By Alan Furst
September 1939. As Warsaw falls to Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Captain Alexander de Milja is recruited through the intelligence carrier of the Polish underground. His undertaking: to move the nationwide gold reserve to safeguard, hidden on a refugee teach to Bucharest. Then, within the again alleys and black-market bistros of Paris, within the tenements of Warsaw, with partizan guerrillas within the frozen forests of the Ukraine, and at Calais Harbor in the course of an assault by way of British bombers, de Milja fights within the conflict of the shadows in a global with out principles, a global of chance, treachery, and betrayal.
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Additional resources for The Polish Officer: A Novel
Someone moaned softly, but mostly it was very dark and very quiet—the people packed together on the floor were breathing audibly, as though winded. A bullet from the forest went through the car and a triangle of glass fell on a seat without breaking. A silhouette rose suddenly in the middle of the car and returned the fire. As de Milja crawled along the aisle, the train moved. qxd 8/30/01 9:30 AM Page 32 32 • THE POLISH OFFICER forced off the track. The engineer is alive, he thought, using the locomotive like a bulldozer.
I have to go behind a tree,” he said in Polish. Then he faded away in the darkness and just kept going. He found what he believed to be the south bank of the Tisza, then a dirt track that someone might have intended as a road, then a bridge, where he could hear the unmistakable sounds of Russian soldiers getting drunk: singing, then arguing, then fighting, then weeping, then snoring. qxd 8/30/01 9:31 AM Page 43 RO O M 9 • 4 3 De Milja crossed the bridge a little after two in the morning; he was then in Soviet-occupied Poland.
The bandit did not quite believe that. ” Ukrainian executions lasted all day. De Milja did not react. “Hardheaded, you people,” the leader said. “You’re finished,” he went on. ” De Milja was silent. ” “No. qxd 8/30/01 9:30 AM Page 30 30 • THE POLISH OFFICER The bandit glanced back at the passenger coaches, de Milja followed his eyes. The passengers had their hands on the sides of the railcars, their baggage was laid out on the ground so that the bandits could pick and choose what they wanted.