Choices. Alan Furst’s latest spy novel is titled, Spies of the Balkans. Set in Salonika, Greece in 1940, protagonist Constantine Zannis faces personal and professional choices as rumors of a Nazi invasion grow. Furst presents and develops Zannis as an ordinary and likeable character who is presented with choices during crisis. As a reader, I was compelled to reflect on whether or not I would have made the same heroic choices that Zannis does in this book. I concluded that his personal courage far exceeded my own, but remained believable. When asked to assist in the safe transport of Jews from central Europe through Greece to Turkey, Zannis readily responded with skill. Beyond fine character development, what Furst does well in this book as in his earlier work is to describe the places and period with such care that readers feel immersed in the situations presented. Any reader who loves this period and genre will find much to appreciate from these pages.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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