Monday, June 04, 2012

Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

What I’ve always liked about William Boyd is that he never writes the same book twice. But now I’ve read two of his books in a row that were espionage thrillers and I see from his website that he’s been tapped to write a new James Bond novel (click here for the link to the BBC news story about this). Too much of a good thing? I don’t know. It’s not that Waiting for Sunrise (which wins most nondescript book title ever) is much like Restless, his 2007 novel about a retired Russian spy. But I like never quite knowing what I’m going to get from Boyd and I hope he keeps us guessing, once he’s done with the Bond thing.

Waiting for Sunrise features Lysander Rief whose dual Austrian/British citizenship and his training as an actor provide him with skills that prove useful to the British army during World War I – whether or not Lysander wants to employ his skills thusly is beside the point. British diplomats help him out of a dicey situation in Vienna; now in their debt he must repay them by undertaking a series of dangerous jobs for which he is uniquely suited but not particularly enthusiastic. I liked this spin on the “jaded spy” character who gains the upper hand over his puppetmasters. Lysander is not so much jaded as just disinclined; he does his duty mostly because he knows he is over a barrel and if he can screw with his handlers along the way, so much the better. And I always love it when help comes from unexpected quarters – in this case from Lysander’s eccentric retired uncle Hamo (hero of the Boer war), who proves he’s still a crack shot when Lysander needs him most.

(Book 18, 2012)


Alex said...

I enjoyed this as a 'jolly good read' but I didn't think it was one of Boyd's better books. It didn't ask enough of me as a reader. I expect to have to think more when I pick up one of his books.

Shelley said...

I like that "not so much jaded as just disinclined." That's a nice distinction. WWI is right before the era I write about, but the more I read about that war, the more it seems that it was uniquely devastating not only to world peace, but also to peace of mind.

Anna and Serena said...

Thanks for participating in the challenge. We've added your review link to the reviews page and a snippet will appear on the main page on July 5.

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