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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Furst’

Over the years I have had a number of requests to re-issue my first thriller, Time of The Wolf. It is still one of my favorites novels, and I am currently reprising its protagonist, Radok, in a couple of other loosely related novels that will form a triptych of postwar and early Cold War Europe. Today it goes on sale as a Kindle for just $2.99 with super new cover art from Peter Ratcliffe.

This book had a charmed life. It began as a dream of a cop descending a massive flight of stone steps outside a ministry of some sort. It was obvious in the dream it was a ministry and somewhere in Central Europe, and by the look of the fedoras and double-breasted suits, it was mid-century or earlier. The policeman, as he is bouncing down the stairs, thinks, “Just a death in death’s time. What does it matter?”

Well, it turned out it mattered a whole lot. I spent the next three years chasing that dream. I was fortunate enough to get early efforts of the manuscript to one of the all-time great agents, Al Zuckerman (Ken Follett was among dozens of other writers Al helped groom), who liked what he saw, but gave me an entirely new way to look at the story. He promised to take another look at it once I had revised. A year later, I sent in the revision. Fortunately, Al still remembered me. Three days later I had a two-book contract and money in the bank that would finance the writing of the second book. (more…)

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The Silence, the third novel in my Viennese Mysteries series, continues to earn kudos from reviewers. Library Journal, in a starred review, just called it an “intricately plotted, gracefully written, and totally immersive read,” while Kirkus Reviews, in its Februrary 1, 2012, edition, noted: “Jones’ measured, stately prose is perfectly in tune with his period setting and his hero’s intense intellectual curiosity. … His intricate plot unfolds with suspense and style.” My publishers have just contracted for the fourth in the series, due out next year.

Sorry for the horn-tooting, but to celebrate, I post here some of the unused portions of an extensive interview I did with Big Thrill contributor and author Gary Kriss:

Your novels can be seen as “place paradigms.” Can you explain the difference, if any, between setting and place? Further, could you explain the “place of place” in novels and, particularly, in thriller novels.

Well, the classic distinction is that setting is bigger than mere place or location; in addition,  it includes time in its broadest and narrowest senses, and even the weather. My Vienna novels are certainly heavily dependent on setting. It’s not just Vienna that is at the center of things, but that amazing, bubbling, schizophrenic place (at once revolutionary and stodgy) that is Vienna 1900. And the “place of place” or of setting in my fiction–absolutely central. From years of living in the city and from further years of researching the turn of the twentieth century in Vienna, I attempt a bit of time travel in each of the novels. I am in the time and place. I surround myself with visuals of Vienna 1900, listen to its music while I write, read the words of fiction and nonfiction writers of the time, keep a timeline of historical happenings handy. I personally like thrillers where the spirit of place is at work, as with Alan Furst. But the best of Le Carre depends on his pitch-perfect dialogue and very fallible characters. Lots of ways to skin that cat. (more…)

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Alan Furst exploded onto the espionage literary scene with his 1988 novel, Night Soldiers. A former Fulbright Teaching fellow at the Faculte des Lettres at the University of Montpellier, freelance writer for magazines, and author of four novels, Furst returned to France in the mid 1980s where he began writing for the International Herald Tribune. There he penned the first of his espionage novels, which has been followed in succession by ten further novels that take the reader into the interwar period in Eastern, Central, and Western Europe.

I must confess to a personal abiding admiration for that first novel, followed close upon by my love for The Polish Officer, from 1995. But each of Furst’s novels delivers a loving and endearing evocation of a particular time and place–Europe between the First and Second World Wars.

Dubbed “America’s preeminent spy novelist” by the New York Times, Furst, a native of Manhattan, has featured about every European capital you can think of, from Istanbul to Paris to Rome to Sofia. In his intricate, realistic, and believable narratives, Furst serves up protagonists (for he does not feature any one person in his novels) who risk their lives to fight against  evil in the world. That specific evil is Nazi power on the eve of World War II. (more…)

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