An Autumn evening in 1937. A German engineer arrives at the Warsaw railway station. Tonight, he will be with his Polish mistress; tomorrow, at a workers' bar in the city's factory district, he will meet with the military attaché from the French embassy. Information will be exchanged for money.
So begins THE SPIES OF WARSAW, with war coming to Europe, and French and German operatives locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn in to a world of abduction, betrayal and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations.
Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amidst an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters - Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence, last seen in Furst's THE POLISH OFFICER; the mysterious and sophisticated Doctor Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier's brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed.
Furst (The Foreign Correspondent) solidifies his status as a master of historical spy fiction with this compelling thriller set in 1937 Poland. Col. Jean-Fran ois Mercier, a military attach at the French embassy in Warsaw who runs a network of spies, plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with his German adversaries. When one of Mercier's main agents, Edvard Uhl, an engineer at a large D sseldorf arms manufacturer who's been a valuable source on the Nazis' new weapons, becomes concerned that the Gestapo is on to him, Mercier initially dismisses Uhl's fears. Mercier soon realizes that the risk to his spy is genuine, and he's forced to scramble to save Uhl's life. The colonel himself later takes to the field when he hears reports that the German army is conducting maneuvers in forested terrain. Even readers familiar with the Germans' attack through the Ardennes in 1940 will find the plot suspenseful. As ever, Furst excels at creating plausible characters and in conveying the mostly tedious routines of real espionage. Author tour.