Summary and book reviews of Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst

Kingdom of Shadows

by Alan Furst

Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst X
Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2001, 239 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2001, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

In spymaster Alan Furst's most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in eastern Europe.

In spymaster Alan Furst's most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath — a hugely charismatic hero — becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in eastern Europe.

On the tenth of March 1938, the night train from Budapest pulled into the Gare du Nord a little after four in the morning. There were storms in the Ruhr Valley and down through Picardy and the sides of the wagon-lits glistened with rain. In the station at Vienna, a brick had been thrown at the window of a first-class compartment, leaving a frosted star in the glass. And later that day there'd been difficulties at the frontiers for some of the passengers, so in the end the train was late getting into Paris.

Nicholas Morath, traveling on a Hungarian diplomatic passport, hurried down the platform and headed for the taxi rank outside the station. The first driver in line watched him for a moment, then briskly folded his Paris-Midi and sat up straight behind the wheel. Morath tossed his bag on the floor in the back and climbed in after it. "L'avenue Bourdonnais," he said. "Number eight."

Foreign, the driver thought. Aristocrat. He started his cab and sped along the quai toward...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Reading Guide

Alan Furst describes the area of his interest as "near history." His novels are set between 1933–the date of Adolf Hitler's ascent, with the first Stalinist purges in Moscow coming a year later–and 1945, which saw the end of the war in Europe. The history of this period is well documented. Furst uses books by journalists of the time, personal memoirs–some privately published–autobiographies (many of the prominent individuals of the period wrote them), war and political histories, and characteristic novels written during those years.

"But," he says, "there is a lot more"–for example, period newsreels, magazines, and newspapers, as well as films and music, especially swing and jazz...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

Media Reviews

New York Times
Astonishingly, Alan Furst is not yet a household name. But perhaps the sixth of his supple, elegant European spy novels will do the trick, what with its beguiling sophistication, knowing political overview and utterly assured narrative tone. Mr. Furst is not one of those spy writers who have to strain, name-drop or cook up mind-boggling feats to assure the reader that his hero is an interesting man.

New York Times Book Review
Furst's latest and most impressive novel, Kingdom of Shadows, offers several forays across the political quicksands of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and France just before the Second World War. This densely atmospheric thriller begins in the gilded world of the Parisian haute bourgeoisie, where men look through sheer curtains at the ''ecstatic gray light of a rainy Parisian morning,'' drink from bottles of 1922 Echézeaux and employ the services of courtesans with names like Mimi Moux... Kingdom of Shadows is undeniably intelligent and harrowing.

Boston Globe
Furst's most richly textured and, arguably, finest espionage novel.

Publisher's Weekly
The desperation of stateless people trying to escape the Nazi redrawing of the European map in the late 1930s pervades Furst's marvelous sixth espionage thriller. This is Furst's best book since The Polish Officer, and in it he proves himself once again a master of literary espionage.

Library Journal
Furst has earned deserved acclaim for his lapidary espionage novels (The World at Night, Red Gold), set just before World War II. An exceptional piece of writing, with engaging characters and moments of sharp, unexpected violence, this is recommended for all public libraries.

Reader Reviews

clara gyorgyey

penomenally well researched writing; some of the spelling of Hungarian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian names are silly but it does not deduct from the ovelall impact. the locales are richly detailed, the timing: perfect.

CONGRATULATIONS

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Alan Furst

If you liked Kingdom of Shadows, try these:

  • When the Doves Disappeared jacket

    When the Doves Disappeared

    by Sofi Oksanen

    Published 2016

    About this book

    From the acclaimed author of Purge ("a stirring and humane work of art" —The New Republic) comes a riveting, chillingly relevant new novel of occupation, resistance, and collaboration in Eastern Europe.

  • A Spy Among Friends jacket

    A Spy Among Friends

    by Ben Macintyre

    Published 2015

    About this book

    More by this author

    Master storyteller Ben Macintyre's most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century's greatest spy story.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...
  • Book Jacket: The Man Who Hated Women
    The Man Who Hated Women
    by Amy Sohn
    If debates over women's reproductive health seem stuck in an earlier era — the fact that birth...
  • Book Jacket: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    by Honorée Fannone Jeffers
    Honorée Fannone Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois explores the Black experience in ...
  • Book Jacket: Beautiful World, Where Are You
    Beautiful World, Where Are You
    by Sally Rooney
    Beautiful World, Where Are You centers around four key characters, the most prominent of which are ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Migrations
by Charlotte McConaghy
A breathtaking page-turner and an ode to our threatened world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Million Things
    by Emily Spurr

    "An impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel."
    —Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Notebook of Edouard Manet
    by Maureen Gibbon

    A sensual portrait of Manet's last years, and a vibrant testament of the artistic spirit.

Win This Book!
Win A Most Clever Girl

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A thrilling novel of love and espionage, based on the incredible true story of a Cold War double agent.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Run T G

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.