Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst
A Novel

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Synopsis

Greece, 1940. In the port city of Salonika, with its wharves and brothels, dark alleys and Turkish mansions, a tense political drama is being played out. As Adolf Hitler plans to invade the Balkans, spies begin to circle—and Costa Zannis, a senior police official, must deal with them all. He is soon in the game, working to secure an escape route for fugitives from Nazi Berlin that is protected by German lawyers, Balkan detectives, and Hungarian gangsters—and hunted by the Gestapo. Meanwhile, as war threatens, the erotic life of the city grows passionate. For Zannis, that means a British expatriate who owns the local ballet academy, a woman from the dark side of Salonika society, and the wife of a shipping magnate. With extraordinary historical detail and a superb cast of characters, Spies of the Balkans is a stunning novel about a man who risks everything to fight back against the world’s evil.
 

About Alan Furst

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Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into eighteen languages, he is the author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, The Foreign Correspondent, The Spies of Warsaw, Spies of the Balkans, and Mission to Paris. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris, and now lives on Long Island.
 
Published June 9, 2010 by Random House. 290 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Spies of the Balkans

The New York Times

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the story moves neatly and inexorably to its climax, as Costa, his family and friends leave Salonika, already under bombardment, for a new life.

Aug 29 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Set in Greece in 1940, this powerful WWII thriller from Furst (The Spies of Warsaw ) focuses on Costa Zannis, a senior Salonika police official known for his honesty and ability to settle matters “before they got out of hand.” As the Nazis’ intentions for Europe’s Jews becomes clear, Zannis goes ...

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

The Wall Street Journal

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What is at stake in "Spies of the Balkans" is the fate of the refugees, of course, but also the political fate of Greece itself and Zannis's own destiny in a time of war, as he finds himself acting as an agent for war's victims and for those who would resist the bullying of the Axis powers.

Jun 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

NPR

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Alan Furst's latest World War II thriller is packed with convincing details and heart-pounding plot. Furst draws readers into the world of a Macedonian police detective seized by a conviction to undermine the coming Nazi rule by helping one Jewish fugitive at a time.

Jun 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

Book Reporter

As the situation in Greece comes to a head with the German armies nearing Greece's borders, the Gestapo makes a vital discovery about Zannis's operation.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

The Washington Times

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There is no current novelist who captures the turbulence, ambivalence, chaos and turmoil of Europe in the years just before World War II as well as Alan Furst.

Jun 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

The Globe and Mail

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Since Night Soldiers, in 1988, Alan Furst has published nearly a dozen moody, atmospheric spy novels set in Europe during or on the cusp of the Second World War.

Jul 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

AV Club

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Marvelously terse writing enlivens Spies Of The Balkans, which would be a garden-variety tale of World War II without it.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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A suave Greek police official gets tangled up in smuggling Jews to safety as the Nazis prepare to invade his country.

Jun 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

The Washington Post

I read my first Alan Furst novel nine years ago and urged Book World's readers to do themselves a favor and seek out everything this talented writer had in print.

Jun 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

The Daily Beast

Costa finds himself persuaded by a beautiful German woman (a Jew married to a German army colonel) to help her smuggle German Jews via Budapest and Belgrade to Turkey, meets a suave British travel writer—a figure not unlike Greene himself, who was both the author of spy novels and an agent of MI6...

Jun 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

https://bookpage.com

He is one of the more likeable spy characters created by the talented Furst, and Spies of the Balkans is another fast-moving, nuanced novel that will keep you up at night.

Mar 13 2016 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Michael Korda Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars "While some novels are plot-driven and others are character-driven, Furst’s novels are both--but most of all they are atmosphere-driven.

Jun 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Spies of the Balkans: A Novel

Kepler's

Spies of the Balkans focuses on Costa Zannis, a Greek police officer, a man who deals with "special problems," who is honest, discrete, and politically adept.

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