Friday, 1 June 2012
Set during the Second World War, the bilingual Marian Sutro is recruited by the "Inter-Services Research Bureau" and is trained in espionage ostensibly to aid the French Resistance. Or is there a more sinister reason behind her recruitment?
We follow Marian's experiences as she receives her training and is taught to kill, her new identities, and how she becomes part of a hidden, undercover world, then is dropped into France. We (the readers) get a pretty good explanation of the theory behind the working of an atom bomb (pages 110-116). There is a lot of thought-provoking stuff. In the end Marian has choices to make and the decision she makes may not be in her best interests.
This is a seemingly effortlessly well-written and compelling novel which keeps reader on the edge of their seats. Oddly something about the style of the writing puts me in mind of author Jane Aiken Hodge (I'm thinking specifically of her novel, "The Winding Stair") albeit with more espionage and less romance in the Simon Mawer novel.