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.
Furst brilliantly recreates the ominous environs, describing Paris, Berlin, and other locales just before the appeasement of Hitler via the Munich Agreement in September 1938 through the outbreak of the war. Between the risks of border-crossing, one character's struggle with the Gestapo, murder, and street disturbances,
Mission to Paris is rife with examples of the strain both ordinary and high-profile people endured. (Reviewed by Karen Rigby).
The Boston Globe
Alan Furst again shows why he is a grandmaster of the historical espionage genre... As summer or subway reading goes, it doesn't get more action-packed and grippingly atmospheric than this.
The New York Times Book Review
This is the romantic Paris to make a tourist weep... 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.
Furst is one of the finest spy novelists working today, and, from boudoir to the beach, Mission to Paris is perfect summer reading.
Starred Review. Through his dozen historical-espionage novels, most set just prior to or during WWII, Furst has taken us across Europe, but he is most at home in Paris, which is why legions of his fans, upon seeing the title of his latest book, will immediately feel their pulses quicken.
Starred Review. 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.
Starred Review. 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.
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 Margot: Sublime!
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Gael Mission to Paris not up to Furst standards This book must be a disappointment for all of the Furst fans out there. Mission to Paris reads like a movie pitch. There is no intellectual quality to any of the characters. He creates atmosphere in some places but most of the book lacks... Read More
Rated of 5
by alexander dribble I have read all of Furst's books and his last 2 have been grand disappointments. This one is boring, superficial, and a waste of time (and $)! I have read elsewhere that Furst writes as if he is trying to attract a movie offer-well he's got a... Read More
Around 250-300 BCE, the capital of what is now known as France (or, more formally, The Republic of France) was established on the River Seine.
It was inhabited by an Iron Age Gallic tribe, the Parisii. In 52 BCE, it became a Roman settlement, known as Lutetia Parisiorum, and by approximately 300 CE was known as civitas Parisiorum, the precursor to the City of Paris.
Comprised of twenty arrondissements (administrative districts) arranged in an outward spiral from the city's center (see map at right), Paris includes two natural islands - Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis, both located on the Seine River.
This "City of Light" boasts a population of over 10.4 million people in the greater metropolitan area (2009), and is renowned for its cuisine, tourism, fashion, culture, and history.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...