Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alan Furst's five best spy books

Alan Furst is the author of Night Soldiers (1988), Dark Star (1991), The Polish Officer (1995), The World at Night (1996), Red Gold (1999), Kingdom of Shadows (2000), Blood of Victory (2002), Dark Voyage (2004), The Foreign Correspondent (2006), and The Spies of Warsaw (2008).

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of spy tales.

One book on his list:
The Miernik Dossier
by Charles McCarry
Saturday Review Press, 1973

With “The Miernik Dossier,” Charles McCarry introduced us to Paul Christopher, the brilliant and sensitive CIA officer who would appear in a series of perhaps more widely known novels, such as “The Secret Lovers” and “Second Sight.” The book itself is the “dossier” in question: the reports and memoranda filed by a quintet of mutually mistrustful espionage agents, including a seductive Hungarian princess and a seemingly hapless Polish scientist, who undertake to drive from Switzerland to the Sudan in a Cadillac. It is a travelogue that bristles with suspicion and deception—but don’t listen to me, listen to a certain highly acclaimed spy novelist who reviewed McCarry’s literary debut: “The level of reality it achieves is high indeed; it is superbly constructed, wholly convincing, and displays insights that are distinctly refreshing. A new and very welcome talent.” Good call, Eric Ambler.
Read about Number One on Furst's list.

Visit Alan Furst's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Foreign Correspondent.

Writers Read: Alan Furst.

Read former MI5 director-general Stella Rimington's five best list of books about spies in Britain and Ben Macintyre's list of top true-life spy stories.

--Marshal Zeringue