Saturday, June 2, 2012

Alan Furst's Mission to Paris

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

Late in 1938, Frederich Stahl, an Austrian born Hollywood star is sent to Paris to work on the film "Apres le Guerre" or "After the War".  Stahl is swapped by his studio, Warner Brothers, to work on a Paramount film.  Stahl is a gentle heartthrob with strong, masculine looks and perfect manners his specialty is playing "a warm man in a cold world".   It is unfortunate that his arrival in Paris comes just as the German war machine has started to flex its muscles, gathering allies in France and the neighboring countries. 

Authorities in Berlin hatch a plot to reach out to Frederich Stahl to have him ally himself with the German backed position of pacifism.  The Germans, whether Nazi sympathizers and their henchmen or wealthy socialites, are more caricatures than characters, particularly as they attempt to force Stahl to their side.  We find that while Stahl is Austrian, he does not harbor any sympathy for the Nazi Party or their beliefs and we find ourselves sympathizing with him as he tries to extricate himself from the reach of Germany's reach.

Aside from the caricaturization of the German characters, Mission to Paris is a beautifully written thriller.   Alan Furst takes us to Paris in the 1930s with its decadence, drama, complexity and the undertones of fear and compromise that mark the years before the Nazi invasion. 

ISBN-10: 1400069483 - Hardcover $27
Publisher: Random House (June 12, 2012), 272 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Program.

About the Author:
Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into seventeen languages, he is the bestselling author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, and The Foreign Correspondent Born in New York, he now lives in Paris and on Long Island.

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