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"And we have a little package for you...",
This review is from: Waiting for Sunrise (Hardcover)Lysander Rief is an actor, living in Vienna, his mother has Viennese parentage but his father, who died some time ago, was also an actor - quite a famous and respected one. His mother married again - a man with military connections this time. Lysander is in Vienna to see a psychoanalyst, Dr Bensimon who is endeavouring to cure him of an intimate and embarrassing sexual condition (non-emission). It seems a cure is on its way via something called parallelism - but certainly helped along by a young woman, Hettie Bull, with whom the difficulties seem to be cured. But this soon becomes the least of his problems when Hettie is announces she is pregnant and Lysander is accused of a criminal act.
This is just the first move in a remarkable story of espionage in the early part of the First World War, with Lysander's enlistment as an agent and his exploits on and off the battlefield. In a final twist Lysander has both to unmask a traitor and at the same time protect the reputation of someone very close to him. The means by which he performs this feat is the final brilliant manoeuvre of the book.
I was captivated by the atmosphere of distrust and danger Boyd creates in this book. While it does not repeat the polymathic universalism of his best book (Any Human Heart) it very convincingly follows Lysander's exploits from Vienna to a Welsh village, to the battle front in Belgium, back to London and on to the finale on Hampstead Heath. This was a totally thrilling and compelling read.