Excerpt from Blood of Victory by Alan Furst, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Blood of Victory

by Alan Furst

Blood of Victory
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2002, 288 pages
    May 2003, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Dinner, in the freighter's wardroom, had gone on forever. The diplomat, Labonniere, a dry man with a fair mustache, labored away in university Russian--the weather, quite changeable in fall. Or the tasty Black Sea carp, often baked, but sometimes broiled. The Bulgarian captain did not make life easy for him. Yes, very tasty.

It had been left to Serebin to converse with Madame. Was this on purpose? He wondered. The wife was amusing, had that particular ability, found in Parisian women, to make table talk out of thin air. Serebin listened, spoke when he had to, picked at a plate of boiled food. Still, what could any of them say? Half of France was occupied by Germany, Poland enslaved, London in flames. So, all that aside, the carp. Madame Labonniere wore a cameo on a velvet ribbon at her throat, from time to time she touched it with her fingers.

On a shelf in the wardroom was a green steel radio with a wire mesh speaker at the center shaped like a daisy. It produced the transmissions of a dozen stations, which wandered on and off the air like restless cats. Sometimes a few minutes of news on Soviet dairy production, now and then a string quartet, from somewhere on the continent. Once a shouting politician, in Serbo-Croatian, who disappeared into crackling static, then a station in Turkey, whining string instruments and a throbbing drum. To Serebin, a pleasant anarchy. Nobody owned the air above the sea. Suddenly, the Turkish music vanished, replaced by an American swing band with a woman singer. For a long moment, nobody at the dinner table spoke, then, ghostlike, it faded away into the night.

"Now where did that come from?" Marie-Galante said to Serebin.

He had no idea.

"London? Is it possible?"

"A mystery," Serebin said.

"In Odessa, one never hears such things."

"In Odessa, one plays records. Do you live there?"

"For the moment, at the French consulate. And you, monsieur? Where do you live?"

"In Paris, since '38."

"Quelle chance." What luck. For him? Them? "And before that?"

"I am Russian by birth. From Odessa, as it happens."

"Really!" She was delighted. "Then you must know its secrets."

"A few, maybe. Nobody knows them all."

She laughed, in a way that meant she liked him. "Now tell me," she said, leaning forward, confidential. "Do you find your present hosts, congenial?"

What was this? Serebin shrugged. "An occupied city." He left the rest to her.

7:20. Serebin lay on his back, Marie-Galante dozed beside him. The world winked at the cinq-a-sept amour, the twilight love affair, but there was another five-to-seven, the ante meridiem version, which Serebin found equally to his taste. In this life, he thought, there is only one thing worth waking up for in the morning, and it isn't getting out of bed and facing the world.

From Marie-Galante a sigh, then a stretch. Fragrant as melon, warm as toast. She rolled over, slid a leg across his waist, then sat up, shook her hair back, and wriggled to get comfortable. For a time she gazed down at him, put a hand under his chin, tilted his head one way, then the other. "You are quite pretty, you know."

He laughed, made a face.

"No, it's true. What are you?"

"Mixed breed."

"Oh? Spaniel and hound, perhaps. Is that it?"

"Half Russian aristocrat, half Bolshevik Jew. A dog of our times, apparently. And you?"

"Burgundian, mon ours, dark and passionate. We love money and cook everything in butter." She leaned down and kissed him softly on the forehead, then got out of bed. "And go home in the morning."

She gathered up her coat, put it on, held the front closed. "Are you staying in the city?"

"A week. Maybe ten days. At the Beyoglu, on Istiklal Caddesi."

She rested her hand on the doorknob. "Au revoir, then," she said. Said it beautifully, sweet, and a little melancholy.

Excerpted from Blood of Victory by Alan Furst. Copyright 2002 by Alan Furst. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.