Set in the underworld of Paris in 1941. Reluctant spy Jean Casson returns to occupied Paris under a new identity. He is wanted by the Gestapo therefore must stay away from the civilised circles he knew as a film producer and learn to survive in the shadowy backstreets and cheap hotels of Pigalle. Yet as the war drags on, he finds himself drawn back into the dangerous world of resistance and sabotage.
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If you enjoy mysteries set against the rich background of World War II Europe (Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy and the fine French series by J. Robert Janes are prime examples), you should also know about Alan Furst. He began by writing such excellent, original books as Dark Star and Night Soldiers, all set in Eastern Europe. The locale then moved to Paris for The World at Night, where we first met the enigmatic film producer and reluctant Resistance hero Jean Casson.
Casson returns in fascinating form in Red Gold, washing up broke and depressed in his home city, now totally ground down by its German occupiers. Recruited by a sympathetic cop, Casson joins a group of officers working undercover inside the Vichy government to help de Gaulle. Casson's job is to convince justifiably skeptical French communists to cooperate; to do so he must organize a complicated, extremely dangerous transfer of weapons. There's nothing glamorous about the work or its result, but Furst is such a persuasive writer that we come to realize what a success it is for Casson just to stay alive. This innovative and gripping novel eloquently transports us back to a different era and a different world. --Dick AdlerFrom the Publisher:
Advance Praise for Alan Furst's RED GOLD
"Furst has established himself as a modern master of WWII espionage: not since the doors were still open at Rick's Cafe American has the pungent smoke from Gauloise cigarettes filled a room with such a heady mix of trench-coated intrigue and romance by searchlight... What makes Casson so appealing, and this novel so entertaining, is the way Furst refuses to let his hero off the hook... What more could you ask of World War II espionage: all the romance, all the drama, but none of the mushy idealism as Casson, unlike Bogie, would get on the plane with Ingrid Bergman."
-- Booklist (starred)
"From the atmosphere established in the first sentence 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 World War II... Furst, who deserves the comparisons he's earned to Graham Greene and Eric Ambler, seems to be settling into a franchise."
-- Publisher's Weekly (starred)
"Masterful, richly atmospheric... Witty, inventive, distinctively French film-noir espionage, told with the terse brutality and jaundiced romanticism of Chandler and Hammet at their peak."
-- Kirkus Review (starred)
"Gripping... I got hooked on espionage novels after reading Eric Ambler's entertaining thrillers set in the years between the wars. Furst has been described as another Ambler, and deservedly so. RED GOLD transports the reader back to a crowded Paris, darkened by the menacing ambience of World War II."
-- USA Today
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Book Description Random House, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 000225543X