As I declared in one of my earlier posts, it appears novelist Alan Furst has turned me into a bit of a series reader. If someone would have told me only a year ago that I’d find myself eagerly devouring one novel after another from some writer’s series I would have told that person he or she was crazy. But that was before I discovered Furst’s 2014 novel Midnight in Europe. And then suddenly I found myself in love with a series I could not get enough of.
My latest obsession from Furst’s Night Soldiers series is The Polish Officer. Originally published back in 1995, a few weeks ago while raiding the shelves at the public library I was delighted to find a 2001 trade paperback edition. Even though I was already plodding my way through a few other books nevertheless I still grabbed it. I’d been itching to read The Polish Officer in addition to his 2000 Kingdom of Shadows, and I was hoping to read either or possibly both of them before year’s end. Feeling victorious I left the library with a copy of The Polish Officer in my hot little hands and eagerly looked forwarded to reading it .
All of the Furst novels I’ve read up to this point have been cast from a similar mold and The Polish Officer is no exception. The action takes place during the first years of World War II, beginning with the German invasion of Poland and ending several years later with the Nazi-led attack on the USSR . Once again, the novel’s protagonist is 40-something, sophisticated, highly intelligent, Continental and reluctantly thrust into the role of secret agent by forces much greater than himself. In this case he’s Captain Alexander de Milja, a former Polish military cartographer. Once again, the protagonist’s travels take him across Europe, with no small amount of time spent in Paris. (Along the way he encounters several of Furst’s supporting crossover characters.) Lastly, just like in Furst’s other novels there’s a romantic adventure or two for our noble hero.
The Polish Officer makes the sixth novel in the Night Soldier series I’ve read. I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it. (Without revealing too much, on several occasions Furst had de Milja running around gathering intelligence on future German military operations. Just like I might with good detective work in a crime or mystery novel, found those little adventures intelligent and interesting. They also helped add a little depth to the overall story.) I’m sure there are those who dismiss Furst’s writing for being heavy on formula. But frankly I don’t care because it’s a fun formula. That means in the near future you’ll be seeing more of Furst’s Night Soldiers novels featured on my blog.