This novel was quite a revelation with its focus resting on events between the two great wars. As the storm clouds of World War II are looming we are there via Alan Furst’s pen, experiencing the noir-like, uneasy last hurrah of a free Paris (including a brief dalliance with the film world); to soon fall under the grip of the jackbooted Nazi hordes. In the meantime anxiety builds as loyalties are split. The Communists metastasize their subversive ways in their quest for power as the sinister forces of the Fascists grow, exploiting every weakness, sometimes violently.
Furst is masterful in capturing this much neglected period prior to Hitler’s onslaught, and as such is nuanced and patient as he builds inexorably to a compelling climax at the end of the narrative. I especially enjoyed the scenes recalling Franco’s Spanish Civil War. Such a superbly rendered historical fiction work is “The Foreign Correspondent” that this reader almost felt as though he was there; a witness to history careening toward a brutal cataclysm, yet it was a tale told in very personal terms from the perspective of our leading man…the foreign correspondent.
I hope to be reading many more works by this gifted author, Mr. Alan Furst.