Night Soldiers

Written by Alan Furst
Review by John R. Vallely

Alan Furst’s body of work remains totally focused on Europe between 1933 and 1945. Khristo Stoianev, a Bulgarian peasant, is introduced into the brutality of this time period as a shocked witness to his brother’s murder by a fascist gang. Recruited into Soviet intelligence, the more worldly and sophisticated Stoianev ultimately learns that communist terror is every bit as destructive of body and spirit as that of the fascist enemy. From service in the Spanish Civil War, to duty with the French Resistance during World War II, to his final experiences on behalf of the American OSS in the war’s final days, the reader is plunged into the dark and unforgiving world of covert operations. Furst’s detailed knowledge of the 1930s and 1940s is nicely balanced by his insights into the shadowy mindset of NKVD agents. A beautifully crafted novel in every respect.