My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is underpinned by amazingly detailed research from which everybody can learn something. The awful European events of the nid-thirties to the mid-forties form a strong background for the main story. The geography across which the hero’s life meanders is meticulously described, especially the Danube.
Baulgarian [Nikko] Khristo Stoianev is recruited into the NKVD and is the star student during his training in Russia. He is sent to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, but soon finds himself in danger of becoming a victim of one of Stalin’s purges, and flees to France.
There are so many characters and locations in this book that it becomes very complex and difficult to follow. In my opinion, the story could have benefitted from being split into a trilogy of self-contained, but connected, stories.
Although there were many gripping action-packed periods, and lots of intrigue and deception, I found myself trudging wearily through much of this book. It is very difficult to put my finger on what made Night Soldiers so laborious, as there is so much in it which should keep my interest, but that is just the way that the book took me.
I am happy to have read Night Soldiers, but it has served to promote other books up my to-read list ahead of my next Alan Furst.