Night Soldiers

Night Soldiers Book Cover Night Soldiers
Alan Furst
Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Suspense fiction. Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin's purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934-45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944.

Another book by Alan Furst that I have greatly enjoyed. This is the originating book for the series focusing on the lead up to and during the second World War. It is about the minutiae of espionage and it seems to me to be the most authentic of all books on the subject (at least fictional). The scope is enormous and the ideas resonate for me.

  • How war and conflicts of ideology can corrupt good people.
  • Understanding your place in the world as an adolescent.
  • How loyalty can overcome brainwashing.
  • Mobilising the disaffected to a cause.

I felt for a young man trying to make sense of a world that was mad. Then doing what needed to be done to survive it… as one would. I read this book after reading almost every other book in the series. In some ways I am glad I did because the scope of the book needs some context to ground your understanding of what is happening.

As a first major writing effort, it has to be one of the best.