main character is a Greek detective of police in Salonika, in northern Greece. Most of the action is in Salonika, but the tale also takes the reader to Budapest, Paris, Berlin, Belgrade, and Turkish tramp steamers bound for Alexandria. There are guns, girls, gangsters, Nazi bad guys, and lots of cloak and dagger. It helps that it is pretty well-written. It has its moments of titillating romance along with the usual spy novel action, but on another level it is more generally a depressing reminder of the anxieties and dangers of day-to-day life in a Europe then dominated by Hitlerism. A good read (or unabridged audio book in this case.)
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A good read. Mr Furst does his research his period before writing and it shows. I will not give away the plot but I had a couple of concerns about our heroes fatal attraction to women as it did seem a trifle OTT. As for accuracy the only potential error I could see was a travel time of 2 hours from Le Havere to Paris is given as 2 hours [1917] but I see from my Cook's Continental guide was either 2hrs 40 or 3 hrs 40 in 1934 by a fast boat train. : )