cover image The Partisan

The Partisan

Patrick Worrall. Union Square, $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4549-5076-9

Dr. Zhivago meets James Bond in British author Worrall’s ambitious debut. In 1941, a trio of war-orphaned teenagers escape into the forests of Lithuania, waging a guerrilla campaign against the occupying German army. Twenty years later, Greta, the lone survivor, is now an independent, capable assassin ruthlessly dispatching Nazi fugitives, while still hunting for the Russian who killed her mother and for the English double agent who betrayed her resistance network. At a chess tournament in London, Michael Fitzgerald, a Cambridge University student, falls instantly in love with Yulia Forsheva, a Russian prodigy chess master and the daughter of important Politburo officials. Their star-crossed romance is aided by Yulia’s chaperone, a Soviet spymaster disgusted by the brutality of his comrades. This romance catches the attention of both Michael’s father, the Director of Naval Intelligence, and Greta, who separately coerce him to spy on Yulia’s inner circle, particularly the sadistic chief administrator of the Soviet nuclear weapons program and the architect of a plan that might spark a new world war. Worrall expertly weaves complex backstories and crossed narratives while vividly depicting the paranoia of everyday Soviet life, the barbarism of war, and shrewd old-fashioned spycraft. Fans of intricate Cold War–era spy thrillers will be enthralled. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Apr.)