The Diamond Eye

Kate Quinn. Morrow, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-294351-4

Quinn (The Rose Code) draws on a historical female sharpshooter from WWII in her exciting latest. In 1937, Mila Pavlichenko studies history at Kiev University and raises her five-year-old son, Slavka. She’s estranged from her husband, Alexei, a surgeon whom she met when she was 15. When the Germans invade Russia, Mila, who’s already trained at a marksmanship school, enlists in the army, is assigned sniper duty, and earns the nickname “Lady Death” for her high number of kills. In battle, Mila is steadfast about completing her missions with her partner, Kostia, and also finds time to write letters to Slavka. In 1942, Soviet leaders send Mila with a delegation to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Roosevelt in a bid to seek American support. The trip has its highs and lows, as Mila unexpectedly develops a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, but faces a threat from a misogynistic male marksman who sends her threatening notes. Quinn humanizes Mila by showing how she and Kostia use humor—along with a healthy amount of vodka—to cope with their risk-taking, and she convinces with her description of Eleanor’s political savvy and influence on the president. Historical fiction fans will be riveted. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Mar.)
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