Customer Reviews for

Mission to Paris

Average Rating 3.5
( 61 )
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5 Star

(16)

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(18)

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(16)

2 Star

(4)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

If you like real life experience - not James Bond - check it out

Alan Furst is one of the few authors I have found who writes well enough to keep your interest without resorting to central characters with super powers. When a character is severely injured in a motorcycle accident and fully recuperates in a few weeks with no ongoing ...
Alan Furst is one of the few authors I have found who writes well enough to keep your interest without resorting to central characters with super powers. When a character is severely injured in a motorcycle accident and fully recuperates in a few weeks with no ongoing problems, the story loses credibility and I can't relate to the hero/heroine. Alan Furst can keep you coming back without resorting to such techniques. I, for one, would like to see more authors create down-to-earth characters that I can relate to.

posted by DPJ on May 16, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

It's so annoying to see reviews from people who have not even re

It's so annoying to see reviews from people who have not even read the book. I did, so here's my review:
This very short novel does not get off the ground until after page 100. Until that, it is a huge snooze fest. And once it does get off the ground, it hardly keeps on...
It's so annoying to see reviews from people who have not even read the book. I did, so here's my review:
This very short novel does not get off the ground until after page 100. Until that, it is a huge snooze fest. And once it does get off the ground, it hardly keeps one wide awake. I have seen the remark that Furst is the best spy novel writer. Hogwash! This book barely qualifies as a book, and one can skip it and not have their life diminished one iota. Nothing of any real interest happens, and the ending is just dull. I have been reading Philip Kerr's Berlin novels in the same time period, and he writes circles around Furst. Perhaps Kerr could help Furst out on his next novel.

posted by KenCady on July 4, 2012

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    If you like real life experience - not James Bond - check it out

    Alan Furst is one of the few authors I have found who writes well enough to keep your interest without resorting to central characters with super powers. When a character is severely injured in a motorcycle accident and fully recuperates in a few weeks with no ongoing problems, the story loses credibility and I can't relate to the hero/heroine. Alan Furst can keep you coming back without resorting to such techniques. I, for one, would like to see more authors create down-to-earth characters that I can relate to.

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It's so annoying to see reviews from people who have not even re

    It's so annoying to see reviews from people who have not even read the book. I did, so here's my review:
    This very short novel does not get off the ground until after page 100. Until that, it is a huge snooze fest. And once it does get off the ground, it hardly keeps one wide awake. I have seen the remark that Furst is the best spy novel writer. Hogwash! This book barely qualifies as a book, and one can skip it and not have their life diminished one iota. Nothing of any real interest happens, and the ending is just dull. I have been reading Philip Kerr's Berlin novels in the same time period, and he writes circles around Furst. Perhaps Kerr could help Furst out on his next novel.

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2012

    Alan Furst's earlier pre World War II espionage novels evoke ol

    Alan Furst's earlier pre World War II espionage novels evoke old black and white snapshots of a duplicitous Europe just before World War II. Furst is often compared to Le Carre. For me, Furst's ability to create the tone and a mood while providing historical fact outshine La Carre. " Mission to Paris" is Furst's newest novel in this genre, but it is not his best. Like his other books, the hero, an American film star, is a decent man caught up in Nazi intrigue in prewar Paris. Maybe it's the hero, fresh from limited Hollywood success, which makes "Mission to Paris" seem more like a glossy technicolor film than Furst's earlier smokey, mood novels. Frederic Stahl never seems to struggle with good versus evil, a "gentleman's treason". Or it could be too many details about film making in the story, but everything is just too slick, too commerical and even bordering on the mundane in this latest effort. It has been anounced that BBC is making a TV series from one of Furst's earlier books. Maybe the author is understandably intrigued by the process. Whatever the cause, there are still flashes of Furst's earlier craft in writing haunting sentences full of sensory illusions, but most of the novel seems pretty uninspired. Don't get me wrong. Alan Furst is still my favorite living author and while "Mission to Paris" is a good read, it was a disappointment. I can't wait for the 2014 Furst novel to be published.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    I had a difficult time getting through the first hundred pages a

    I had a difficult time getting through the first hundred pages and finally put it down, never to pick it up again. I would think twice about reading another book by this author.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2012

    Alan Furst's novels all effectively convey just how desperate th

    Alan Furst's novels all effectively convey just how desperate things were in continental Europe of 1937-40. Mission to Paris is a switch from the Eastern European characters who know well the likelihood of impending disaster.

    We see Paris through the eyes of Frederich Stahl, an internationally acclaimed Warner Brothers American actor. Stahl, himself an Austrian emigre, is sent there to make a movie. The anemic American preparedness is brought out through the actor's suspicions of just why Jack Warner insisted he go to Paris to make a French movie. Those suspicions are confirmed through Stahl's contacts with an lone American diplomat who asks Stahl to assist him in spying on Nazi infiltration in pre-war France. I knew large numbers of French collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation. The novel brings forth in vivid detail the extent of right wing French sympathy and assistance to Germany that made the defeat of France in 1940 inevitable.

    The principal characters of Furst's novels are all thoroughly decent men caught in desperate circumstances that became routine after World War II began. Unlike many of Furst's other novels, Stahl is an American who can choose to avoid the danger. He also has powerful friends to assist him, which is a refreshing departure from many of the helpless characters of Furst's other novels. I believe this is Alan Furst's best novel. I hope he will continue Mission to Paris' focus on Americans or British who actually have a choice in the pre-World War II events in which they become embroiled.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Disappointing

    The premise is intriguing, but the plot simple lacks any dramatic tension in all aspects: the Nazis make annoying, mildly threatening phone calls, relationships, romantic and otherwise come and go without import or meaning. Then everybody goes back to Hollywood!?

    This is my first and last Furst...

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    The book to me has characters that you end up caring for. For in

    The book to me has characters that you end up caring for. For instance I really liked Stahl and Orlova. To me the ending was very anticlimactic and dull and at no point was my heart racing. I love everything WWII and Europe so I wouldn't call it a total waste of time but a disappointment and definitely not worth 14 bucks.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    Don't Buy...

    This is my first Alan Furst novel, and I can firmly say that it will be my last. As another reviewer commented, I too had a difficult time getting through the first 100 pages. I thought about abandoning the book on several occassions. There really wasn't a climax and the loose ends that you keep hoping will be tied up, never are. Very dissapointing read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    Further Downhill

    Right before this book I got around to reading Alan Fursts' first boo: Night Soldiers. I think it may be his best. His sense of place and richness of characterization reminded me of Greene and Ambler. This book, however, is the opposite in almost every way. This is a book that should not have been published (his novel before this one also weak) and one that suggests the author is far removed now from first rate work.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    I haven't read this book, but it sounds like one I'd like to, an

    I haven't read this book, but it sounds like one I'd like to, and I probably will. It really irritates me that someone who hasn't even read this book will rate it 1 star. I rely on reviews to decide on whether to buy a book and immature reviewers should be censored in some way.

    2 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    boring and predictable

    The story line is slow, boring, and mostly predictable. Characters are shallow. Quite a few historical inaccuracies, even given artistic liberties.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2014

    Quite simply, the most lack luster, uneventful spy novel I've ev

    Quite simply, the most lack luster, uneventful spy novel I've ever read.  Alan Furst may be held in high regard in literary circles, but the storyline never really got off the ground.  Action?  What action?  Furst takes at least 100 pages before anything happens.  I found myself drifting off trying to stay focused on characters who spent most of their time at cocktail parties and coffee shops. Not worth the money or the time invested getting through 224 pages of fluff. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Slightly more enjoyable reading than a travelogue

    Shallow plot, very little action, boring. Not exactly what I was looking for in a spy novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    entertaining read

    like all of Furst's novels, this one gives you an excellent feel for Europe between the wars. While not as fine as a few of his other books, it is certainly worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2012

    Not his best but still worth a read.

    Lots of ties to previous works and his usual brilliant sense of mood make this an enjoyable read. Perhaps a thinner slice of "near history" than earlier novels but, perhaps befitting the Hollywood connection, still quite intertaining if somewhat implausible.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Mission to Paris is an Alan Furst production, which should, by n

    Mission to Paris is an Alan Furst production, which should, by now, tell you everything you need to know about it: interwar European intrigue, a morally compromised milieu, atmospheric settings sketched with the lightest touch, buckets of research made to look effortless. His novels take place in a world in which cocktail parties and dinners happen every night, every man has at least one mistress, and the main characters smoke Gauloises and say smart things and have a je ne sais quoi you might expect from upper-caste Europeans on the eve of World War Two.

    Yes, all that’s here. But as I read more of these, I’ve come to notice something else: not only does Furst get huge mileage out of reusing his research, he’s also reusing his story devices. Let’s go down the checklist for Mission. 

    -- Privileged hero with a complex past, naïve in the ways of espionage: Check. In this case, Frederic Stahl (a Paul Henreid type), a successful Hollywood actor who is also an Austrian émigré.

    -- Small, quick, voracious sex interest for the privileged hero: Check. In this case, with the added bonus of having a burlesque name (Kiki de Saint-Ange). Furst apparently has a thing for petite, small-breasted, oversexed women, because pretty much all his male leads do, too.

    -- Mature love interest for the privileged hero, also with a complex past: Check. Also to type, this character is physically the opposite of the small, quick, voracious sex interest, but the hero finds her equally irresistible. I believe this character is a sop to Mrs. Furst.

    -- Hero’s socially high-flying mentor in the ways of espionage: Check. To Furst’s credit, in Mission this character is only somewhat more wise, rather than being Yoda as usual.

    -- A risky trip into the Heart of Evil: Check. Stahl goes to Berlin, on Kristallnacht, no less.

    -- A desperate train trip through the Balkans: Check. Romanian and Bulgarian trains also consistently suck. The border guards remain flexible in their work practices.

    -- Fleeing (or attempting to flee) to Istanbul on a steamer across the Black Sea: Check. Sometimes (not here) the Aegean stands in for the Black Sea. Extra credit given if the voyage continues to Lisbon (as it does here).

    As you can see, all the essential Furstian elements are here. Is this bad? Not necessarily. A similar list can be ginned up for nearly every genre series, and it usually includes all the things that fans most love about the series. However, like any series, it can leave loyal readers wondering from time to time, “Did I already read this one?” And at a certain level of abstraction, the answer is, of course, yes.

    If you haven’t read Furst before, Mission to Paris (his latest effort) is a fast and pleasant introduction to his world, worthy of four stars. If you have read his previous works, fear not; you’ll find nothing startling or uncomfortable here. You’ll have to decide how you feel about that prospect. I’m ready to see how well Furst can handle something new; pre-WWI Europe, for example, or Cold War Eastern Europe. As a result, I feel just around three stars about Mission, and wish I could remember whether I’ve read it before.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    Enjoyable

    It was slow starting, but a fun read.

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  • Posted February 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    First Class Ticket

    Why, in late 1938, when tens of thousands of people are fleeing from Europe, is Frederic Stahl headed to Paris? For a film star like Stahl, working for Warner Brothers Studios, all it that matters is that Jack Warner wants him in France for a movie. What Jack Warner wants, Jack Warner gets. In the face of threats and bullying from Germany's Hitler, France and all of Europe is in turmoil. Many Parisians think it would be better to just give in and unify under Germany rather than fight another devastating war. Others would rather fight to the death than submit to the atrocities they already see spreading under Hitler's regime. Corruption and outside influence are quickly dividing an already shaky French government. Stahl, born in Austria and educated in Europe before finding his new name in American films, has always had a love for Paris. He looks forward to returning, but while the streets and sites are the same, the people and the political atmosphere have changed. Stahl is quickly swooped up by the provocateurs infesting Paris. He is pressured by German aristocrats and diplomats living in Paris, who see him as a possible sympathizer or perhaps a pawn to be used in this most dangerous game. The French also put pressure on him to join on one side or the other of the chasm dividing Paris. Stahl has to do his best to complete his movie while trying to decide whether to stay neutral like his new homeland America, or take sides, as his once beloved Paris changes around him. This flows like a well made early 1940's espionage film. You can just see picture it on a screen in black and white with a cast of international stars from one of the major film studio's list of contract players. It would be great to film it as an homage to the magnificent movies Hollywood used to make. Book provided for review by Random House Publishing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2013

    World War II is just round the corner and Frederic Stahl a Holly

    World War II is just round the corner and Frederic Stahl a Hollywood star is sent to Paris to make his latest movie. The book follows the day to day life of the star from the start of the movie to the end, shooting in studio and on location. During this period it is made very clear what is coming for everyone in Europe. The author Alan Furst paints a very vivid picture of the pre-war conditions in Europe. This is the main event of this novel as the storyline in its self is not very exciting, but he adds atmosphere that makes this a very fascinating and entertaining read.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    THIS IS NOT HIS BEST WORK BUT STILL ENTERTAINING AND WELL ABOVE

    THIS IS NOT HIS BEST WORK BUT STILL ENTERTAINING AND WELL ABOVE THE RUN OF THE MILL SPY NOVEL.   TRY RED STAR FOR THE BEST HE HAS TO OFFER - WHICH IS TERRIFIC

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