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Sally Gilmartin can't escape her past.
Living in the idyllic English countryside in 1976, Sally is haunted
by her experiences during the Second World War. She also suspects
someone is trying to kill her. With mounting fear, Sally confides
with her daughter Ruth; a woman struggling with her own past. Sally
drops a bombshell. She is actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian
émigré recruited as a spy by the British prior to the Second World
War. For the past thirty years, Eva has led a second life hiding
from the ghosts of her past.
Eva reveals her secret to her daughter through a series of written
chapters for a planned book. As Ruth delves into her mother's
writing, she learns the shocking truth. Eva was recruited in Paris
prior to the Second World War, following the death of her brother
Kolia; also a British spy. Taught by an enigmatic spymaster named
Lucas Romer, Eva learned the art of espionage and was made part of
a unit specializing in media manipulation. Above all, she was
taught 'Rule Number One' of spying: trust no one - a rule broken
when she and Romer began a dangerous love affair. The affair had
In 1941, Eva and Romer were assigned to the United States. They
were given the task of manipulating the American media into
motivating the public to support entry into the war on the Allied
side. While in New York, Eva's affair with Romer set in motion
events that culminated in her betrayal and her flight from the
British Secret Services. She found eventual refuge in a new life as
Thirty years later, Eva's identity unravels with her confession to
her daughter. Ruth struggles with the truth, and her own recent
past fills her with self-doubt and insecurity. A failed
relationship in Germany resulted in a son and an eventual return to
England. Her mother's confession leads Ruth to the realization that
her mother is entangling her in one final mission - a showdown with
Eva's past betrayer.
Restless twists and turns through the double life of one
remarkable woman. Through Eva's life, William Boyd asks the
intriguing question - How well do we truly know someone?
From the Hardcover edition.