2014: 42. Kingdom of Shadows

"On the tenth of March 1938, the night train from Budapest pulled into the Gare du Nord a little after four in the morning."

Kingdom of Shadows, Alan Furst

Well, Misha got me hooked.  I went to the library and got another Alan Furst on my very own to read.  They hit that sweet spot of well written genre fiction - smart and interesting, but fast paced enough that you can race through it in a day or two (well, I read fast. Maybe a week or so).  Once I  embraced that these were all going to end generally well for our protagonist, after some tight squeezes and personal losses, I have had a ton of fun.*

This one is about a Hungarian in exile in Paris.  His uncle, a count, gets him embroiled in a number of spy missions (some maybe not so pure - his uncle is for Hungary, not for good, per se), and he gets involved in a few of his own (trying to help a Jewish friend get out of Vienna).  It's a little bit of a shaggy dog story - the way it just goes and goes and then stops makes me wonder if there is a sequel out there.  But it's great fun to read about these cool men who can get out of a spy jam and save the day - like James Bond but without the over the top gadgets.

*Which is to say, at first I quibbled at the notion that all these people were on the side of good, and out to help the Jews and realized Nazisim for what it is.  But then I realized, no, that's why he writes the books - a fantasy of our better selves during the war, and now I groove on it.  Other people in the books are self-interested, or Anti-Semites, or whatever, but our guy (and its always a guy with a world weary but bangin' girl friend) is one of the righteous.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017