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Red Gold: A Novelby Alan Furst
Synopses & Reviews
Paris. 18 September, 1941.
Casson woke in a room in a cheap hotel and smoked his last cigarette. The window by the bed was open and the shade, yellow and faded, bumped gently against the sill in the morning breeze. When it moved he could see fierce blue sky, a bar of sunlight on the lead sheeting of the roof across the courtyard. Something in the air, he thought, a ghost of something, and the sky was lit a certain way. So then, autumn.
A knock at the door; a woman came in and sat on the edge of the bed. She had a room down the hall and came to see him sometimes. He offered her the cigarette, she inhaled and gave it back. "Thank you," she said. She stood up, pulled her slip over her head and hung it on a nail in the wall, then climbed in next to him. "Tell me," she said, "what is it you see out there?"
"Sky. Nothing much."
She pulled the blanket up so it covered their shoulders. "You live in a dream," she said.
"You think it's wrong?"
He felt her shrug. "I don't know--why bother?"
She settled next to him, so the tips of her breasts brushed the skin of his back, ran a finger down the line of hair from his chest to his stomach, and slid her hand between his legs. He stubbed the cigarette out carefully in a saucer he kept on the windowsill, then closed his eyes. For a time he stayed like that, adrift.
"Well," he said, "maybe you're right."
He turned to face her, she rested a knee on his hip, opening her legs. After a moment she said, "Your hands are always warm."
"Warm hands, cold heart."
She laughed, then kissed him. "Not you," she said. He could smell wine on her breath.
His mind wandered. It was very quiet, all he could hear was her breathing, long and slow, and the yellow shade, bumping against the sill in the morning air.
Place Clichy. He sat at an outside table at a caféeacute; and sipped the roast barley infusion the waiter brought him. Coffee, he thought, remembering it. Very expensive now, he didn't have the money. He stared out at the square, Clichy a little lost in the daylight, the cheap hotels and dance halls gray and crooked in the morning sun, but Casson didn't mind. He liked it--in the same way he liked deserted movie sets and winter beaches.
On the chair next to him somebody had left a damp copy of yesterday's Le Soir. He spread it out on the table.
. . . the low hills of Lokhvitsa, brooding at nightfall, the steep banks of the river Dnieper, the grumble of distant cannonade. Suddenly, white Very lights fired from flare pistols, sputtering as they float to earth. A signal Guderian's Third Panzer has linked up with Kleist's Sixteenth Panzer The Kiev pocket has snapped shut like a trap: 300,000 Russian casualties, 600,000 taken prisoner, five Soviet armies obliterated. Now, Kiev must fall within hours. Victorious Wehrmacht columns burst into song as they prepare to march into the defeated city.
Casson shook his head--who writes this shit? His eyes wandered to the top of the column. Oh, from their foreign correspondent, Georges Broux. Well, that explained it. Once upon a time, when he'd been Jean Casson, producer of gangster films, with an office near the Champs-Elyséeacute;es, Georges Broux had sent him a screenplay. Morning Must Come, something like that. Maybe it was Dawn that had to come, or A N
Autumn 1941: In a shabby hotel off the place Clichy, the course of the war is about to change. German tanks are rolling toward Moscow. Stalin has issued a decree: All partisan operatives are to strike behind enemy lines from Kiev to Brittany. Set in the back streets of Paris and deep in occupied France, Red Gold moves with quiet menace as predators from the dark edge of war arms dealers, lawyers, spies, and assassins emerge from the shadows of the Parisian underworld. In their midst is Jean Casson, once a well-to-do film producer, now a target of the Gestapo living on a few francs a day. As the occupation tightens, Casson is drawn into an ill-fated mission: running guns to combat units of the French Communist Party. Reprisals are brutal. At last the real resistance has begun. Red Gold masterfully re-creates the shadow world of French resistance in the darkest days of World War II.
In the sequel to The World at Night, Jean Casson, an anti-hero sought by the Gestapo, becomes involved in an ill-fated 1941 plot to smuggle arms to the Communist Resistance, in a tale of espionage and intrigue set against the backdrop of occupied France. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
Film producer Jean Casson, has been reluctantly drawn into the dark world of espionage — until he is discovered and forced to flee France. He returns to Paris under a new identity, knowing that for him nothing will ever be the same. As a fugitive from the Gestapo, he must struggle to survive in the shadows — among the pimps and whores, anarchists and theives.
About the Author
Often compared to Graham Greene and Eric Ambler, Alan Furst is a master of the spy thriller and one of the great war novelists of our time. He is the author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, and The World at Night. He lives in Sag Harbor, New York.
From the Hardcover edition.
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