Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

It's taken Furst longer than it should have to attract a wide audience, but the acclaim is growing steadily now for his series of historical spy thrillers set in the early days of World War II and featuring a beguiling assortment of unlikely secret agents--Parisian filmmakers, Russian writers, Hungarian emigres. Fitting the mold perfectly is E. M. DeHaan, the captain of the Dutch tramp freighter Noordenham, a ship without a home since the Nazis invaded Holland. It's 1941 when DeHaan accepts--with that familiar Furstian sense of shrugging inevitability--his new assignment: disguised as a Spanish freighter, the Noordendam will be deployed on secret assignments for the British. So the table is set for another serving of Furst's specialty: the shadowy world of clandestine, anti-Nazi operations performed by a band of no-nonsense individualists. As always with Furst, setting conveys both mood and meaning; here, it's a series of neutral or semineutral ports of call--Tangier, Algeciras, Lisbon--that provides the shadows and infuses the action with that ambiguous uncertainty of motive in which Furst's people thrive. The difference this time is that the star of the show isn't DeHaan or his crew or the assortment of fugitives that surrounds them (imagine Peter Lorre and the usual suspects); no, the star--and the quintessential Furst hero--is a ship, the Noordendam, a tramp in every sense of the word, worked hard and forced to work harder, performing tasks it wasn't made to perform, not out of foolish idealism but because it can. --Bill Ott Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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It's no secret by now that Furst is a superlative chronicler of World War II, and his new novel is a splendid addition to an accomplished body of work that includes The Polish Officer and the bestselling Blood of Victory. His mastery of the atmosphere of that era-its brusque heroes and heroines, its sudden explosions of violence, its strange black glamour-is the fruit of tireless research and an empathetic imagination. His hero this time around is a blunt Dutch sea captain, E.M. DeHaan, whose sturdy but aging merchant vessel is pressed into service on behalf of the British Navy by the exiled Dutch naval intelligence group in London. Disguising his boat as a neutral Spanish freighter, DeHaan somberly and grudgingly takes it several times into harm's way, ferrying British commandos on a North African raid, taking munitions to the beleaguered British garrison on Crete and then, most dangerous of all, on a secret mission to Sweden's Baltic coast. The marine details are so authentic the reader can smell the oil and the brine, and the characters who come aboard and into the captain's life-a valuable Polish naval officer in exile, a Jewish refugee who becomes the ship's doctor, a Russian woman journalist fleeing the Soviets, with whom DeHaan enjoys a brief and dry-eyed romance-are sketched with concise brilliance. The book casts such a spell with its exact evocations of time, place and language that one could swear Furst was a Brit writing out of his own experience in 1941 rather than an American writing today. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Aug. 10) Forecast: Furst has been rapidly developing both his skills and his reputation as a master of that still-alluring world, and this is arguably his finest performance to date, likely to confirm old admirers and win many new ones. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Classic Furst: with his Dutch freighter disguised as a neutral Spanish ship, Capt. Eric DeHaan sails the roiling waters of World War II, carrying bombs and commandos for the British and taking on an assortment of refugees. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In his eighth novel plumbing the shadowy reaches of World War II, Furst (Blood of Victory) introduces DeHaan, a taciturn Dutchman who will lead a merchant marine crew in deeds of thrilling, if unexpected, valor. Within 19 months of the war's start, enemy forces have sunk 1,596 British and other Allied vessels. In a canny campaign to reverse the losses, the Royal Navy's Intelligence Division has enlisted unarmed tramp freighters to haul bombs and other classified cargo to Allied strongholds. DeHaan, whose country has been recently occupied by the Nazis, accepts a secret commission to join the war effort. His crew includes the usual maritime flotsam and jetsam adrift in the eddies of war and one exceptional Russian femme du monde. With profound understanding of the historic panorama, Furst subtly evokes the emotional and mental highs that resided at that time, even within the most ordinary and anonymous of citizens. Fans will not be disappointed by this spare but never terse adventure tale. For every fiction collection. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church City, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.