I have been reading spy novels by Alan Furst. He is rather considered the master of his niche genre (historical spy novels or some such). And with good reason. He’s an adept writer, his sense of history is spot-on, his characters are engaging and memorable, and his stories carry the right peppering of intrigue and the unexpected.
Most recently I read The Polish Officer: A Novel. (All of his novels carry the distinction “A Novel”, preumably because his history is so accurate otherwise.) Thus far this has proven to be my favorite.
One of the interesting aspects of his novels is that, though they do not follow the exploits of a single character (a la James Bond) a major character of one novel may appear as a very minor character or as a mere reference within another novel. By this method the reader is given the sense that these stories are all part of a larger tale. Often events take place in related places, as in the case of a famous Parisian restaurant through which many characters pass.
I highly recommend his works. I would go so far as to say that the novels I haven’t yet read are surely worth reading. If you are feeling apprehensive about following my opinion, start off with The Polish Officer and see where that takes you. I predict you’ll get the same delightful infection I did when I read my first Furst novel.
(For those keeping score I have read at least Night Soldiers, Dark Star, Foreign Correspondent, Kingdom of Shadows, Red Gold, and The World at Night.)