In 1940, Greece is on edge as countries around it fall to the Axis powers. Special Officer Costa Zannis, stationed in the port city of Salonika, becomes tangled in the affairs of diplomats, spies, soldiers, and dissidents as he realizes what will happen if the Nazis achieve their plans. In Spies Of The Balkans (Random House, $15) Alan Furst creates moving characters caught in a moment where inaction is surrender and moral decisions have deadly outcomes.
Frank Deford’s novel Bliss, Remembered (Overlook, set against the ominous backdrop of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where the confident, young, and naive American falls in love with the charming son a German diplomat. Their passionate affair falters as their nations, and their perspectives, are confronted by war. The novel discusses whether love and politics can co-exist, and whether love once lost can be regained, or even if it should be.
Marie and Wim are a childless Dutch couple living peacefully in their suburban home when World War II breaks out. Reluctantly, they accept Nico, a Jewish man in his mid-50s, into their home as a clandestine refugee. In lean, translucent prose, Hans Keilson explores the internal, quotidian world of Wim and Marie as they continue with life-as- usual under extraordinary circumstances. However, Keilson, who died earlier this summer at the age of 101, exerts himself as a master of the modern novel when he takes an average story of lives troubled and lost during the Holocaust and infuses it with dark humor and macabre irony. After Nico dies of natural causes while in hiding, the Dutch couple is left with a dilemma: how to dispose of the body? When circumstances force Marie and Wim to flee their own home, Comedy In A Minor Key (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $13) explodes into a subito piano.
(This book cannot be returned.)