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The House of Special Purpose
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The stunning new novel from the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

About the Author

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the author of six novels. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards and the Penguin Orange Readers' Group Prize. It was shortlisted for the British Book Award and was made into a Miramax feature film. His novels are published in over 40 languages. He lives in Dublin. www.johnboyne.com

Reviews

"Boyne is a skilled storyteller... his novel is an exciting, fast-paced story... absorbing and richly satisfying" * The Times * "John Boyne has a talent for bringing big historical events to life... Boyne has skilfully drawn a living, breathing character who not only witnessed one of the greatest events of the 20th century but also had his own part to play in how the dramatic tale unravels" * Daily Express * "Boyne writes with consumnate ease, and is particularly good at drawing the indecently rich world of the pre-revolutionary Romanovs" * Independent * "A wonderful, many-layered novel, written with thought and tenderness... mesmerising" * The Irish Examiner * "Boyne exercises total control over pace and revelation. A work that chimes perfectly with our times" * The Irish Times *

Boyne reworks perennial rumors that Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Russia's last czar, escaped the Bolshevik firing squad that killed her family, in an overstuffed romantic novel elevated by the author's prose gifts but fatally lacking in credibility. Early chapters involving narrator Georgy Daniilovich Jachmenev's boyhood in a tiny Russian village are convincing, but when he's unexpectedly chosen as a companion for the imperial heir, Alexei, the plot veers into highly improbable territory. On Georgy's first day in St. Petersburg, he locks eyes with the 15-year-old Anastasia, feeling an immediate connection to her; glimpses Alexandra, the czar's wife, privately conferring with her evil mentor, Rasputin; and enjoys an intimate chat with Nicholas II himself, who chooses to tell an uneducated 16-year-old country boy about his heavy responsibilities. These flashbacks alternate with Georgy's life in London, where he and his wife, Zoya, have lived for two decades after fleeing the Russian Revolution. Readers who know little about Russian history may find this novel suspenseful, but others will be better off with Boyne's 2012 novel, The Absolutist, which sustains a taut, unsentimental plot without the romantic excess that mars this effort. Agent: Bonnie Nadell, Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Boyne's (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) latest novel intertwines two love stories with a huge swath of history. A devoted elderly couple, Russian emigres Georgy and Zoya Jachmenev, reside in late 20th-century London. Zoya is dying of cancer, and as the narrative slips back and forth in time, Georgy, in the more poignant and realistic parts of the novel, recalls his past: the couple's travels to Paris and London, his mysterious work as a translator during the war, and the loss of their daughter. A more remarkable past is also made evident: as a young man, he saved Tsar Nicholas II's brother from an assassin, a twist of fate that catapulted Georgy from his humble village into the tsar's household in the months before the Bolshevik Revolution. While a bodyguard for the tsar's hemophiliac son, he fell in love with Grand Duchess Anastasia. As the reader is swept up in the historical narrative, then yanked back to the more sedate and tragic experiences in London, a question slowly materializes: could Zoya possibly be.? Read it to find out. VERDICT A great book for historical fiction lovers and those who love books about tsarist Russia.-Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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