Click here for NPR radio review for Beautiful Assassin, winner of the 2011 Connecticut Book Award for Fiction.
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“Michael White has written an epic tale of the Second World War and the nascent Cold War. Tat’yana. . . is a thoroughly believable, complex woman, marked by tragedy and torn by conflicting loyalties, between following orders and following her heart. It is through her eyes that we see the vast supporting cast of soldiers, refugees, secret-service men, diplomats and spies, and a diverse range of historical figures who cross her path. This book certainly fell into the category of “couldn’t put it down.” Thoroughly recommended.”—Editors Choice, Historical Novels Review
“Tat’yana’s story is haunting” Audiofile 2010
“[Beautiful Assassin is] a professionally rendered tale is both compelling and interesting. So much so that the reader may be reminded of other works. The opening chapters in Sevastopol, for instance, could have been plucked from the movie Enemy at the Gates. . . . Most crucial, however, is his depiction of Tat’yana herself . . . a Ukrainian woman scarred by war and suddenly thrust into a totally alien world would be a huge challenge to any writer . . . Beautiful Assassin is a worthwhile experience.” Ken Kreckel
“Brimming with political intrigue and suspense, [Beautiful Assassin] is a fascinating account of World War II told from a very different perspective-that of a female sniper who becomes a Soviet hero” The Day, New London
“Assassin starts off in the trenches, but like Tat’yana, it doesn’t stay there long. White is more interested in the politics and intrigue of how two supposed allies try to plan ahead for an inevitable enmity. . . her story has an intimate suspense, and the characters who orbit her are believably developed.” Dallas Morning News
“There was so much I liked about this book. Tat'yana is an interesting character who evolves as a person over the course of the novel. Because Tat'yana is telling her story in hindsight, she has insight into the events that took place all those years ago, and so she comes at it from a place of maturity we might not have seen from her younger self.” Book Fizz
“This is a superb 1940s drama . . . a winner that condemns nations for their expendable deployment of individuals.”
"It is rare to find a work of historical fiction that can so intricately weave fact and fiction into a fantastic story. We follow Soviet sniper Tat'yana Levchenko from the Eastern Front of World War II to the United States as she tours with Eleanor Roosevelt, embarking on a journey of mystery and intrigue and revealing the shaky alliance between the Soviet Union and the United States."
Zachary Schwarz, Indie Next List, April '10
“It has been occupying most of my free moments for the past several days.... Painstakingly researched, relentlessly paced, Beautiful Assassin is a book you will not put down easily, and one that will resonate well past the closing pages.”
The acclaimed author of Soul Catcher returns with Beautiful Assassin, a breathtaking tale of love, loyalty, and intrigue set during World War II, in which a decorated Russian sniper finds herself caught between two suspicious allies.
As World War II engulfs the globe, none suffer its misery like the beleaguered Soviets who are struggling to hold back the invading Germans. Yet just as all seems lost, a fearless and unflappable female sniper named Tat’yana Levchenko gains fame in the battle of Sevastopol with confirmed kills of over three hundred enemy soldiers. Offering hope in the nation’s darkest moments, she becomes a Soviet hero, and word of her beauty and prowess reaches Washington, D.C. Soon, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself invites Tat’yana to tour America with her.
For the Soviets, the invitation is an opportunity to garner public support a much-needed second front in the war—but also to gather information about President Roosevelt’s plans. Tat’yana becomes a pawn in a battle for information, and she is forced to question the motivations of everyone around her, including an American captain who has been assigned her translator. But as quickly as she rises to fame, Tat’yana vanishes. Did she defect? Was she silenced—and by whom? Decades later, a clever journalist will discover Tat’yana’s story . . . and reveal the truth.
Fans of Sebastian Faulks’ Charlotte Gray, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, as well as the novels of Mark Mills and Alan Furst, will relish this authentic and compelling tale of war, intrigue, and romance.
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