Red Gold: A Novel

Alan Furst

Published by Random House, 1999
ISBN 10: 0679451862 / ISBN 13: 9780679451860
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Synopsis: "In the world of the espionage thriller, Alan Furst is in a class of his own."--William Boyd

Paris. Autumn, 1941. In a shabby hotel off the place Clichy, the course of the French resistance is about to change. German tanks are rolling toward Moscow. Stalin has issued a decree: all partisan operatives are to strike behind enemy lines--from Kiev to Brittany.
        Set in the back streets of Paris and deep in occupied France, Red Gold moves with quiet and pervasive menace as predators from the dark edge of the war--arms dealers, lawyers, spies, and assassins--emerge from the shadows of the Parisian underworld.
        In their midst is Jean Casson, once a producer of gangster films, now living on a few francs a day and hunted by the Gestapo. As the German occupation tightens, Casson is drawn into an ill-fated mission: running guns to combat units of the French Communist party. Their NKVD contact, a former Comintern operative named Weiss--his seventeenth name--begins to orchestrate a series of attacks against the Germans. Reprisals are brutal. Fear spreads through the city. At last the real resistance has begun.
        Red Gold masterfully recreates the duplicitous world of the French resistance in the worst days of World War II.

Review: 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 Adler

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Title: Red Gold: A Novel
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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