Mission to Paris

Mission to Paris

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From the New York Times bestselling author and the “modern-day master of the genre” (New York Newsday) comes a gripping novel of espionage and deception in 1938 pre-war Paris.

At the center of the intrigue is Hollywood star, Frederic Stahl. September 1938. On the eve of the Munich Appeasement, Stahl arrives in Paris, on loan from Warner Brothers to star in a French film. He quickly becomes entangled in the shifting political currents of pre-war Paris—French fascists, German Nazis, and his Hollywood publicists all have their fates tied to him. But members of the clandestine spy world of Paris have a deeper interest in Stahl, sensing a potential asset in a handsome, internationally renowned actor.
Ranging from the high society of glittering Paris to film set locations in far-away Damascus and Budapest, Alan Furst’s new novel confirms his status as a writer whose stories unfold “like a vivid dream” (The Wall Street Journal).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442349087
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 06/12/2012
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 1,214,763
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 5.64(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. He is the author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, and Dark Voyage. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island, New York. Visit the author’s website at AlanFurst.net.


Sag Harbor, New York

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Oberlin College

Read an Excerpt

the necessity of reforming the church

A Humble Exhortation to the most invincible Emperor Charles V and the most illustrious Princes and other Orders, now holding a Diet of the Empire at Spires that they seriously undertake the task of restoring the Church presented in the name of all those who wish Christ to reign by Dr. John Calvin

August Emperor,

This Diet is summoned by you in order at last to deliberate and decide, along with the Most Illustrious Princes and other Orders of the Empire, upon the means of ameliorating the present condition of the Church, which we all see to be very miserable and almost desperate. Now, therefore, while you sit for this consultation, I humbly beg and implore, first of your Imperial Majesty, and at the same time of you also, Most Illustrious Princes and distinguished gentlemen, that you will not decline to read and diligently consider what I have to lay before you. The magnitude and weight of the cause may well incite you to an eagerness to listen. I shall set the matter so plainly in front of you that you can have no difficulty in determining what part you must play. Whoever I am, I here profess to plead in defense both of sound doctrine and of the Church. In this character I seem at all events entitled to expect that you will not deny me audience, until such time as it may appear whether I falsely usurp the character, or whether I faithfully perform its duties and make good what I profess. But though I feel that I am by no means equal to so great a task, yet I am not at all afraid that, after you have heard the nature of my office, I shall be accused either of folly or presumption in having ventured thus to bring this matter before you. There are two things by which men are wont to recommend, or at least to justify, their conduct. If a thing is done honestly and from pious zeal, we deem it worthy of praise; if it is done under the pressure of public necessity, we at least deem it not unworthy of excuse. Since both of these apply here, I am confident, such is your equity, that I shall easily approve my design in your eyes. For where can I exert myself to better purpose or more honestly, where, too, in a matter at this time more necessary, than in attempting, according to my ability, to aid the Church of Christ, whose claims it is lawful in no instance to deny, and which is now in grievous distress and in extreme danger? But there is no occasion for a long preface concerning myself. Receive what I say as if it were the united voice of all who either have already taken care to restore the Church or desire that it should be restored to true order. On my side are several exalted Princes and not a few distinguished communities. For all these I speak though an individual, so that it is more truly they who at the same time and with one mouth speak through me. To these add the countless multitude of pious men, scattered over the various regions of the Christian world, who yet unanimously concur with me in this pleading. In short, regard this as the common address of all who so earnestly deplore the present corruption of the Church that they are unable to bear it any longer and are determined not to rest till they see some amendment. I know with what odious names we are marked down for disgrace; but meanwhile, whatever be the name by which it is thought proper to call us, hear our cause, and after that judge what place we are entitled to hold.

First, then, the question is not whether the Church suffers from many and grievous diseases, for this is admitted even by all moderate judges; but whether the diseases are of a kind whose cure admits of no longer delay, so that it is neither useful nor proper to wait upon too slow remedies. We are accused of rash and impious innovation, for having ventured to propose any change at all in the former state of the Church. What? Even if it has been done with good cause and not imperfectly? I hear there are persons who, even in this case, do not hesitate to condemn us; they think us right indeed in desiring amendment, but not right in attempting it. From them, all I would ask at present is that for a little they suspend judgment until I shall have shown from the facts that we have not been prematurely hasty, have attempted nothing rashly, nothing alien to our duty, and have in short done nothing until compelled by the highest necessity. To enable me to prove this, it is necessary to attend to the matters in dispute.

We maintain to start with that when God raised up Luther and others who held forth a torch to light us into the way of salvation and on whose ministry our churches are founded and built, those heads of doctrine in which the truth of our religion, those in which the pure and legitimate worship of God, and those in which the salvation of men are comprehended, were in a great measure obsolete. We maintain that the use of the sacraments was in many ways vitiated and polluted. And we maintain that the government of the Church was converted into a species of horrible and insufferable tyranny. But perhaps these statements have not force enough to move certain individuals until they are better explained. This, therefore, I will do, not as the subject demands, but as far as my ability will permit. Here, however, I have no intention to review and discuss all our controversies; that would require a long discourse, and this is not the place for it. I wish only to demonstrate how just and necessary the causes were which forced us to the changes for which we are blamed.

To accomplish this, I must show that the particular remedies which the Reformers employed were apt and salutary; not here intending to describe the manner in which we proceeded (for this will afterward be seen), but only to make it manifest that we have had no other end in view than to ameliorate in some degree the very miserable condition of the Church. Our doctrine has been, and is every day, assailed by many cruel calumnies. Some declaim loudly against it in sermons; others attack and ridicule it in their writings. Both rake together everything by which they hope to bring it into disrepute among the ignorant. But there is in men’s hands the Confession of our Faith, which we presented to your Imperial Majesty. It clearly testifies how undeservedly we are harassed by so many odious accusations. We have always been ready in times past, as we are at the present day, to render an account of our doctrine. In a word, there is no doctrine preached in our churches but that which we openly profess. As to contested points, they are clearly and honestly explained in our Confession, while everything relating to them has been copiously treated and diligently expounded by our writers. Hence judges who are not unjust must be satisfied how far we are from every kind of impiety. This much certainly must be clear alike to just and unjust, that the Reformers have done no small service to the Church in stirring up the world as from the deep darkness of ignorance to read the Scriptures, in laboring diligently to make them better understood, and in happily throwing light on certain points of doctrine of the highest practical importance. In sermons little else used to be heard than old wives’ fables and fictions equally frivolous. The schools resounded with brawling questions, but Scripture was seldom mentioned. Those who held the government of the Church had this one concern, to prevent any diminution of their gains. Accordingly, they readily tolerated whatever brought grist to their mill. Even the most prejudiced admit that our people have in some degree reformed these evils, however much they may impugn our doctrine at other points.

But I do not wish that all the profit the Church has derived from our labor should avail to mitigate our fault, if in any other respect we have injured her. Therefore let there be an examination of our whole doctrine, of our form of administering the sacraments, and our method of governing the Church; and in none of these three things will it be found that we have made any change in the old form, without attempting to restore it to the exact standard of the Word of God.

All our controversies concerning doctrine relate either to the legitimate worship of God or to the ground of salvation. As to the former, certainly we exhort men to worship God in neither a frigid nor a careless manner; and while we point out the way, we neither lose sight of the end, nor omit anything which is relevant to the matter. We proclaim the glory of God in terms far loftier than it was wont to be proclaimed before, and we earnestly labor to make the perfections in which his glory shines better and better known. His benefits toward ourselves we extol as eloquently as we can. Thus men are incited to reverence his majesty, render due homage to his greatness, feel due gratitude for his mercies, and unite in showing forth his praise. In this way there is infused into their hearts that solid confidence which afterward gives birth to prayer. In this way too each one is trained to genuine self-denial, so that his will being brought into obedience to God, he bids farewell to his own desires. In short, as God requires us to worship him in a spiritual manner, so we with all zeal urge men to all the spiritual sacrifices which he commends.

Even our enemies cannot deny our assiduity in these exhortations, that men look for the good which they desire from none but God, that they confide in his power, trust in his goodness, depend on his truth, and turn to him with the whole heart, rest on him with full hope, and resort to him in necessity, that is, at every moment, and ascribe to him every good thing enjoyed, and testify to this by expressions of praise. That none may be deterred by difficulty of access, we proclaim that a fountain of all blessings is offered us in Christ, from which we may draw everything needful. Our writings are witnesses, and our sermons also, how frequent and sedulous we are in recommending true repentance, urging men to renounce their reason, their carnal desires, and themselves entirely, that they may be brought into obedience to God alone, and live no longer to themselves but to him. Nor indeed do we overlook external duties and works of charity, which follow on such renewal. This, I say, is the sure and unerring form of divine worship, which we know that he approves, because it is the form which his Word prescribes. These are the only sacrifices of the Christian Church which have attestation from him.

Since, therefore, in our churches, God alone is adored in pure form without superstition, since his goodness, wisdom, power, truth, and other perfections are there preached more fully than anywhere else, since he is invoked with true faith in the name of Christ, his mercies celebrated with both heart and tongue, and men constantly urged to a simple and sincere obedience; since in short nothing is heard but what tends to promote the sanctification of his name, what cause have those who call themselves Christians to take us up so ill? First, since they love darkness rather than light, they cannot tolerate the sharpness with which we, as in duty bound, rebuke the gross idolatry which is apparent everywhere in the world. When God is worshipped in images, when fictitious worship is instituted in his name, when supplication is made to the images of saints, and divine honors paid to dead men’s bones and other similar things, we call them abominations as they are. For this cause, those who hate our doctrine inveigh against us and represent us as heretics who dare to abolish the worship of God as approved of old by the Church. Concerning this name of Church, which they are ever and anon holding up before them as a kind of shield, we will shortly speak. Meanwhile how perverse, when these infamous corruptions are manifest, not only to defend them, but to dissemble and represent them as the genuine worship of God!

Both sides confess that in the sight of God idolatry is an execrable crime. But when we attack the worship of images, our adversaries immediately take the opposite side and lend support to the crime which they had with us verbally condemned. Indeed, as is more ridiculous, while they agree with us as to the term in Greek, it is no sooner turned into Latin than their opposition begins. For they strenuously defend the veneration of images, though they condemn idolatry. But these ingenious men deny that the honor which they pay to images is worship, as if, when compared with ancient idolatry, it were possible to see any difference. Idolaters pretended that they worshipped the celestial gods, though under corporeal figures which represented them. What else do our adversaries pretend? But is God satisfied with such excuses? Did the prophets on this account cease to rebuke the madness of the Egyptians, when, out of the secret mysteries of their theology, they drew subtle distinctions under which to screen themselves? What too do we suppose the brazen serpent which the Jews worshipped to have been, but something which they honored as a representation of God? “The Gentiles,” says Ambrose (in Ps. 118), “worship wood, because they think it an image of God, whereas the invisible image of God is not in that which is seen, but precisely in that which is not seen.” But what is done today? Do they not prostrate themselves before images, as if God were present in them? Unless they supposed the power and grace of God to be attached to pictures and statues, would they flee to them when they desired to pray?

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Mission to Paris: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
DPJ More than 1 year ago
Alan Furst is one of the few authors I have found who writes well enough to keep your interest without resorting to central characters with super powers. When a character is severely injured in a motorcycle accident and fully recuperates in a few weeks with no ongoing problems, the story loses credibility and I can't relate to the hero/heroine. Alan Furst can keep you coming back without resorting to such techniques. I, for one, would like to see more authors create down-to-earth characters that I can relate to.
Hurricane_Hattie More than 1 year ago
Alan Furst's earlier pre World War II espionage novels evoke old black and white snapshots of a duplicitous Europe just before World War II. Furst is often compared to Le Carre. For me, Furst's ability to create the tone and a mood while providing historical fact outshine La Carre. " Mission to Paris" is Furst's newest novel in this genre, but it is not his best. Like his other books, the hero, an American film star, is a decent man caught up in Nazi intrigue in prewar Paris. Maybe it's the hero, fresh from limited Hollywood success, which makes "Mission to Paris" seem more like a glossy technicolor film than Furst's earlier smokey, mood novels. Frederic Stahl never seems to struggle with good versus evil, a "gentleman's treason". Or it could be too many details about film making in the story, but everything is just too slick, too commerical and even bordering on the mundane in this latest effort. It has been anounced that BBC is making a TV series from one of Furst's earlier books. Maybe the author is understandably intrigued by the process. Whatever the cause, there are still flashes of Furst's earlier craft in writing haunting sentences full of sensory illusions, but most of the novel seems pretty uninspired. Don't get me wrong. Alan Furst is still my favorite living author and while "Mission to Paris" is a good read, it was a disappointment. I can't wait for the 2014 Furst novel to be published.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book to me has characters that you end up caring for. For instance I really liked Stahl and Orlova. To me the ending was very anticlimactic and dull and at no point was my heart racing. I love everything WWII and Europe so I wouldn't call it a total waste of time but a disappointment and definitely not worth 14 bucks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise is intriguing, but the plot simple lacks any dramatic tension in all aspects: the Nazis make annoying, mildly threatening phone calls, relationships, romantic and otherwise come and go without import or meaning. Then everybody goes back to Hollywood!? This is my first and last Furst...
RLS1 More than 1 year ago
Alan Furst's novels all effectively convey just how desperate things were in continental Europe of 1937-40. Mission to Paris is a switch from the Eastern European characters who know well the likelihood of impending disaster. We see Paris through the eyes of Frederich Stahl, an internationally acclaimed Warner Brothers American actor. Stahl, himself an Austrian emigre, is sent there to make a movie. The anemic American preparedness is brought out through the actor's suspicions of just why Jack Warner insisted he go to Paris to make a French movie. Those suspicions are confirmed through Stahl's contacts with an lone American diplomat who asks Stahl to assist him in spying on Nazi infiltration in pre-war France. I knew large numbers of French collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation. The novel brings forth in vivid detail the extent of right wing French sympathy and assistance to Germany that made the defeat of France in 1940 inevitable. The principal characters of Furst's novels are all thoroughly decent men caught in desperate circumstances that became routine after World War II began. Unlike many of Furst's other novels, Stahl is an American who can choose to avoid the danger. He also has powerful friends to assist him, which is a refreshing departure from many of the helpless characters of Furst's other novels. I believe this is Alan Furst's best novel. I hope he will continue Mission to Paris' focus on Americans or British who actually have a choice in the pre-World War II events in which they become embroiled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story line is slow, boring, and mostly predictable. Characters are shallow. Quite a few historical inaccuracies, even given artistic liberties.
Ivanho4 More than 1 year ago
Quite simply, the most lack luster, uneventful spy novel I've ever read.  Alan Furst may be held in high regard in literary circles, but the storyline never really got off the ground.  Action?  What action?  Furst takes at least 100 pages before anything happens.  I found myself drifting off trying to stay focused on characters who spent most of their time at cocktail parties and coffee shops. Not worth the money or the time invested getting through 224 pages of fluff. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
like all of Furst's novels, this one gives you an excellent feel for Europe between the wars. While not as fine as a few of his other books, it is certainly worth reading.
Beenthere-heardthat More than 1 year ago
Lots of ties to previous works and his usual brilliant sense of mood make this an enjoyable read. Perhaps a thinner slice of "near history" than earlier novels but, perhaps befitting the Hollywood connection, still quite intertaining if somewhat implausible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Alan Furst novel, and I can firmly say that it will be my last. As another reviewer commented, I too had a difficult time getting through the first 100 pages. I thought about abandoning the book on several occassions. There really wasn't a climax and the loose ends that you keep hoping will be tied up, never are. Very dissapointing read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sblock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The reviewer for the Washington Post suggested that Alan Furst phoned this novel in, and she had a point: there's not much suspense, and I got the nagging feeling that Furst was really looking for a movie deal. His gallant, handsome, movie-star hero is a bit of a stretch. But I loved this book anyway. Furst made me feel like I was in Paris in 1938, a place filled with spies and collaborators-in-training, along with terrified expats and seers who know that the way of life Parisians cherish is about to come to an end. I've read that Furst does exhaustive research and it shows, from the clothes the society matrons wear to the decorations on Nazi cakes.
viking2917 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release copy of Mission to Paris, a new novel from highly regarded historical spy novelist Alan Furst. Furst specializes in World War II era fiction. Having reviewed other books in the program from less-established authors, starting Mission to Paris was like slipping into a warm bath - the prose fluid and accessible, without a jarring phrasing or word out of place. Mission to Paris is the story of a somewhat famous actor's trip to Paris, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Fredric Stahl is Viennese-born, but lives in Hollywood now. As part of a cross-Studio movie deal, he finds himself sent to Paris to film a movie. A famous actor turned spy (this is a spy novel) could easily turn to cliché, but Furst easily humanizes Stahl, while staying true to the perks that would come with being a well-known actor. As Stahl crosses the Atlantic on an ocean liner, he finds himself on a deck chair with his arms around a married woman (Stahl is unsurprisingly successful with the ladies). And yet: "They lay together on the deck chair, she in formal gown, he in tuxedo, the warmth of her body welcome on the chilly night, the soft weight of her breast, resting gently against him, a promise that wouldn't be kept but a sweet promise just the same. Edith, he thought. Or was it Edna?¿In two sentences, Stahl is rendered as maybe a cad for potentially sleeping with a married woman, a typical actor who doesn't even remember the names of women he's with, and yet he sends her back to her husband without taking advantage. Furst effortlessly re-creates the era. Starting the story on an ocean liner immediately creates context. The attention to period detail is deep without being boring. Furst includes verbatim a daily ship's newsletter (I assume it is fictional), with world news (Neville Chamberlain meeting with Hitler, preparing to sell out Czechoslovakia) and sport news (Whizzer White the football player injured) right next to tomorrow's shuffleboard schedule. Pre-war Paris is also quickly and effortlessly evoked. Within pages, you are ensconced in a cafe tasting the croissants, out and about on the warm September Paris evenings¿."Walking slowly, looking at everything, he couldn't get enough of the Parisian air: it smelled of a thousand years of rain dropping on stone, smelled of rough black tobacco and garlic and drains, of perfume, of potatoes frying in fat. A warm evening, people were out, the bistros crowded and noisy.¿And yet, bad things are afoot.¿On the wall of a newspaper kiosk, closed down for the night, the day¿s front page headlines were still posted: CZECHOSLOVAKIA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY.¿Mission to Paris is about the fall of Paris. Germany militancy is rising, and there are two camps in Paris, those who want to resist Germany and those who do not. Those who do not speak the language of peace: Rapprochement, Mutual Respect, Reconciliation, Peace, ¿avoid war at any cost¿. But the implication - Capitulation - is painfully clear. Any many of those on the side of "Rapproachement" are wittingly or unwittingly in the service of the Germans. What mission to Paris is really about is how easily one can be seduced to the wrong side by fair words, noble concepts and good intentions, together with bribes disguised as "speaking fees" or advertising budgets, and ultimately it's about the lies one tells oneself to sleep at night. Many well-known names are named by Furst as working to bring down the French Government - Taittinger of the famous Champagne, Hennessy of the famous Cognac, the Michelin brothers who led the tire empire. It's almost painful to listen to the cocktail party chatter about the benefits of peace and avoiding war at any cost with the Germans, knowing what horror the Nazis will bring to the world. Stahl chooses sides - the right one - but as a
darwin.8u on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first introduction (other than by reputation) to Alan Furst, and while the novel was interesting and well-researched from a historical perspective it just wasn't a great spy thriller. Perhaps, I was hoping Mission to Paris would be grittier, but it seems like Furst was more interested in telling this pre-WWII spy novel in the tone and style of a Cary Grant/Gary Cooper movie script. Stahl is a pawn in a political/spy/war game between big power; a lover of a lot of attractive and dangerous women; a reluctant hero, a smoldering spy. Yeesh. It wasn't THAT over-the-top, but it just wasn't what I expected. Predicable, and almost throw-away, but still enjoyable. Mission to Paris is a good vacation or beach read, just not a spectacular spy nove
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It seems like the summer of 2012 is the time for political/spy thrillers set in the years immediately preceding World War II (or maybe more of them than usual just happen to be making their way to me this year?).Alan Furst's Mission to Paris is a good example, and quite a good read. Frederic Stahl, a Vienna-born actor living in Hollywood, travels Paris to make a movie in the fall of 1938, only to find himself caught up in various Nazi plots and propaganda efforts.Tough to put down once I started reading, but it goes quickly.
Doondeck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Furst does a wonderful job describing Europe between the wars. While it sounds a little silly to have an actor get involved in espionage, this story works very well. A real page turner.
Liz1564 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an Early Review copy. Thank you.What happens when an ordinary guy becomes involved in espionage? That is one of the premises in Mission to Paris. Except that the hero Fredric Stahl isn't really ordinary. He is an American movie star who is making a movie in Paris in 1938. Because he was raised in Vienna and has an international reputation, the Nazi propaganda machine decides to use him to promote their current agenda...the brutish Poles attacking innocent Germans. Stahl is disgusted and point-blank refuses an invitation to host a film festival in Germany. But when the movie he is working on actually seems threatened by unseen forces, he decides to get some advice from the American Embassy and is connected to a diplomat who is certainly more than just a legal adviser to Americans abroad.So Stahl finds himself on the fringes of the shadowy world of spies right before the outbreak of the war. He is told to play along with the Germans, attend the silly mountain-themed festival, and keep his eyes open for anything "odd." As he is drawn further and further into the world of secrets, he has to keep a delicate balance between his real life, his movie star image, and his current situation. The novel works for me because Stahl is such an appealing character. He loves women and has the ability to make love to them and still remain friends with them when the fling is over. He is generous, charming and kind. When he agrees to do his bit of information-gathering he does it because he is disgusted with what he has seem of Nazi policies. And he can see both view points of the French, those people who want peace at all costs because any war is wrong and those people who feel that evil must be fought in every way possible. He is a man of honor.The novel is a series of small tensions. Did an actor in the film really get injured deliberately to warn Stahl? Was he being followed? Did the woman he has come to love become a target because of him? The sense of place is wonderful with Paris never more appealing as her citizens try to hang on to some sense of nomality. (Yes, think "We'll always have Paris,"}. There are no massive shoot-outs, car chases or explosions and that makes the danger less cartoonish and more real.If the characters appear in another novel, I would certainly read it.
velopunk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As far as I am concerned, Alan Furst owns espionage fiction from the date of the Munich Agreement to Pearl Harbor. Nobody conveys the sense of dread and the inevitability of World War II. His characters are typically antifascists from Balkan countries, Greece, Poland or the Baltic states. The protagonist this time is Fredric Stahl an Austrian-born actor who has lived in the United States for eight years. He has come to Paris in the Fall of 1938 to star in a movie. Stahl has come to the attention of the Ribbentropburo after an agent has read in Variety that he is enroute to Paris. The Ribbentropburo engages in political warfare, what we would call today psychological operations, or psyops. The Nazis did this in every country in Europe that stood in the path of Blitzkreig. In France they have formed Franco-German friendship groups and business alliances. They hammered away on the futility of war and attack as war mongers those who want to build up French defenses and lessen dependence on the Maginot Line. They funded sympathetic politicians, journalists, and intellectuals. Stahl falls in the sights of the psyops. He is interviewed and finds that they are slanted to make him seem in favor of the coming new order. Angered, he tries to fight back and finds himself threatened. Stahl has made contact with an intelligence officer in the Paris embassy. He agrees to judge a German mountain film festival and brings in a large quantity of Swiss Francs to pay an intelligence asset in Berlin. Eventually he must flee France and return to the United States.
Rosareads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an ARC review. I am an Alan Furst fan However I found Mission to Paris to be disappointing. To me it read like a preview to a movie. The novel does have as it's hero a movie idol, Frederic Stahl. But that connection does not account for the lack of texture in this book. Alan Furst has, in the past, created tapestries with words: intricately woven, multi layered stories. This novel has a few bright threads that are easy to track. The characters, including the hero, are uni-dimensional. The premise of the book is interesting. An American movie star has been sent to pre-war Paris to make a film that supports the thesis that "war is futile." There is evidence that in true life American movie stars were engaged in espionage during WWII so the premise of the book has basis. Upon arriving in Paris there are efforts by the Germans to capitalize on Stahl's fame for propaganda purposes. He struggles to avoid being used, becomes a spy for the U. S. instead and experiences some moments of danger.
GarySeverance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Alan Furst's new novel, Mission to Paris. It is the story of a successful Hollywood character actor who travels to Europe from Los Angeles in 1938 for location filming of a French adventure movie. Frederic Stahl arrives in Paris and makes contact with a number of Warner's studio representatives. Stahl has had a stellar career, and has earned the VIP treatment in terms of the provisions of hotel, food, drink, and transportation. He also is the focus of the European press and Germans living in Paris who are sympathetic to the Nazi Party. Members of the press interview him about his political views and the Nazi sympathizers court him hoping to bring positive publicity to Hitler's movement.When the Nazis invite Stahl to join a panel of film experts in Berlin to judge movies presented in a German mountain film festival, Stahl at first declines. His excuse is not language-related since he was born and raised in Austria. He has been warned by Warner's studio people to stay out of European politics. He is contacted by an official in the US foreign service who talks Stahl into going to the festival with the purpose of performing some low level spy activity. Frederic is an intelligent actor and a bit of a risk taker so he travels to Berlin with a bundle of US money and a secret mission.Frederic Stahl is a very likable and handsome person much like the popular US actor, George Clooney. He enjoys life in all of its finer aspects, and he has earned this high standard of living over the years through hard work as an actor. He would rather not be involved in pre-war politics, but he is the right person in the wrong time in history and decides to risk his comfortable life by committing time and effort to resisting social evil.Alan Furst is a great stylist, and his narrative matches perfectly the point of view of Frederic Stahl. It is sophisticated, low key, suave, and knowledgeable in the descriptions of the high life and adventure. Readers share Stahl's enjoyment of fine hotels, vintage wines, delicious food, and stimulating sexual relationships. They also share the tension of his risky amateur spy activity. And through it all, Stahl continues to work hard as an actor maintaining the intermittent filming schedule of the film's director.Within the category of "Fiction - Thrillers" designation given by Random House, this is a top notch novel. I give it 5/5 stars and highly recommend the book to devotees of this literary category.
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