September 1939. As Warsaw falls to Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Captain Alexander de Milja is recruited by the intelligence service of the Polish underground. His mission: to transport the national gold reserve to safety, hidden on a refugee train to Bucharest. Then, in the back alleys and black-market bistros of Paris, in the tenements of Warsaw, with partizan guerrillas in the frozen forests of the Ukraine, and at Calais Harbor during an attack by British bombers, de Milja fights in the war of the shadows in a world without rules, a world of danger, treachery, and betrayal.
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An exemplary audiobook
"The Polish Officer" is Alan Furst's best novel. Written mid-way through his "near history" series (books all set in Europe just before, and during, World War II and using real events as backdrops to his characters' experiences) "The Polish Offier" balances concise plotting, complexity of character, and historical depth in ways not quite matched by his earlier and later books. This audiobook deftly dramatizes what happened to Poland, and in comparison, France, at the beginning of the war while following the lives of those who opposed the Nazi occupation. Narrator George Guidall brings the story to life like a play, complimenting Furst's writing by matching its pace and the cadence of the characters' dialog. And, in the way of the best audiobooks, Guidall has invented a recognizable tone for the main characters, making conversations between them easy to follow. My only criticism for Guidall's narration is the minor characters often get the same tone of voice, and for the women, he raises his pitch and speeds up his cadence in a way that is obvious and a little distracting. Minor quibbles, however, for an audiobook whose narration matches its quality of writing. Highly recommended, and worth repeated listening.