Restless by William BoydRestless by William Boyd


byWilliam Boyd

Paperback | May 29, 2007

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 105 plum® points

Ships within 1-2 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


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 tragic consequences.

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 Sally Gilmartin.

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.

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.
William Boyd is the author of eight novels, including A Good Man in Africa, An Ice Cream War and Any Human Heart. Born in Ghana, Africa in 1952, Boyd often sets his novels in far-off exotic locations in the tradition of Graham Greene. From Manila to the deep American South, Boyd’s novels traverse time and place exploring the human co...
Title:RestlessFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 0.7 inPublished:May 29, 2007Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679314792

ISBN - 13:9780679314790

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautifully Organized After reading this novel, I began to consider the hidden stories that exist in everyone's life - the events that make us the people that we are, and the intimate details that we just don't know about the people that we consider close to us. The anomaly that is Eva Delectorskaya reminds us all that we lead exciting lives. This isn't by any means a life changing book but it is exquisitely written and beautifully organized. Wonderful summer read!
Date published: 2007-11-05

Bookclub Guide

1. What drives Eva to join the British secret services? Is she motivated solely by a desire to avenge her brother Kolia’s death?2. How does Eva’s background make her an excellent recruit for the world of espionage?3. In becoming a secret agent, what part of her humanity does Eva sacrifice?4. Lucas Romer instructs Eva that ‘Rule Number One’ of espionage is to not trust anyone. If an agent can’t trust anyone, can they ultimately remain loyal to their nation?5. Eva notes Romer’s tendency to order oysters when dining with her; considering the aphrodisiac a symbol of their relationship. Romer also discourages Eva from receiving extensive arms training. How is sex used as the ultimate weapon in the novel?6. Romer’s AAS Ltd. specializes in media distortion: creating misleading stories that are planted with legitimate news agencies. The goal is to influence the course of world events. Consider the current war in Iraq and the role the media played in the build up to the American invasion in 2003?7. How does Eva’s past prevent her from showing more affection towards her daughter Ruth?8. Timothy Thoms concludes that Lucas Romer was a Soviet agent working at keeping the United States from joining Britain against Nazi Germany, thus allowing the Soviet Union to defeat Germany on her own terms and preventing an American post-war presence in Western Europe. Yet, prior to the Soviet counterattack of Dec. 5, 1941, the Soviet Union would have been desperate for American aid as the fall of Moscow was a real danger. Since Romer and his team were present in the United States prior to Dec. 1941 (during the Soviet Union’s darkest hours), is it not more likely that Romer was a German agent since Germany had more to gain at this stage than Russia in keeping the United States out of the war?9. At the end of the novel, Eva is seemingly caught off guard when her daughter Ruth asks about Uncle Kolia. The author writes that Eva repeats Uncle Kolia’s name as if testing the phrase, savouring its unfamiliarity. In carrying a number of identities throughout her lifetime, has Eva lost her sense of identity and personal history?10. The novel highlights extensive efforts by the BSC to influence American foreign policy. Was the BSC justified in attempting to draw an isolationist nation into the Second World War? Consider the following scenario: Prior to the Iraq War, the CIA uses similar tactics to the BSC in an attempt to draw Canada into the war. Would the United States have been justified in carrying out such actions?

Editorial Reviews

“Boyd has written a crackling spy thriller, but more than that, he has evoked the atmosphere of wartime espionage: the clubby, grubby moral accommodations, the paranoia, the tense sexuality.” –The New York Times“Restless is hard to put down. It’s entertaining, thought-provoking and educational.” –Edmonton Journal“William Boyd has cleverly drawn from a rather obscure bit of espionage lore to craft a tale about how unknowable we really are to one another–even to those with whom we are seemingly most intimate.” –The Gazette (Montreal)“Restless is a brilliant story that sends the reader caroming between the 1940s . . . and the 1970s. . . . The book’s accurate history, intricate plot, complex characters and occasionally elegant diction make Restless not only a story with appeal for both sexes but also a potentially cinematic one.” –The Vancouver Sun“A clever and touching dance through the ghostly, illusion-strewn world of invented identities.” –National PostPraise for William Boyd:“There’s hardly a writer around whose work offers more pleasure and satisfaction.” –The Washington Post“A gutsy writer . . . William Boyd is good company to keep.”–Time“Mr. Boyd seems singularly blessed with both an innate love of storytelling and the talent to render those stories in swift, confident prose.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times“A remarkably elastic, eclectic work. . . . Boyd has never been afraid to stretch himself, either thematically or stylistically.” –The Globe and Mail “One of the most skilful and appealing writers at work today.” –The Atlantic Monthly“Boyd has an exceptional ability to tell a really compelling story, in dense imaginative detail, about characters with complex, and convincing, emotional lives.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review