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Tightrope Audiobook, by Simon Mawer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Simon Mawer Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2015 ISBN: 9781504635691
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This captivating historical thriller brings back Marian Sutro, ex–special operations agent, and traces her romantic and political exploits in post–World War II London, where the Cold War is about to reshape old loyalties.

As Allied forces close in on Berlin in spring 1945, a solitary figure emerges from the wreckage that is Germany. It is Marian Sutro, whose existence was last known to her British controllers in autumn 1943 in Paris. One of a handful of surviving agents of the Special Operations Executive, she has withstood arrest, interrogation, incarceration, and the horrors of Ravensbrück concentration camp, but at what cost?

Returned to an England she barely knows and a postwar world she doesn’t understand, Marian searches for something on which to ground the rest of her life. Family and friends surround her, but she is haunted by her experiences and by the guilt of knowing that her contribution to the war effort helped lead to the monstrosities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the mysterious Major Fawley, the man who hijacked her wartime mission to Paris, emerges from the shadows to draw her into the ambiguities and uncertainties of the Cold War, she sees a way to make amends for the past and at the same time to find the identity that has never been hers.

A novel of divided loyalties and mixed motives, Tightrope is the complex and enigmatic story of a woman whose search for personal identity and fulfillment leads her to shocking choices.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brings a fine sense of story, an intriguing plot, and a lovely way with a sentence…Tightrope is full of satisfying twists, and we can’t help cheering for its tough, resourceful heroine.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Part fascinating psychological exploration of the symptoms of war-withdrawal, part conventional Cold War thriller…Intriguing, often lyrical.”

    Times (London)

  • “Simon Mawer is a true master of literary espionage…Tightrope is gripping stuff, with a sinuous plot and some haunting bedroom scenes.”

    Mail on Sunday (London)

  • “Sutro is a singular creation—a fascinating and compelling character and the account of how she becomes caught up in Cold War espionage is enthralling.”

    Sunday Mirror (London)

  • “Outstanding…A spy novel, yes, but one with the psychological richness and complexity of literary fiction.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Like le Carré, Mawer spins out Marian’s story in an immaculately methodical and suspenseful manner. And in Marian he has created a complex, contradictory heroine.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The fast-paced, compelling narrative structure could almost be called ‘first-person-omniscient.’ Excellent for historical thriller readers and those interested in the dawn of the nuclear era.”

    Library Journal

  • “Mawer’s pacing is meticulous, detailed rather than slow, never frustrating or boring but rather creating an ominous atmosphere…Very much in the vein of John le Carré.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Kate Reading narrates the novel in a clear, uninflected voice. Her pronunciation and pacing are perfect. She evokes the world-weary, disillusioned mindset of many during those postwar years following the use of the atomic bomb…Listen to the production to hear Mawer’s splendid descriptive passages, well-crafted language, and compelling dialogue—all delivered by an accomplished narrator.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for November 2015
  • A 2016 Walter Scott Prize Longlist Selection

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About the Author

Simon Mawer is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Glass Room, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His other novels include The Fall, which won the Boardman Tasker Prize; The Gospel of Judas; and Mendel’s Dwarf, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. English by birth, he has made Italy his home for more than thirty years.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received dozens of Earphones Awards. She has been named by AudioFile magazine as a “Voice of the Century,” as well as the Best Voice in Science Fiction & Fantasy in 2008 and 2009 and Best Voice in Biography & Culture in 2010. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others.