The Foreign Correspondent

Written by Alan Furst
Review by Mark F. Johnson


Carlo Weisz is an Italian émigré living in Paris and working for Reuters, covering the Spanish Civil War during the winter of 1938-39. He is also a contributor and soon to be reluctant editor of the clandestine antifascist newspaper, Liberazione. He abhors the fascist government of Mussolini and fights back the only way he knows. His “promotion” to editor comes at the expense of his predecessor’s life, courtesy of the Italian secret police, known as the OVRA. And now Carlo himself is in their crosshairs.

At the behest of his Reuters boss, Carlo travels to Berlin to witness the signing of the “Pact of Steel” treaty between Italy and Nazi Germany. While in Berlin, Carlo discovers his mistress, Christa, the wife of a ranking German officer, is deeply involved with the anti-Nazi underground. She seeks his help in smuggling some hard-earned information out of Germany, and now Carlo is really in it up to his neck. In desperation he agrees to a deal with British agents that will send him back to Italy, where he is a very wanted man.

Furst has crafted yet another perfect piece for his jigsaw-puzzle view of the opening stages of World War II. Each piece is excellent by itself, but when viewed as a completed puzzle, the image is a panoramic view of the war as it developed in Europe. Each book neatly meshes with one or two others. His secondary characters appear in multiple books, tying them together in parallel rather than in series. As such, you can start anywhere and still end up in the same place. No one does this better than Alan Furst.