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It is Paris, 1939. Twenty-eight year old Eva Delectorskaya is at the funeral of her beloved younger brother. Standing among her family and friends she notices a stranger. Lucas Romer is a patrician looking Englishman with a secretive air and a persuasive manner. He also has a mysterious connection to Kolia, Eva’s murdered brother. Romer recruits Eva and soon she is traveling to Scotland to be trained as a spy and work for his underground network. After a successful covert operation in Belgium, she is sent to New York City, where she is involved in manipulating the press in order to shift American public sentiment toward getting involved in WWII.
Three decades on and Eva has buried her dangerous history. She is now Sally Gilmartin, a respectable English widow, living in a picturesque Cotswold village. No one, not even her daughter Ruth, knows her real identity. But once a spy, always a spy.…[more]
Sprawling between three continents and two historical eras, William Boyd’s lushly atmospheric novel cements his reputation as the heir to the grand narrative traditions of Joseph Conrad and W. Somerset Maugham. The novel opens in Los Angeles in 1936, when architect kay Fischer is approached by an elderly man named Salvador Carriscant, who claims to be her father—and who insists that she accompany him to Lisbon in a search for the great lost love of his life.
En route to Portugal, Carriscant, a former surgeon in the war-torn Philippines, tells Kay the story behind her secret parentage. Set against the sultry blue afternoons of Manila in 1902, his is a tale of grisly murders, ghastly medical rivalries, and the making of a miraculous flying machine. it is also the story of an illicit passion that will consume Carriscant’s life and his daughters’ imagination.
Suspenseful, stylishly written, and teeming with historical detail, The Blue Afternoon is a triumph.
In the heart of a civil war-torn African nation, primate researcher Hope Clearwater made a shocking discovery about apes and man…
Young, alone, and far from her family in Britain, Hope Clearwater contemplates the extraordinary events that left her washed up like driftwood on Brazzaville Beach. It is here, on the distant, lonely outskirts of Africa, where she must come to terms with the perplexing and troubling circumstances of her recent past. For Hope is a survivor of the devastating cruelities of apes and humans alike. And to move forward, she must first grasp some hard and elusive truths: about marriage and madness, about the greed and savagery of charlatan science…and about what compels seemingly benign creatures to kill for pleasure alone.
In the small African republic of Kinjanja, British diplomat Morgan Leafy bumbles heavily through his job. His love of women, his fondness for drink, and his loathing for the country prove formidable obstacles on his road to any kind of success. But when he becomes an operative in Operation Kingpin and is charged with monitoring the front runner in Kinjanja’s national elections, Morgan senses an opportunity to achieve real professional recognition and, more importantly, reassignment.
After he finds himself being blackmailed, diagnosed with a venereal disease, attempting bribery, and confounded with a dead body, Morgan realizes that very little is going according to plan.
Here is the “riotous and disorganized reality” of Mountstuart’s eighty-five years in all their extraordinary, tragic and humorous aspects. The journals begin with his boyhood in Montevideo, Uruguay; then move to Oxford in the 1920s and the publication of his first book; then on to Paris (where he meets Joyce, Picasso, Hemingway, et al.) and to Spain where he covers the civil war. During World War II, we see him as an agent for Naval Intelligence, becoming embroiled in a murder scandal that involves the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The postwar years bring him to New York as an art dealer in the world of 1950s abstract expressionism, then on to West Africa, to London (where he has a run-in with the Baader-Meinhof Gang) and, finally, to France where, in his old age, he acquires a measure of hard-won serenity.
A moving, ambitious and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.
1914. In a hotel room in German East Africa, American farmer Walter Smith dreams of Theodore Roosevelt. As he sleeps, a railway passenger swats at flies, regretting her decision to return to the Dark Continent—and to her husband. On a faraway English riverbank, a jealous Felix Cobb watches his brother swim, and curses his sister-in-law-to-be. And in the background of the world’s daily chatter: rumors of an Anglo-German conflict, the likes of which no one has ever seen.
In An Ice-Cream War, William Boyd brilliantly evokes the private dramas of a generation upswept by the winds of war. After his German neighbor burns his crops—with an apology and a smile—Walter Smith takes up arms on behalf of Great Britain. And when Felix’s brother marches off to defend British East Africa, he pursues, against his better judgment, a forbidden love affair. As the sons of the world match wits and weapons on a continent thousands of miles from home, desperation makes bedfellows of enemies and traitors of friends and family. By turns comic and quietly wise, An Ice-Cream War deftly renders lives capsized by violence, chance, and the irrepressible human capacity for love.