Tightrope by Simon Mawer

bookshelves: summer-2015, published-2015, radio-4, historical-fiction, autumn-2015, spies, wwii

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 19 to September 05, 2015


Description: A tale of love, betrayal and espionage as the political alliances forged during the Second World War give way to the moral uncertainties of the Cold War.

Marian Sutro is a highly successful British SOE operative working with the French Resistance. Then she is betrayed and imprisoned in Ravensbrück by the Nazis.

Returning to England a broken woman, she attempts to immerse herself in a normal life with a mundane job in London. However, the lure of the secret service and her desire to work for the greater good is never far away.

As the Americans test ever more deadly atomic weapons and the Russians join the frantic race to match them, Marian finds herself in demand by all sides with no moral compass to guide her.

She must walk an increasingly precarious tightrope between her beliefs, her profession and her desires.

1/10: Sam visits Marian Sutro and starts recording her life in espionage

2/10: With the war in Europe finally over, Marian is contacted by her previous spy handler.

3/10: Marian goes on a date with an RAF officer and an atomic bomb is dropped for the first time.

4/10: Marian is called to Hamburg to testify against the Germans who worked in Ravensbruck.

5/10: Marian discovers a disturbing truth about Ned. Major Fawley attempts to recruit her.

6/10: Marian runs into an old friend in Paris. Her personal life is getting more complicated.

7/10: Absolom and Marian get closer but who is usinng who. And who else knows about them.

8/10: Marian feels vulnerable without Absolom then she recieves some unexpected news.

9/0: Marian encounters a man from her past with disasterous consequences.

10/10: Sam, now a young man, helps Marian put her final plan into action.

This is a good step up from Mawer’s previous entries

2* The Glass Room
3* Mendel’s Dwarf
3* The Gospel of Judas
3.5* Tightrope


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