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Kingdom of Shadows: 07/04/07

One Duck Stuck

Kingdom of Shadows is the second Alan Furst novel I've read. This one follows the opening days of the war with Hitler's rise to power but from the point of view of the owner of an advertising agency in Paris who is balancing his time between work, his mistress and some espionage for his Hungarian uncle.

Nicholas Morath and his small group of friends remind me of the idle and bored characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's, with Tender is the Night coming specifically to mind. The only difference is that their parties are set against the backdrop of the early days of WWII. Family duty forces Morath to attempt heroic acts at a time when he (and most of the rest of Paris) is having trouble believing what is on the horizon.

As with Dark Voyage, the middle section of the book drags a bit as Hurst pauses to let the historical events play out. The characters step aside and the book becomes more of a book report than a novel. While it's good to get things in context, these interludes are best when skimmed.

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