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Waiting for Sunrise Paperback – 1 Jan 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 303 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Export ed edition (1 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408835274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408835272
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (303 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,579,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A truly gripping, hugely atmospheric and vastly complicated spy thriller Daily Mirror A book which immerses the reader in the coffee-house capital to create a highly accomplished romantic thriller -- Christian House Independent on Sunday A pacy and involving page-turner that explores the myriad ways we lie to ourselves and others Daily Mail Superb; hand-on-heart, may-the-Lord-strike-me-down-terrific -- Charles Cumming Spectator An intricately plotted world of spies, lies and the double cross Sunday Telegraph A gleeful celebration of storytelling - sly,clever, frequently hilarious,always involving ... the literary event of the year The Times

Book Description

A thrilling, plot-twisting new novel set in Europe during the first world war, from the bestselling author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It makes a change to have a spy thriller set in Vienna around the turn of the first world war and William Boyd gets to grips with this one very well. In fact, if you hadn't read the blurb, you might be thinking this was a rather lame love affair doomed to failure thanks to the up and coming horror of the war.

But Lysander Rief, there's a name and a half, up-and-coming actor is drawn into the spying game little by little and he turns out to be rather good at it. Whilst trying to sort out his psychological problems with a colleague of Freud in Vienna, he is asked to obtain the code in order to break secret messages emanating from the UK and finishing up where they shouldn't be! He does this with such aplomb that, despite a near death situation, he is then rehabilitated to London, his personal problems resolved and so the fun begins.

The author weaves an excellent spy chase from this point. Rief's earlier contacts catch up with him, he finds himself investigating a spy who may well be more closely connected that he would wish and those around him each appear to be the possible suspect. The ending is odd. To explain it gives away too much information but there we are. I enjoyed the book. The atmosphere in Austria and in London is excellently described especially given the fast approaching circumstances. The inclusion of a Zeppelin adds a little flavour to the mix and the storyline makes you turn the pages. Whether or not there is room for a follow-on remains to be seen but the main protagonist is a character who could be developed for future forays into the spying world, after all, who better than an actor to confuse the enemy.
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By Matt TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his novel Restless, William Boyd pulled off the difficult trick of marrying a tense wartime thriller with an affecting study of a daughter coming to terms with the knowledge that her mother is not the person she thought she knew. The result was a book that had the compulsive appeal of a commercial page-turner with the satisfying emotional depth of the literary fiction Boyd is known for. In his latest title, Waiting For Sunrise, he attempts the same feat - sadly, the results this time are less successful, and it adds up to a disappointing and disjointed whole.

The main problem with Waiting For Sunrise is it appears to be two disparate novels cobbled together. It begins in pre-WWI Vienna as we follow a young English actor, Lysander Rief, who has come to seek a cure for a debilitating sexual problem through psychoanalysis. During his stay he meets a free-spirited sculptor, Hettie Bull, and they begin an intense affair which apparently cures his 'problem'. All seems to be going well when Lysander suddenly finds himself in serious trouble and has to return to England. From that point the novel morphs into an espionage thriller, with Lysander pressured into assisting the War Office with breaking a secret code and unmasking a traitor.

In fact, both these plot strands are gripping, up to a point; we get a fascinating glimpse of pre-war Europe, an insight into psychoanalysis and a passionate love story in the first section, while the spy story is genuinely thrilling for the most part, with plot twists galore and almost every supporting character coming under suspicion. It even begins to seem that these two halves of the story may be connected after all, and I was enjoying the book a great deal...until the last few chapters.
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By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a highly readable novel which will keep you turning pages into the night...The story focuses around the character of Lysander Rief, a young English actor who is drawn by events into the world of wartime spies. Opening in 1913, in Vienna, shortly before the outbreak of war, the story is driven along by the chance meeting, and subsequent tempestuous relationship, of Lysander, and a young English sculptress. Arrested for a crime he did not commit, Lysander finds the consequences taking over his life, taking him deeper and deeper into a chain of events in which nothing is quite what it seems.

As always with William Boyd, this is superbly crafted fiction, beautifully written, and compulsive reading

Superb - highly recommended
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Format: Kindle Edition
The only negative about this new William Boyd book is that it takes no time at all to read and then you have another two years or so to wait for another one.

Waiting for Sunrise, which took me about a week to consume, is vintage Boyd and doesn't disappoint. It's a thrilling spy thriller with a human story, which starts in Vienna before the outbreak of the First World War in late 1913, and ends in London about two years later.

The main protagonist is a handsome actor, Lysander Rief, who decides to go to Vienna to seek a cure for a complaint which is preventing him from marrying his actress fiance, Blanche. But as the weeks turn into months, the young Englishman gets entangled in much more than The River of Sex, which one of his newly found friends at the guest house tells him runs below the surface of the respectable Viennese society; or parallelism, the cure his doctor has prescribed to Lysander.

Having escaped back to London, in 1914 as war breaks out Lysander, in a moment of madness, enlists and briefly becomes a private in the army. He serves at an interment camp near Swansea, where the army makes use of his German language skills. But he's soon transferred to another department for some more interesting duties, a dangerous commission he is unable to refuse.

With his new duties, Lysander Rief's life becomes increasingly unpredictable and dangerous. He feels like a puppet controlled by strings, held by unknown people. He's sent to Geneva on a mission, and barely surviving it, begins to mistrust everyone around him.

As the story weaves between Vienna, Geneva and London, the reader, just as Lysander, is unsure who's speaking the truth and who's lying. Who is sincere and who is acting. 'We all act all the time', Blanche says at one point.
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