Last night I finished AlanFurst's latest novel, Spies of the Balkans. I have read all his books, and each is excellent in its own right. The title is a bit misleading, because the main character is a policeman and works more at thwarting Nazis than spying. But, that does not matter. The story is interesting and the characters, as always with this author, are unique and credible.
His novels are set in the late Thirties and early Forties in Nazi dominated Europe. The author captures the feeling of the period better than most. Of course, Germans are the bad guys (such convenient villains), even if a few try to act nobly. The heroes are more anti-hero, being cops, newspapermen, minor diplomats, filmmakers, and the like. Some are forced to work at low level espionage by circumstances and insistent government officials, but all try to help themselves and others less fortunate. This is real life, not James Bond or Hollywood stuff. The settings are also less glamorous yet evocative, such as Warsaw or Salonika, where people are forced to survive in a world gone haywire.
These books are a good way to spend a few hours visiting an interesting period and imagining circumstances no one wants to experience.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.