Excerpt from Mission to Paris by Alan Furst, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Mission to Paris

A Novel

By Alan Furst

Mission to Paris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jun 2012,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2013,
    272 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Oh yes! The shouts were in Bulgarian but there was no question of what they meant. "Will it have her?" Herbert said.

"I should think so," Lothar said. "Otherwise people will throw things."

The one-eyed monster brought fresh mastika, the shouts grew louder, the accordion played on. At last, the horse found its courage and, having galloped around the girl a few times, stood in back of her on its hind legs with its hooves on her shoulders. The girl never missed a beat but then, when the horse covered her breasts with its hooves, and to the absolute delight of the audience, she blushed, her face turning pink, her eyes closing. As the horse began to move in a rhythmic manner familiar to all.

A little after ten o'clock, a white-haired man with a skull for a face entered the nightclub and peered around the room. When Herbert beckoned to him he approached the table and stood there a moment while the attentive one-eyed monster brought a chair and an extra glass. "You would be Aleksey?" Herbert said. "The Russian?"

"That's right." German was the second language of eastern Europe and Aleksey seemed comfortable speaking it.

"General Aleksey?"

"So I'm called - there are many other Alekseys. How did you recognize me?"

"My associate in Belgrade sent me a photograph."

"I don't remember him taking a photograph."

Herbert's shrug was eloquent, they did what they wanted to do.

"In security work," he said, "it's important to take precautions."

"Yes, of course it is," Aleksey said, letting them know he wasn't intimidated.

"Your contract with us calls for payment in Swiss francs, once you've done your job, is that right?"

"Yes. Two thousand Swiss francs."

"If I may ask," Herbert said, "of what army a general?"

"The Russian army, the Czar's army. Not the Bolsheviks."

"So, after 1917, you emigrated to Belgrade."

" 'Emigrated' is barely the word. But, yes, I went to Belgrade, to the émigré community there. Fellow Slavs, the Serbians, all that."

"Do you have with you... what you'll need?"

"Yes. Small but dependable."

"With silencer?"

"As you ordered."

"Good. My colleague and I are going out for a while, when we return it will be time for you to do your work. You've done it before, we're told."

"I've done many things, as I don't care to sweep floors, and Belgrade has more than enough émigré taxi drivers." He paused a moment, then said, "So..."

From Herbert, a nod of approval. To the question he'd asked, an oblique answer was apparently the preferred answer. As General Aleksey poured himself some mastika, Herbert met Lothar's eyes and gestured toward the door. To Aleksey he said, "We have an errand to run, when we return we'll tell you where to go. Meanwhile, the floor show should start up again any time now, you may find it amusing."

"How long will you be gone?"

"Not too long," Herbert said, rising to leave.

Prideaux had packed in a hurry, forgetting his pajama bottoms, and now wore the top and his underdrawers. Alone in a foreign city, he was terribly bored, by ten in the evening had read, for the third time, his last French newspaper. He was also hungry - the desk clerk had brought him a plate of something that couldn't be eaten - so smoked the last of his Gitanes followed by the fi rst of a packet he'd bought at the Varna railway station. Surely he couldn't go anywhere; a nighttime tour of the Varna waterfront with a million francs in a valise was an invitation to disaster. Stretching out on the bed, he stared at the ceiling, tried not to recall his former life, and fantasized about his new one. Rich and mysterious, he drew the attention of women...

A reverie interrupted by two hesitant taps on the door. Now what? Somebody from the hotel; if he remained quiet, perhaps they would go away. They didn't. Thirty seconds later, more taps. He rose from the bed and considered putting on his trousers but thought, who cares what servants see? and stayed as he was. Standing at the door, he said,

Excerpted from Mission to Paris by Alan Furst. Copyright © 2012 by Alan Furst. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Parisian Highlights

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  88Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.