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Alan Furst is an American author that coined the term ‘historical espionage’. He writes novels about ordinary people living through difficult times in historical European settings. Furst was born in 1941 in New York City.
Order of Night Soldiers Series
|1||Night Soldiers||1988||Description / Buy|
|2||Dark Star||1991||Description / Buy|
|3||The Polish Officer||1995||Description / Buy|
|4||The World at Night||1996||Description / Buy|
|5||Red Gold||1999||Description / Buy|
|6||Kingdom of Shadows||2000||Description / Buy|
|7||Blood of Victory||2002||Description / Buy|
|8||Dark Voyage||2004||Description / Buy|
|9||The Foreign Correspondent||2006||Description / Buy|
|10||The Spies of Warsaw||2008||Description / Buy|
|11||Spies of the Balkans||2010||Description / Buy|
|12||Mission to Paris||2012||Description / Buy|
|13||Midnight in Europe||2014||Description / Buy|
|14||A Hero of France||2016||Description / Buy|
|15||Under Occupation||2019||Description / Buy|
Order of Roger Levin Series
|1||Your Day in the Barrel||1976||Description / Buy|
|2||The Paris Drop||1980||Description / Buy|
|3||The Caribbean Account||1981||Description / Buy|
Order of T.J & Blake Series
|1||The Big Tip||2014||Description / Buy|
|2||Kofi's Plot (Short Story)||2019||Description / Buy|
Order of Alan Furst Standalone Novels
|1||Shadow Trade||1984||Description / Buy|
Order of Alan Furst Childrens Books
|1||Give Peas a Chance (Short Story)||2014||Description / Buy|
Alan Furst Anthologies
|1||The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage||2003||Description / Buy|
His parents were older and he was an only child. As such, growing up in the Upper West Side, he spent a lot of time exploring Manhattan, either alone or with friends. He grew to love the city and its people. A former student at Horace Mann School, Furst also attended Oberlin College.
He believes that every writer should study anthropology. But Furst discovered it too late. By then, he had already majored in English, eventually graduating with a BA in 1962. His interest in anthropology led to an encounter with Margaret Mead who became his employer.
Besides the MA he got from Penn State University, Furst also pursued and failed to finish his Ph.D. The author tried his hand at a number of odd jobs after university. On top of writing copy for ad agencies, he drove a cab and picked fruit in the years he spent trying to identify his purpose as an artist.
Furst married his wife in 1969. It was around this same period that he secured a Fullbright teaching fellowship. He lived in France for a time before moving to Seattle. His work appeared in publications like Esquire where his readers took note of his interest in Eastern European locations.
One of his most significant undertakings was an Eastern European travel piece he proposed to Esquire. The article was important because Esquire was initially reluctant to support it; at the time, the Cold War was at its height. But they eventually greenlit the project.
To write the article, Alan Furst flew to the USSR. It was an awe-inspiring experience that sparked a fire in his imagination. Once home, he wrote the article he had promised Esquire. But then he started writing for himself.
Using the kernels he had stumbled upon during his journey, he crafted a spy story set in WWII. The period was fascinating at the time because Furst knew almost nothing about WWII. He wasn’t much of a historian, not yet. But that gave him the compulsion to do research. He read everything he could find about the time period and the setting, building the foundations that eventually became ‘Night Soldiers’, the series for which he is best known.
The first ‘Night Soldiers’ book was not his first attempt at fiction. Alan Furst started writing in his 20s. However, his first few novels were far from impressive. The author isn’t afraid to admit that he was a poor fiction writer.
He wrote well enough but he had nothing to say and that showed in his stories which is why he was often dismissed as a low list author. ‘Night Soldiers’ changed everything. The series allowed Furst to discover his voice.
His talents lay, not in creating his own stories, but taking real-life events and occurrences and peppering them with fictitious characters. Furst believes that he is still an author that has nothing to say, which is why he is so good at telling the stories of other people, real people that lived interesting lives.
Alan Furst Awards
Furst won the Hammett Award in 2002. He was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award.
Best Alan Furst Books
Furst has been praised for his ability to evoke the mood and culture of Europe and its people, with some of the best books in his bibliography including:
Night Soldiers: Khristo Stoianev joined the Soviet Secret Intelligence Service after local fascists murdered his brother. They sent him to Spain to aid his country’s cause in Spain’s Civil War. His situation takes a drastic turn when Stalin’s purges threaten to engulf him.
Mission to Paris: The Nazis had spent years eroding France’s morale. A secret department of the Foreign Ministry worked night and day to degrade the country’s will to fight the Nazi invasion through bribery and intimidation.
They were certain that they could use Frederic Stahl to their advantage. The movie star was coming to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis attacked him because they wanted him to become their agent, an influential force that could further their agenda. They had no idea that Stahl was an informal spy working for the Americans.
When Does The Next Alan Furst book come out?
Alan Furst doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Under Occupation and was released on November, 26th 2019. It is the newest book in the Night Soldiers Series.