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The Polish Officer


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Reissued in the terrific new cover style A top-notch novel from an exceptionally talented writer Alan Furst receives exceptional reviews: 'One of the best novels of the year...Brilliant' Robert Harris 'You can almost hear the chained wheels of the Gestapo car on the snow, the whack of bullets in the moonlit Polish forests, the quietness of occupied Paris by night' Observer 'Surely among the most convincing war books of our time' Sunday Telegraph 'Furst writes the best espionage thrillers in the business' Literary Review 'I always feel a thrill of anticipation when a new Alan Furst arrives...wonderful books, wonderful writing' Irish Times 'Alan Furst writes brilliantly about wartime Europe' Economist 'His exquisitely wrought spy thrillers, set in the Thirties and Forties, have set new standards for the genre' Sunday Telegraph 'Pleasurable and rewarding to read' Spectator 'This is the kind of literate and erudite writing we have come to expect from Alan Furst, who gives us an object lesson in how a quiet, beautifully written spy thriller can be just as gripping as anything in which bombs and bullets fly... excellent' Guardian

About the Author

Alan Furst has lived for long periods in France, especially in Paris and has travelled as a journalist in Eastern Europe and Russia. He has written extensively for Esquire and the International Herald Tribune.


With clear, reticent prose and his trademark mastery of historical detail, Furst (Shadow Trade; Night Soldiers) brings vividly to life this WWII-era tale of espionage and bravery, chronicling the work of the Polish underground in Poland, France and the Ukraine. As Warsaw is falling in 1939, Polish Captain Alexander de Milja embarks on a harrowing journey to smuggle the national gold reserves out of the country by rail-the first of many death-defying missions he will undertake for the nascent ZWZ, the Union for Armed Struggle. Under a series of false identities, mingling with the bon vivants of occupied Paris, he later becomes a prized intelligence resource in France, surviving by cunning and passing valuable strategic information to the British. In the novel's final section, de Milja is in even more danger, working as a saboteur based in a Ukrainian forest as the Germans march east. Throughout these dramatic events, Furst's understated narrative is insightful and convincing. The unassuming de Milja-who considers himself merely ``unafraid to die, and lucky so far''-proves an engaging protagonist. His exploits and the courageous sacrifices of the ordinary patriots who help him are both thrilling and at times inspiring. (Feb.)

a tense and evocative spy thriller...brings a period of history vividly to life * ILFORD RECORDER *

Capt. Alexander de Milja is a chameleon. A cartographer by profession, de Milja works as an intelligence officer in the Polish underground at the outset of World War II. When the Germans discover de Milja's identity in Poland, he goes to France and later Russia to continue his work. De Milja's disguises are many-he passes as a Russian writer, a Czech coal merchant, and a Polish horse breeder-and he embraces each persona completely as he goes about the business of espionage and sabotage. De Milja comes across as a genuine individual who, in his weaker moments, grapples with his desire to give up the fight. This well-written, realistic novel by the author of A Distant War (LJ 10/1/94) paints a vivid picture of the grayness and despair of the German occupation. Recommended for larger public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/94.]-Maria A. Perez-Stable, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo

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