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Alex Kovacs Books In Order

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Publication Order of Alex Kovacs Books

Vienna at Nightfall (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spies of Zurich (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lyon Resistance (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Limoges Dilemma (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Paris in Disguise (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Agony of France (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
To Normandy and Beyond (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Alpine Pursuit (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adrift in Istanbul (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Budapest in Pieces (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Escape from Estonia (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bucharest Unbound (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Alex Kovacs is a series of historical novels by Richard Wake, who has made his name writing historical fiction set in pre-World War II and World War II Europe. Before he became an acclaimed author, Wake was a journalist and worked as a columnist, newspaper reporter, and editor. He had always aspired to become a fiction author and had a huge interest in Historical fiction of the interwar period. Through the “Alex Kovacs” series he finally made his dream come true. “Vienna at Nightfall” the first novel of the series was first published in 2018 and Wake has proved to be a prolific author with three more titles written within a year of the publication of his debut. The first three novels of the series tell the story of the turbulent years of the interwar period and stretch into the invasion of France and the subsequent resistance.

The Alex Kovacs Series are historical espionage thrillers similar to the novels of Alan Furst. They are set in a world similar to that inhabited by the likes of Bernie Gunther the lead in Philip Kerr’s novels. It is a world in which moral ambiguity and looming terror exist side by side to make for one of the most intriguing thrillers. They do a very good job of providing a sense of place during the troubled times of the 1930s. The lead in the novels is Alex Kovacs, a Viennese originally from Brno in Czechoslovakia. He works as a salesman selling to manufacturers in Germany while working undercover for the Czechoslovakia government. In the first novel of the series “Vienna at Nightfall,” the author tells of the rising nationalism in Germany. It chronicles the beginnings of the political struggles in Austria and Europe and the rise in popularity of the Nazis in Germany. The second novel in the series “The Spies of Zurich” chronicles the life of the lead at the outbreak of the war. He had fled Vienna and is now living in Zurich and continuing to work in finance as a front for his spying operations. But his work is not that satisfying as most of the plans that he unearths including the Germans using Swiss banks, the invasion plans among others are ignored. In the third novel of the series “The Lyon Resistance,” Kovacs is living in Lyon France. He is married and is looking forward to the birth of his baby. Both he and his wife are working for the French resistance during the occupation. He helps smuggle Jews out of Europe with the help of an unexpected friend though a very dangerous enemy also turns up.

“Vienna at Nightfall” the first novel of the series is a coming to age story for Alex Kovacs a man in his thirties. Alex Kovacs is living in Vienna Austria just before the country is taken over by Nazi Germany. He is a single man enjoying life in the capital and believes he has a bright future. But then things start changing as in Germany there is a rising tide of nationalism that threatens to destroy his dream. The nationalism seems antagonistic towards people deemed not to be of German ethnic extraction. There are bullies and thugs attacking Jews in the name of Adolf Hitler the Fuhrer. Kovacs works at his family’s magnesite mining company, which means he frequently travels from Vienna to Germany to visit customers. He has a revulsion for the rising tide of the Nazis though he does not have the courage to take an open stand against them. He just cannot bring himself to criticize the Germans since their steel factories are some of his biggest clients. Moreover, navigating the beliefs of his social circle in Vienna and the warped values of his German clientele can be morally exhausting. But everything changes when Otto his believed mentor and uncle turns up dead and Alex needs to come out of his self-preservation mode and do something against the Nazis. He needs to make a stand in an extraordinarily disruptive period of history.

“The Spies of Zurich” the second novel of the Alex Kovacs series is set in 1939 just after the invasion of Poland by Germany. World War II is underway but it is not yet clear when Hitler will make a major move towards one of his biggest enemies – France. Czechoslovakia and Austria had fallen in quick succession and Kovacs had fled to go live in Zurich. He is now working as a banker though he is still spying for the Czechs. He now has a huge circle of friends from the espionage community who think they have Hitler figured out including how Hitler will invade and his financing for the invasion. But even with all the good information that he has unearthed, no one in authority will listen to him. Some of the information he found include the use of Swiss banks by the Nazis and detailed invasion plans, which would have been very useful if someone would just listen to him. But given that he is an amateur and only part-time spy, the higher-ups do not take him seriously.

“The Lyon Resistance” the third novel of the Alex Kovacs series is set in France, which has been overrun by the Nazis. The Gestapo is spreading its terror among the populace and no one is safe. Kovacs and his wife had joined the French resistance soon after Paris fell, but it is at enormous risk to both their lives. Manon his wife is originally from Lyon and they head there to continue working as espionage agents just as they did in Zurich. They had been disillusioned by the authorities in Switzerland that never took them seriously, which had led to the French being steamrolled by the Nazis. They are now part of resistance cell working to sabotage the German occupation in whatever way they can. But the danger of what they are doing continues to grow even as its effects on the occupation are minimal. Alex is soon forced to make a huge decision – will he risk everything for the cause and his family. While he is surrounded by friends, his nemesis Werner Vogl whom he had clashed with in Zurich and Vienna makes an appearance in France. His life and the welfare of his family have never been in so much danger.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Alex Kovacs

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