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Night Soldiersby Alan Furst
Reading Group Guide
1. How does Alan Furst use the crosscurrents of local jealousies and feuds at the start of Night Soldiers as a means of animating the plot?
2. Discuss Khristos experience at the training school in Moscow. How does it prepare him for a later career in the NKVD?
3. A decade after the action of Night Soldiers ends, what would you expect Khristo, Ilya Goldman, and Faye Berns to be doing?
4. Alan Furst has called Night Soldiers a “panoramic spy novel.” What do you think he means by this description?
5. Examine the character of Robert Eidenbaugh. In what ways does he represent the values of America in the 1940s?
6. Critics praise Fursts ability to re-create the atmosphere of World War II—era Europe. What elements of description make the setting come alive? How can you account for the fact that the settings seem authentic even though you probably have no firsthand knowledge of the times and places he writes about?
7. Fursts novels have been described as “historical novels,” and as “spy novels.” He calls them “historical spy novels.” Some critics have insisted that they are, simply, novels. How does his work compare with other spy novels youve read? What does he do that is the same? Different? If you owned a bookstore, in what section would you display his books?
8. Furst is often praised for his minor characters, which have been described as “sketched out in a few strokes.” Do you have a favorite in this book? Characters in his books often take part in the action for a few pages and then disappear. What do you think becomes of them? How do you know?
9. Consider Fursts use of suspense in Night Soldiers. How does he build suspense? Discuss different methods he uses in the novel.
10. Love affairs are always prominent in Fursts novels, and “love in time of war” is a recurring theme. What role does the love affair play in Night Soldiers?
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