Friday, January 11, 2013

Staff Pick - Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (M) is a spy novel and literary thriller set during World War I which is steeped in psychoanalytic thinking. Handsome young actor Lysander Rief travels to Vienna to seek a psychoanalytic cure for his sexual difficulties. He is intrigued by a theatre poster featuring  an alluring young woman and is later surprised to find that same young woman is a patient of his psychoanalyst.  They have a passionate affair and he is shocked to find he has been charged with rape. The machinations to remove him from Austria and on to safety put him in the path of and debt to British Intelligence. Thus begins his role as a spy. He proves that he can think on his feet and engage in the brutal and nasty business of spying, but not without psychological toll. On the surface, he is an ordinary man caught up in circumstances beyond his control, yet he must prove again and again that he has the mettle to cope.

This spy novel is layered with plot twists, deceptions and betrayals. Rief must come to question every relationship in his life, even the most intimate. The story is fast paced and peopled with well-developed characters which lend depth and subtlety to the story.

The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene. (M "For Arthur Rowe the charity fĂȘte was a trip back to childhood, to innocence, a welcome chance to escape the terror of the Blitz, to forget twenty years of his past and a murder...Then he guesses the weight of the cake, and from that moment on he’s a hunted man, the target of shadowy killers, on the run and struggling to remember and to find the truth." publisher

The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst. (M) "War is coming to Europe. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attachĂ©, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations. Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amid an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters–Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence; the mysterious and sophisticated Dr. Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier’s brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed." publisher

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