The Spies of Warsaw

The Spies of Warsaw

by Alan Furst
3.6 26

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The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst


An autumn evening in 1937. A German engineer arrives at the Warsaw railway station. Tonight, he will be with his Polish mistress; tomorrow, at a workers’ bar in the city’s factory district, he will meet with the military attaché from the French embassy. Information will be exchanged for money. So begins The Spies of Warsaw, the brilliant new novel by Alan Furst, lauded by The New York Times as “America’s preeminent spy novelist.”

War is coming to Europe. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations.

Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amid an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters–Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence; the mysterious and sophisticated Dr. Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier’s brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed.

The Houston Chronicle has described Furst as “the greatest living writer of espionage fiction.” The Spies of Warsaw is his finest novel to date–the history precise, the writing evocative and powerful, more a novel about spies than a spy novel, exciting, atmospheric, erotic, and impossible to put down.

“As close to heaven as popular fiction can get.”
Los Angeles Times, about The Foreign Correspondent

“What gleams on the surface in Furst’s books is his vivid, precise evocation of mood, time, place, a letter-perfect re-creation of the quotidian details of World War II Europe that wraps around us like the rich fug of a wartime railway station.”

“A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story.”
–Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times, about Dark Star

“Some books you read. Others you live. They seep into your dreams and haunt your waking hours until eventually they seem the stuff of memory and experience. Such are the novels of Alan Furst, who uses the shadowy world of espionage to illuminate history and politics with immediacy.”
–Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588367167
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/03/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 96,097
File size: 1 MB

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.

From the Hardcover edition.


Sag Harbor, New York

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Oberlin College

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Spies of Warsaw 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Furst seems to be getting back to the great game of espionage, leaving the reluctant journalists to their own devices. Will remind most of the Polish Officer, but not as good as Night Soldiers.
ortho More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most well written books in this genre ever. Te depth of character development, the knowledge of the history of the sub-surface political and espionage intrigue is unparalleled. I warn readers to buy the audio books not the down loads from Barnes and Noble because I paid for one download but it was never delivered to my computer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every one of Alan Furst's books concerning the period around WW II but have been very disappointed in the last two - The Foreign Correspondent and The Spies of Warsaw. For me, I most enjoyed the imagery and descriptions that made me feel as if I were in the locale of the story. As someone else wrote, "I could feel and taste the fog."

In each of the last two novels Furst has abandoned the rich, detailed descriptions which made his stories so enthralling. Rather it is as if, he starts a description and then says, "Dear reader, you can fill in the rest, I'm bored with writing this stuff."

The ending of the Spies of Warsaw represents a good example of his unwillingness to put the effort into this story that was routinely put into his earlier work. Overall, the latest story is a B-; the premise had real possibilities but the implementation was not up to the standards longtime readers have come to expect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written with great character and setting development as is usual in one of Alan Furst's novels. I've read them all because they are that good. If there is a complaint it would be that this particular story had only just gotten started by the time it ended. It is terribly short at only 200 pages and not really enough story time left after character and location histories. It seemed he might have rushed to complete this one. Though he is a good writer often with a great theme to work with, I will be more careful not to choose a book with so brief a story.
Mergatroy More than 1 year ago
Put the reader right in the action. One of Furst's best!
xenarox14 More than 1 year ago
Alan Furst is a genius
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
"The Spies of Warsaw" is a fiction recounting the work of European spies in the months leading to WW11. The year is 1937 and Germany is secretly preparing to invade Poland..... The story is of Col. Jean- François Mercier, a French embassy's military attaché in Poland whose job is to handle routine diplomatic work and attend nightly social obligations. His position provides him with the perfect cover to obtain crucial information on Germany`s war plans. Behind the lines he covertly runs a small network of agents specializing in obtaining information on what the German command has planned for its industries. Edvard Uhl, a German Engineer, is Mercier's main contact and one of his most valuable informants. The plot evolves around Mercier and his dealings with both the Russians and the Germans. We have an abundance of low keyed and un-dramatic espionage creating a tone that is rather cold and impersonal. It reads more like a history book or a documentary. The main characters are well represented but the author tends to represent the Nazi and the French military in a keystone cop manner. This is hardly a page turner, the storyline is weak and lacks suspense but does captures the darkness of the time and brings forward some intriguing elements surrounding the exploits behind intelligence gathering. As we may expect with spy novels, there is always a need for a spicy romance, this one leaves no surprises, Mercier is smitten by the mysterious Anna Szarbek, a beautiful French lawyer of Polish parentage with uncertain loyalties and unclear ambitions.... Although this novel is good, it is far from being my favourite of the year
DarkRonin More than 1 year ago
Furst is a master of the atmospheric spy thriller. He spares the reader the minutia and the erudite interjection. If you want a historian’s chronology of Poland ruled by Sanacja, a picture of Poland right before the catastrophe of 1939, reach for a book by Neal Ascherson or Norman Davies. Furst, however, does manipulate the levers of reader’s imagination; paints a few details and leaves a lot covered in sfumato. He has done it again in The Spies of Warsaw, proving that his initial success was not a mere flash of brilliance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alan Furst’s book The Spies of Warsaw described the hard life of Edvard Uhl. Uhl was a working class man who had to turn to espionage to provide for himself and his so-called love, Sczelenska. He was working for the Germans helping manufacture tanks. The espionage group sees this as a source for information. The information that he provided wasn’t helpful in the long run. Mercier, a member of the espionage group is determined to find Hitler’s plans to take over Europe. The story’s pace then speeds up when Mercier decides to find the plans.  Furst does an excellent job developing the wide variety of characters. The characters range from Poland spies, Nazi officers, French producers to Bulgarian fishermen. He did not make the story flow. I jumped from the Bulgarian National Union marching to people ordering oysters in Paris. To understand the book you had to look at the small things that are easy to glance over. The book did however keep you on edge, the next event in the story was a mystery. The characters were very deceiving they seemed to play a very large role in the book but many turned out to be nothing more than filler characters. The book overall was very interesting if you like World War II.
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