Kingdom of Shadows from Alan Furst

Welcome to Night Soldiers, the brilliant series by one of our most accomplished writers of espionage novels.

Meet Nicholas Morath, 44, an aristocratic Hungarian living in Paris, where he is a partner in an advertising firm. His uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, is a senior diplomat in the Hungarian mission to France who is engaged in organizing the resistance to Hitler in Eastern Europe. World War II hasn’t yet started in earnest. Germany’s Anschluss with Austria is still weeks away, and the occupation of the Czech Sudetenland on the distant horizon. But Polanyi sees the future with clarity. He presses his nephew into taking on a dangerous mission in Budapest . . . and the trouble begins.


Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers #6) by Alan Furst (2001) 274 pages ★★★★★


Morath, known as Nicky to Cara, his young Argentine lover, is one of those world-weary Europeans who surely abounded on the Continent during the fateful years of the 1930s. “He was doomed to live with a certain heaviness of soul, not despair, but the tiresome weight of pushing back against it. It had cost him a wife, long ago, an engagement that never quite led to marriage, and had ended more than one affair since then.” As war approaches, Morath’s already complicated life becomes ever more challenging. His work for his uncle exposes him to grave danger. The stakes grow as the months go by. And the suspense increases apace.

The finely crafted series from Alan Furst

Kingdom of Shadows is the sixth of the thirteen novels in Alan Furst‘s Night Soldiers series. Each of these finely crafted stories features its own protagonist, typically a man in early middle age engaged in (or about to become engaged in) a love affair who is reluctantly drawn into a role in espionage. The setting shifts from the Balkans to Iberia and Paris to Warsaw, but the cast of characters often overlaps. In this manner, Furst has created a finely textured portrait of Europe before and during World War II.

For reviews of some of Furst’s other historical espionage novels, search on this site for Spies of the Balkans, Red Gold, Midnight in Europe, and Mission to Paris. 

For further reading

The author is one of The best spy novelists writing today.

This book is included in The evocative Night Soldiers series from Alan Furst.

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