“Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years.”—Time
Autumn 1941: In a shabby hotel off the place Clichy, the course of the war is about to change. German tanks are rolling toward Moscow. Stalin has issued a decree: All partisan operatives are to strike behind enemy lines—from Kiev to Brittany. Set in the back streets of Paris and deep in occupied France, Red Gold moves with quiet menace as predators from the dark edge of war—arms dealers, lawyers, spies, and assassins—emerge from the shadows of the Parisian underworld. In their midst is Jean Casson, once a well-to-do film producer, now a target of the Gestapo living on a few francs a day. As the occupation tightens, Casson is drawn into an ill-fated mission: running guns to combat units of the French Communist Party. Reprisals are brutal. At last the real resistance has begun. Red Gold masterfully re-creates the shadow world of French resistance in the darkest days of World War II.
From the atmosphere established in his fifth novel's first sentence ("Casson woke in a room in a cheap hotel and smoked his last cigarette") to the knock on the door at the denouement, Furst again proves himself the master of his chosen terrain--behind the lines of Nazi occupation in France during WWII. His previous novel, The World at Night, opened in May 1940, with French film producer Jean Casson setting out to take newsreels of the defense of France's Maginot line and becoming swamped in the German invasion. It is now September 1941, and Casson, broke and hiding under a false name, is about to commit fully to the Resistance. As a man of indeterminate political affiliation, he's chosen to negotiate between the Resistance and the French Communists, who, with the German army on the verge of taking Moscow, have orders from Stalin to sabotage the Nazis in any way possible. The "red gold" SS looters try to steal in Russia is a metaphoric payment in blood, while in Paris informers are everywhere and collaboration is still rampant. Furst's textured plot--exhibiting shifting loyalties and betrayals; lone, often hopeless acts of heroism; and lovers bravely parting--makes for spellbinding drama. (In one scene, a clandestine radio operator broadcasts a few moments too long, and hears soldiers' boots racing up the stairs to get him.) Furst, who deserves the comparisons he's earned to Graham Greene and Eric Ambler, seems to be settling into a franchise here, rather than reaching for the fire he caught in his third novel, The Polish Officer. Casson's story unfolds convincingly, however, and as it continues here to April of 1942, promises a few more episodes to come from this author's tried and true brand of masterfully detailed espionage.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I’ve read several books by this author and enjoyed them all and l wasn’t disappointed in this extremely well written book of pre war Paris I highly recommend this book.
As usual from Alan Furst, a gripping, well paced examination of the everyday people and events in the early days of WW II in Europe. Events that helped shape the Europe of today. Hard to put down and harder to forget.