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Mission to Paris

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“A master spy novelist.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Page after page is dazzling.”—James Patterson
Late summer, 1938. Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France, and for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy. Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters: foreign assassins; a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy; and the women in Stahl’s life. At the center of the novel is the city of Paris—its bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last. Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe.
Praise for Mission to Paris
“The most talented espionage novelist of our generation.”—Vince Flynn
“Vividly re-creates the excitement and growing gloom of the City of Light in 1938–39 . . . It doesn’t get more action-packed and grippingly atmospheric than this.”—The Boston Globe

“One of [Furst’s] best . . . This is the romantic Paris to make a tourist weep. . . . In Furst’s densely populated books, hundreds of minor characters—clerks, chauffeurs, soldiers, whores—all whirl around his heroes in perfect focus for a page or two, then dot by dot, face by face, they vanish, leaving a heartbreaking sense of the vast Homeric epic that was World War II and the smallness of almost every life that was caught up in it.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A book no reader will put down until the final page . . . Critics compare [Alan] Furst to Graham Greene and John le Carré [as] a master of historical espionage.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Alan Furst’s writing reminds me of a swim in perfect water on a perfect day, fluid and exquisite. One wants the feeling to go on forever, the book to never end. . . . Furst is one of the finest spy novelists working today.”—Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 30, 2012 – Alan Furst’s writing reminds me of a swim in perfect water on a perfect day, fluid and exquisite. One wants the feeling to go on forever, the book to never end. Such is it with this historical spy novel. From September 1938 to January 1939, the reader vividly lives through Paris’s last stormy breaths of freedom before Germany’s attack in 1940. Our unlikely hero is Frederick Stahl, 40, a handsome American movie star, not an action figure but everyone’s favorite silver screen doctor or uncle or romantic leading man. Warner Bros. loans Stahl out to make a picture in Paris. He likes Paris, and he likes keeping Jack Warner happy. But there’s a little known fact in his past that the Nazis can make much of—born in Vienna, Stahl worked as a gopher for the Austrian legation in Barcelona at the end of WWI, and Austria had been an ally of Germany. So when officials in Germany’s political warfare department discover Stahl will be in their sphere of influence, they alert their Paris section to put him on “the list” to be used. From movie studios to embassies, from parties with the untouchably wealthy to a sexy love affair with a sophisticated émigré living in a tenement, Stahl finds himself caught between those who believe France must rearm to fight Germany, and those who are desperate for a negotiated peace. When Stahl refuses to support “peace,” the Nazi threats begin. To retaliate, he becomes a secret U.S. courier, bravely carrying hundreds of thousands of Swiss francs into Germany and Morocco to exchange for intelligence about the Nazis. Reading Furst is the next best thing to having been in Berlin: “Uniforms everywhere.... This country was already at war, though enemy forces had yet to appear, and Stahl could sense an almost palpable violence that hung above the city like a mist.” Like Graham Greene, Furst creates believable characters caught up, with varying degrees of willingness, in the parade of political life. And because they care, the reader does, too. And like Lee Child, Furst captures personality with insightful brush strokes: Stahl’s father had “a face like an angry prune.” Long on an ability to translate good research into great reading, Furst has only two downsides: although threats escalate, little comes of them, and when Stahl takes risks, they tend to deflate. For example, Stahl insists he’s honor-bound to pursue the Nazis who’ve stolen the film crew’s cameras, but he ends up waiting in a rowboat with a gun while others do the dangerous work offstage. And when the woman he loves is held in Budapest for interrogation, Stahl’s solution is to use his box-office status to get her a visa at the U.S. embassy, then phones the William Morris Agency in hopes his agent can come up with an exit strategy. Still, my complaints are minor compared to the breadth and realized ambition of this seductive novel. Furst is one of the finest spy novelists working today, and, from boudoir to the beach, Mission to Paris is perfect summer reading. .

Customer Reviews

Mission to Paris

Alan Furst's latest is nowhere near as good as his previous work. He consistently tells us rather than shows us, his characters are one-dimensional, and the plot simple. Mission to Paris reads like a novel written for Americans by a European who grossly underestimates the intelligence if his audience. A disappointment.

An obvious tale

Furst is usually better than this. The plot has almost no tension. The dialogue is trite and the ending has no real catharsis.

Mission to Paris

I read a review somewhere that compared this guy to LeCarre. So I bought the book. Big mistake. In what LeCarre novel would he feel the need translate "Chef de Cabinet", "Après la Guerre" or find it necessary to explain to his readers that falafel ("Stahl's favorite") is "...mashed chickpeas fried up in little pancakes."? sheesh. Not good writing pitched at a low brow audience with middle brow aspiration.

Mission to Paris
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Jun 12, 2012
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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