Red Gold

Alan Furst, Author Random House (NY) $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-679-45186-0
From the atmosphere established in his fifth novel's first sentence (""Casson woke in a room in a cheap hotel and smoked his last cigarette"") to the knock on the door at the denouement, Furst again proves himself the master of his chosen terrain--behind the lines of Nazi occupation in France during WWII. His previous novel, The World at Night, opened in May 1940, with French film producer Jean Casson setting out to take newsreels of the defense of France's Maginot line and becoming swamped in the German invasion. It is now September 1941, and Casson, broke and hiding under a false name, is about to commit fully to the Resistance. As a man of indeterminate political affiliation, he's chosen to negotiate between the Resistance and the French Communists, who, with the German army on the verge of taking Moscow, have orders from Stalin to sabotage the Nazis in any way possible. The ""red gold"" SS looters try to steal in Russia is a metaphoric payment in blood, while in Paris informers are everywhere and collaboration is still rampant. Furst's textured plot--exhibiting shifting loyalties and betrayals; lone, often hopeless acts of heroism; and lovers bravely parting--makes for spellbinding drama. (In one scene, a clandestine radio operator broadcasts a few moments too long, and hears soldiers' boots racing up the stairs to get him.) Furst, who deserves the comparisons he's earned to Graham Greene and Eric Ambler, seems to be settling into a franchise here, rather than reaching for the fire he caught in his third novel, The Polish Officer. Casson's story unfolds convincingly, however, and as it continues here to April of 1942, promises a few more episodes to come from this author's tried and true brand of masterfully detailed espionage. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9123-7
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-307-43291-9
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-00-649903-9
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-7089-4253-6
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