Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation," now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.
Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic's beleaguered army--an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism.
Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: there's Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up "fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy." Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.
In Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst paints a spellbinding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare--and the heroes and heroines who fought back against the darkness.

Praise for Alan Furst and  Midnight in Europe
"Furst never stops astounding me." --Tom Hanks
"Furst is the best in the business." --Vince Flynn
"Elegant, gripping . . . [Furst] remains at the top of his game." --The New York Times
"Suspenseful and sophisticated . . . No espionage author, it seems, is better at summoning the shifting moods and emotional atmosphere of Europe before the start of World War II than Alan Furst." --The Wall Street Journal
"Endlessly compelling . . . Furst delivers an observant, sexy, and thrilling tale set in the outskirts of World War II. In Furst's hands, Paris once again comes alive with intrigue." --Erik Larson
"Too much fun to put down . . . [Furst is] a master of the atmospheric thriller." --The Boston Globe
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2014.
ISBN: 9781400069491
Branch Call Number: FICTION FUR
Characteristics: 251 p. : maps ; 25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 27, 2018

I quit after a few chapters. It was taking too long to get into the story and the sex scenes seemed gratuitous to me.

Mar 20, 2018

Furst continues his focus on the lead-up to the Second World War in this book. A Parisian lawyer of Spanish descent becomes engaged in running arms and munitions to the Loyalist in their fight against Franco and his Nazi associates. Franco wins and the lawyer must decide whether to stay in Paris or flee to New York, gambling his life on the chance that Hitler will attack France.

ArapahoeAnnaL Dec 14, 2017

It's the setting and atmosphere that are so compelling in Alan Furst's espionage novels of the years before and during World War II. In this novel there is just enough character and plot to keep you on tender-hooks as Cristian Ferrar and his partners arrange clandestine arms shipments to the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War.

Sep 24, 2017

Europe in 1938: on the verge of World War II. Already the civil war in Spain lurches on as a prelude of the destruction to follow. The Royalists under Franco are lavishly propped up by his fellow fascists, Mussolini and Hitler who is fighting his proxy war in the Iberian peninsula. The Republicans, on the other hand, are short of everything: materiel, weapons, ammunition, infantry. Hopelessly outnumbered, their doom is inevitable.
Europe is about those last spasm of effort that go into the propping up of those Republican forces. The armaments being smuggled out of Russia. The Parisian functionary hard a work in an attempt to smuggle guns into Spain.
The novel is well written but I did find it difficult, at first, to find my bearings in Furst's novel. Persevere.

Jul 07, 2014

An okay read, but better than his last novel MISSION TO PARIS.

Three Stars ***

Jul 05, 2014

Less an espionage thriller and more of a procurement procedural, Furst's latest in the "Night Soldiers" series is downhill even from "Mission to Paris," which I felt was already a marked decline from his earlier novels.

In "Midnight in Europe" we focus on Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish lawyer living in Paris, who becomes involved in an effort to smuggle arms and ammunition to the republicans in his home country. There is very little tension as Ferrar rather openly pursues his aims, announcing his mission to virtually everyone he come into contact with. The only real tension occurs near the end in a marine encounter that feels tacked on.

The novel gets off to a good start with a sort of "cold open" involving a courier named Castillo who is questioned and ultimately executed by sinister Spanish Nationalists. It's only a few pages long, but it's a well-crafted set-piece that nicely introduces the conditions in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. We never experience those (or any) terrifying conditions again.

Furst's novels focus on the Everyman spy - the reluctant do-gooder who is persuaded to take extraordinary risks on matters of principle, justice, and patriotism. This really only works when the protagonist actually has to make sacrifices. Ferrar is barely inconvenienced by his covert work and never directly faces any real danger. He operates from Paris in comparative safety and comfort. He has meetings at night clubs, openly travels throughout Europe, visits his family, has an affair with a Marquesa, conducts business while horseback riding, flies to New York and buys an apartment for his relatives to escape to, and dines at the Brasserie Heininger, the location of Furst's favorite leitmotif - a bullet-hole-ridden mirror above Table #14. All in all, Ferrar seems to be having a pretty swell time while conducting an illegal arms deal more-or-less in his spare time.

With nothing really at stake, it's hard to care whether the arms-running plot succeeds - and even if it does, we all know how the Spanish Civil War plays out. What we really need in these kinds of novels is for the protagonist to undergo some kind of personal transformation or overcome some kind of inner war for which the events unfolding in Europe are merely the backdrop and/or a metaphor. Sadly, Ferrar has no personal arc, struggles with no inner conflict, and experiences no growth. What appears to be a story about a man trying to get a big gun from Russia to Spain turns out to be just a story about getting a big gun from Russia to Spain.

Jun 17, 2014

Pretty typical Alan Furst novel--his formula is pre-WWII Europe, espionage, some sex, and the good guys win the moment. I'm a fan of his work, so I read it. You should have a interest in European history; and know something about the Balkans. A good fairly quick read, he has his base, as I have said, and they will read it. Check out earlier works, to get and idea if you like his stuff.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top