Título: Blood of Victory
Editorial: London, United Kingdom: George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd
Año de publicación: 2002
Condición del libro: Fine
Condición de la sobrecubierta: Fine
Ejemplar firmado: Signed by Author(s)
Edición: 1st Edition
“In 1939, as the armies of Europe mobilized for war, the British secret services undertook operations to impede the exportation of Roumanian oil to Germany. They failed.
“Then, in the autumn of 1940, they tried again.”
So begins Blood of Victory, a novel rich with suspense, historical insight, and the powerful narrative immediacy we have come to expect from bestselling author Alan Furst. The book takes its title from a speech given by a French senator at a conference on petroleum in 1918: “Oil,” he said, “the blood of the earth, has become, in time of war, the blood of victory.”
November 1940. The Russian writer I. A. Serebin arrives in Istanbul by Black Sea freighter. Although he travels on behalf of an émigré organization based in Paris, he is in flight from a dying and corrupt Europe—specifically, from Nazi-occupied France. Serebin finds himself facing his fifth war, but this time he is an exile, a man without a country, and there is no army to join. Still, in the words of Leon Trotsky, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” Serebin is recruited for an operation run by Count Janos Polanyi, a Hungarian master spy now working for the British secret services.
The battle to cut Germany’s oil supply rages through the spy haunts of the Balkans; from the Athenée Palace in Bucharest to a whorehouse in Izmir; from an elegant yacht club in Istanbul to the river docks of Belgrade; from a skating pond in St. Moritz to the fogbound banks of the Danube; in sleazy nightclubs and safe houses and nameless hotels; amid the street fighting of a fascist civil war.
Blood of Victory is classic Alan Furst, combining remarkable authenticity and atmosphere with the complexity and excitement of an outstanding spy thriller. As Walter Shapiro of Time magazine wrote, “Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years.”
I.A. Serebin, an émigré writer who heads the International Russian Union and edits its literary magazine, is no stranger to war: "Two gangsters, one neighborhood, they fight," he comments at a dinner party on a yacht in the Istanbul harbor in the autumn of 1940. Istanbul, to which Serebin has come to say good-bye to a dying friend, is a haven for spies, arms dealers, diplomats, and intrigue. Like most of the author's protagonists, Serebin is a romantic, a reluctant hero who tries to believe that war will not really change anything: "Hold fast to life as it should be, the daily ritual, work, love, and then it will be" is his credo. After Paris falls to the Germans, he realizes that is impossible. When a French diplomat's wife, whom he met and bedded on the freighter that brought him to Turkey, puts him in touch with a Hungarian spy working with the British Secret Service, Serebin allows himself to be recruited for a mission to disrupt the flow of oil from Romania's Ploesti fields to German factories--something that has been tried by the British before, without success. Alan Furst, a master stylist whose novels are peopled with characters who remain in the reader's mind long after the last page is turned, evokes Istanbul's smoky, spicy, shadowy atmosphere with the same authenticity he brings to the settings of all his thrillers, most notably Paris. No one is better at describing both place and players in the period just before and during World War II; widely hailed as the successor to Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, Furst proves in his gripping, compulsively readable seventh novel what a contender he is for that title. --Jane Adams
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