Midnight in Europe is the latest in a series of Novels by Alan Furst that take place in Europe just before or during World War II.
Midnight in Europe is set in Paris during the time of the Spanish Civil war. This is one of those wars that Americans don’t know much about and don’t really care much about. Unfortunately that was also the attitude of America and many other Western powers during the time of the war itself. This attitude left the legally elected government of Spain in a desperate fight against the Fascists and Nazi forces with almost no help from the outside.
The hero of the book it Cristian Ferrar, a successful Spanish lawyer who is a full partner in a major Paris law firm. He has a very comfortable life and is romantically involved with women in both Paris and New York. This all changes when he is approached by a representative of the Spanish Republic. Ferrar is asked to help the Republic help buy weapons to fight against Franco’s Fascists.
Ferrar agrees to help, and this brings him into a world he previously had never had direct contact with. Since it is illegal to send weapons to Spain, Ferrar must deal with gangsters, private arms brokers and many other unsavory characters. Being a lawyer, these were precisely the type of people he had previously taken great care to avoid.
This is an exciting and well written book. Cristian Ferrar is a very civilized man who as the book progresses begins to realize just how important it is to work against the truly evil Fascist and Nazi’s forces which seem unstoppable. It also becomes clear that if these forces win in Spain that their next stop could very well be Paris itself.
This book is made more effective by the fact that as readers we all know that the evil forces did win in Spain and that the Spanish Civil War was just a small rehearsal for World War II itself. You can’t help but wonder what might have happened if the world had paid a little more attention to what was going on in Spain, and if there had been a lot more Cristian Ferrar’s helping the fight against evil when it first started.