Synopses & Reviews
As Europe edges toward war, Nicholas Morath, an urbane former cavalry officer, spends his days working at the small advertising agency he owns and his nights in the bohemian circles of his Argentine mistress. But Morath has been recuited by his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat in the Hungarian legation, for operations against Hitler's Germany. It is Morath who does Polanyi's clandestine work, moving between the beach cafes of Juan-les-Pins and the forests of Ruthenia, from Czech fortresses in the Sudetenland to the private gardens of the declasse royalty in Budapest. The web Polyani spins for Morath is deep and complex and pits him against German intelligence officers, NKVD renegades, and Croat assassins in a shadow war of treachery and uncertain loyalties, a war that Hungary cannot afford to lose.
Alan Furst is frequently compared with Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carre, but Kingdom of Shadows is distinctive and entirely original. It is Furst at his very best.
"Fursts writing has the seductive shimmer of an urbane black-and-white Hollywood classic." The New York Times
"Furst writes about the years from 1938 to 1941 as if they were recurring characters, and over the course of five books, he has laid permanent claim to that period as his own....What Furst does so convincingly beyond the razor-sharp evocation of period and place is capture the moral ambiguity at the heart of the lapsed cynics who are his heroes." Booklist
"Kingdom of Shadows is a masterpiece. Furst is here writing at the height of his powers, confident of his style, tone, and content." The Irish Times
"A great entertainer, Furst would probably be considered our finest practicing historical novelist if he weren't writing espionage novels. He's as good a historian as a novelist can afford to be....Driven by the missions and schemes of one central character more than by the events and institutions that dominate most espionage novels, Furst's books are full of shards of information, anecdotes, heartbreaking stories." Salon.com
"The sixth of Furst's wartime espionage novels is one of his best, offering a compelling mix of character study and historical fiction." The New Yorker
"[Kingdom of Shadows] is more than just a cloak-and-dagger thrill ride; it is a time machine, transporting readers directly into the dread period just before Europe plunged into its great Wagnerian gotterdammerung. This is Furst's best book since The Polish Officer, and in it he proves himself once again a master of literary espionage." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Imagine discovering an unscreened espionage thriller from the late 1930s, a classic black-and-white movie that captures the murky allegiances and moral ambiguity of Europe on the brink of war....Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years." Walter Shapiro, Time
In spymaster Alan Furst's most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath—a hugely charismatic hero—becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in eastern Europe.
From the Hardcover edition.
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 on Long Island, New York.