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Restless [Paperback]

William Boyd
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Kindle Edition 3.66  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 3.85  
Paperback, 2 Jan 2007 5.59  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged 39.79  
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Book Description

2 Jan 2007
It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian emigree living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva has carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother. But once a spy, always a spy. Now she must complete one final assignment, and this time Eva can't do it alone: she needs her daughter's help.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747586209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747586203
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Boyd is the author of ten novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard & Judy selection, and most recently, the bestselling Ordinary Thunderstorms.

(Photo credit: Eamonn McCabe)

Product Description


`A hypnotic read, effortlessly accelerating towards a moral
reckoning' -- Jonathan Beckman, Daily Mail

`Boyd is English fiction's master storyteller ... Restless is that
rare thing: a spy thriller from a first-rate narrative intelligence' -- Independent on Sunday

`Boyd is one of our finest storytellers, and he's at his best in
this wonderfully atmospheric espionage thriller' -- Sunday Express

`Fast moving, densely plotted, beautifully observed and probably
one of the best things Boyd has done' -- Esquire

`Heart-stoppingly exciting ... a riveting tale of wartime
derring-do' -- Time Out

Book Description

The Richard & Judy bestseller, the BBC TV series is now available on DVD --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new genre for Boyd - and he masters it well 31 May 2007
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Although a fan of Boyd's writing, I was quite pleased to see his latest novel, Restless, was something of a departure from his usual storyline centring on a bumbling Englishman plauged with absurd misfortune, usually in some exotic setting. It's always a test of a good writer to see if they can pull off a story in a different genre to their staple area - and Boyd passes the test.

Restless is a spy thriller, with two strong and interesting central characters, fast paced, well plotted, and with a couple of good, original twists. The story is told in alternating first and third person chapters; the first person narrator being Ruth, a single mother in 1970s Britain; the third person narrative telling the story of Eva, a young woman recruited into the murky world of British spying/propaganda in Europe and America during WWII. The lives of the two overlap in modern times as Eva turns out to be Ruth's mother - now living an apparently ordinary life as an English widow - and has decided the time has come to settle some old scores.

Boyd's writing style is always a pleasure to read, and lends itself surprisingly well to this genre. His attention to detail and ability to make the mundane seem interesting, as well as bringing out the absurdities of life, are ideal for creating atmosphere and setting the scene, and it seemed somehow much more plausible than many spy stories.

The idea of combining the war era with peace times isn't entirely original, but it did work quite well here and brought home the story's central point of how spy work changed the mindset of a person forever.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it very gripping - one of those it's difficult to put down. Maybe not a book that would stay with me forever, but certainly a good read whilst it lasts. I would place Boyd up there along with masters like Le Carre, and would look forward to reading anything else he writes in this genre.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you really know your mother? 2 May 2009
It is 1976 and Ruth Gilmartin is a single mother living in Oxford with five-year-old son Jochen and getting by teaching English to foreign students. Sally, her mother, now in her seventies, lives an hour away by car and they see each other regularly at weekends. It is on one such hot summer Saturday that Sally hands her daughter a large file of loose pages to read and, in so doing, introduces Ruth to Eva Delectorskaya, beautiful Eva, multi-lingual Russian émigrée living in Paris in 1939, soon to become a wartime British spy and Ruth's mother.

From here on Boyd skilfully, wonderfully interleaves the unfolding story of Eva Delectorskaya during those war years with the here and now of 1976, as Sally Gilmartin, once again the spy, inveigles her daughter into one last assignment. The use of two time-lapsed stories is seamless, working perfectly to develop the total picture; when reading a chapter of Eva's racy history I found myself itching to get back to Ruth's here and now, and when catching up on Ruth's life and her mother's calculating plan I was desperate to know what happened next with Eva.

Boyd delivers a gripping, grass-roots story of disinformation and subterfuge, more in the vein of Alec Lemas than James Bond, where brain is more important than brawn and only the sharpest minds survive. And Eva Delectorskaya is not only very beautiful but very, very sharp.

Enjoy this book.
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85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story - LOUSY Kindle edition 31 Aug 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed the story and am a fan of Boyd's writing in general.
But the Kindle edition has very low production values. Missing words, the same names spelled different ways in different places, extra hyphens for no apparent reason. And not just the odd instance, but many of them. It's as little as though they have used some poor OCR and failed to proof read properly. I'm not massively picky about such things, but this was so bad it distracted from the book. I wouldn't mind if the Kindle editions were cheaper than the physical book, but at these prices proper quality is a must. Will be complaining direct to Amazon.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best 12 Mar 2007
By helen
Somehow I'd been thinking William Boyd had got a little tired lately, wondering whether he'd lost his magic touch... But no - he most definitely hasn't. This book is an absolute masterpiece. The two-pronged storylines of an exciting and glamorous spy during the 1940s on the on hand, and the - as many people have observed - much more mundane life of her daughter, set in Oxford of the Seventies, are cunningly and fascinatingly interlinked. One could write a whole thesis about the echoing effects in those two lives... But the whole point is: This is an incredibly entertaining, and as blurb- writers use to say "unputdownable" novel. I would definitely recommend it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 1 Dec 2007
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Ruth is a single mother who teaches English as a second language in Oxford, England. One day her mother hands her the first installment in her autobiography, and Ruth discovers that everything she thought she knew about her mother's background is a lie, and that her mother was actually a secret agent by the name of Eva, who worked for the British immediately prior to and during WW2.

From here, the book alternates between Ruth's life in the present day and her mother's story during the war. Like Ruth, I found myself caught up in the spy saga and hungry to see how it developed. William Boyd has done a great job of creating a plausible and intriguing storyline for Eva - more John le Carre than James Bond. While he captures the isolation of Eva's world and the mundane elements of her job, the story also builds with genuine tension and pace. Ruth's life, on the other hand, is more prosaic, but as she gets caught up in her mother's story, she loses her jaded view of the world and starts to see potential intrigue in the people and events around her.

This is an easy book to read and I enjoyed it very much. The details about Eva's training and life as a spy felt real and fascinating to me. The twists and turns in her story kept me hooked without feeling contrived or false. As I read the book I could feel it building towards some kind of climax but I had absolutely no idea where it would go. The mother's and daughter's stories eventually intersect in a way that I found very satisfying. I thought it was a great read from start to finish.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - Fast moving story
I've not read William Boyd previously. I had tried Any Human Heart, but didn't like it. However 'Restless' is in one of my favourite genres and I really enjoyed it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marysk2010
1.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading
Found it very slow and had to go back and fore to check out the characters, reasonable storyline and will appeal to readers who like a thriller that does not involve any really... Read more
Published 2 months ago by frances sage
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!
This was recommended to me by Cornerstones UK Literary Consultancy on what it takes to write a compelling wartime fictional thriller. Boy, were they right. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephen F Foley
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual spy story.
An intriguing novel which has two stories running parallel .....a mother and daughter. As it unfolds, it is impossible to put down. Lovers of spy stories this is for you. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs J M Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Unable to put this book down even though this is not the first time I have read it. The heroine is vulnerable yet triumphant at the same time. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elbee
5.0 out of 5 stars Restless
A very enjoyable read. Makes you wonder if we ever really know our parents.A very believable story of spies and politics in World War Two and yet links up to the later world very... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elizabeth Sinclair
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing
After "Any human heart" I expected something at the same level. During reading "Restless" I couldn't resist feeling that Boyd was practicing writing on this novel. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maria
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It
This is the first, and only, William Boyd I have read and I loved it. A friend recommended it and I would also recommend
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I Spy.......
I think the proverbial curate would find parts to enjoy in this spy thriller, but the plot hinges on basic assumptions that have the whiff of contrivance about them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael Farman
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
Mystery, excellent characters and setting. High-quality writing, interesting character names.I did not guess the ending so good twists throughout. Clever.
Published 5 months ago by Bluebell
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