TITLE: Dark Voyage
AUTHOR: Alan Furst
Usually, in a World War II espionage spy novel by Furst, the reader spends time with only the protagonist throughout the story; perhaps a secondary character or two also stick around for most of the book. But this time, the action focuses on Capt. Eric DeHaan of the Dutch freighter Noordendam and the ship's crew, a group that covers a number of nationalities and languages. The time is spring of 1941, and DeHaan and the Noordendam are enlisted to aid the war effort against Germany by having the ship pose as a Spanish freighter in order to engage in top secret missions, smugglers saboteurs and arms. DeHaan is a typical Furst hero, an ordinary man who, due to circumstances, finds himself in extraordinary situations, needing to rely on his intelligence and instinct for survival to complete his missions. He also needs to rely on his crew, and by the end of the book, I had grown quite fond of all of them. I don't consider Furst's novels to be pageturners, but they are compelling thanks to the realism, a product of the author's extensive research. This one is no exception.