The Betrayal

The Betrayal

Book - 2010
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Leningrad in 1952- a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of sixteen year old Kolya fill their minds. They try hard to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but even so their private happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and the Ministry for State Security has new targets in its sights. When Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, Volkov, he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game of life and death ? for in a land ruled by whispers and watchfulness, betrayal can come from those closest to you.

A gripping and deeply moving portrait of life in post-war Soviet Russia, The Betrayal brilliantly shows the epic struggle of ordinary people to survive in a time of violence and terror.

'Gripping, moving and enlightening in equal measures, adding flesh and blood to a classic Soviet narrative and recreating the period in superb detail. Dunmore is one of our finest writers, and The Betrayal is sure to be one of the best - and bestselling - historical novels of the year.' Chris Moss, Time Out 4*

'It's a masterpiece. An extraordinarily powerful evocation of a time of almost unimaginable fear.' Grazia Magazine

'(A) lovely, thoughtful novel.' Lucy Daniel Sunday Telegraph

'An impressive, enthralling sequel...It's possible to be both swept up by both the love story and the terrifying history.' Daily Telegraph

'Historians have written capably about the horror of Stalin's 1952 'Doctors' Plot', as they have written about the Siege of Leningrad which preceded it. But it takes the skill of a very superior novelist to make the unimaginable real. Dunmore is just such a novelist- brave, tender and with a unique gift for immersing the reader in the taste, smell and fear of a story. Writing like hers reminds us that human life is always more than just a statistic.' Katy Guest Independent on Sunday

'The Betrayal is storytelling on a grand scale.' The Times

'This is such a page-turner, and is in places so gruesome, that reading it becomes more visceral than intellectual.' Financial Times

'A proper page-turner.' Radio 4 Saturday Review

'Dunmore has created a remarkably feeling, nuanced novel that satisfies the head as well as the heart. This does not read like a retelling of history, but like a draught of real life... With her seemingly small canvas, Dunmore has created a universe.' Sunday Herald

' Her language is limpid, never a word wasted. And Volkov is a great creation.' Evening Standard

'Dunmore chillingly evokes the atmosphere of Soviet suspicion...A gripping - if gruelling - read.' Daily Mail

'Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal is that very rare beast, a sequel which outshines its predecessor. In this case it is a question of capping her hugely successful novel The Siege . The Betrayal is a beautifully written and deeply moving story about fear, loss, love and honesty amid the demented lies of Stalin's last days. I literally could not put it down.' Antony Beevor

Publisher: London : Fig Tree, c2010.
ISBN: 9781905490592
Characteristics: 330 p. ;,25 cm.


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Sep 28, 2017

Normally I really enjoy this author, but for some reason this one wasn't for me. Maybe the wrong time? I may try again another day, but for now I'm regretfully closing and returning.

Jul 05, 2017

This was a terrific read. Start with The Siege which takes place during the WW2 siege of Leningrad. In The Betrayal the same main characters are back--the time is approximately 1950-1953. I found Helen Dunmore (who recently passed away) on the Guardian books site. Bookish people were discussing it and with praise so I thought I'd give it a try. Excellent two books.

May 21, 2015

Dashed hopes of a good read. 1953 Russia, the height of Stalin. I have a hard time believing the advanced medical practices & especially using the expression 'sod off'. Not in Russia 1953. Not bother to read further - back to shelves. However! The Lie is excellent for WWI details on the devastating affects of the war.

Aug 02, 2012

This book continues the story begun in "The Seige" during Leningrad in the 1940s. It has the same characters now living under Stalin in the 1950s Russia. Again, excellent.

Jul 09, 2012

Absolutely excellent book. Read it over two days.

Jan 31, 2012

Slow at the beginning but picked up half-way through. Scary that it's so easy for a society to become like this.

Nov 16, 2011

A great read. The author has clearly done a lot of research on the place & period, but it simply informs the story and the character, there's no "here's where I show off what I found out".

Apr 27, 2010

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. It takes place in the dark days of Russia and presents us with a Russian population that lives in fear and suspicion. When a young doctor is pulled reluctantly into a cancer case with an unhappy ending, his life turns into a living hell. There is a sense of impending doom right from the begining of the story as this doctor and his family prepare for the possibility that he will be wrongfully arrested.I loved getting to know the characters and was very interested to read about what Russia may have been like for people in that time period. There was a great deal of suffering and injustice and we get a good glimpse of how vulnerable the people are, both the average citizen and those higher up. I found the book so interesting that I am going to read her previous book "The Seige" next.

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