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Extended Audio Sample Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel, by William Boyd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,883 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Boyd Narrator: Robert Ian MacKenzie Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor in town seeking psychotherapy for a troubling ailment of a sexual nature, becomes caught up in a feverish affair with a beautiful, enigmatic woman. When she goes to the police to press charges of rape, however, he is stunned, and his few months of passion come to an abrupt end. Only a carefully plotted escape—with the help of two mysterious British diplomats—saves him from trial.

But the frenzied getaway sets off a chain of events that steadily dismantles Lysander’s life as he knows it. He returns to a London on the cusp of war, hoping to win back his onetime fiancée and banish from memory his traumatic ordeals abroad, but Vienna haunts him at every turn. The men who helped coordinate his escape recruit him to carry out the brutal murder of a complete stranger. His lover from Vienna shows up nonchalantly at a party, ready to resume their liaison. Unable to live an ordinary existence, he is plunged into the dangerous theater of wartime intelligence—a world of sex, scandal, and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the key to a secret code that is threatening Britain’s safety and use all his skills to keep this murky world of suspicion and betrayal from invading every corner of his life.

Moving from Vienna to London’s West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a mesmerizing journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller, and a literary tour de force.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tantalizing, fast-paced spy novel…beguiling, suspenseful…Seductive as it is, Waiting for Sunrise is no bodice-ripper. It’s a brainteaser, charged with uncertainty and danger, electric with restraint.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Few contemporary writers are able to evoke the ambiance and drama of our recent past as forcefully as Boyd…Boyd’s prose is radiant, yet it is a brilliance that serves to illuminate his story…Waiting for Sunrise might have the feel and place of a thriller, but its ultimate focus is on the psychic damage inflicted on some of those who enter the permanent night of espionage.”

    Washington Post

  • “So rich with surprises and reversals, so rife with false friends and treacherous ‘saviors’…This is a terrific yarn, but it’s also a complex work full of telling detail and rich in allusions literary, mythical, and psychological.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Celebrated English literary virtuoso Boyd creates an express-train read. Once you’re on board, you won’t even think about stopping until the last page is turned…Boyd’s delectably mercurial characters, astute use of this complex historical milieu and the dawn of psychoanalysis, superbly torqued plot, and exceptionally evocative language that is, by turns, lush and tensile, witty and wrenching, coalesce into a long, dark night of the soul.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “With intelligence and humor, acclaimed author Boyd explores the themes of truth and betrayal in the human psyche…Boyd has developed his characters with depth and crafted an exciting plot that moves along at quite a clip.”

    Library Journal

  • “Classy entertainment from the British virtuoso—a period caper that evolves into an adventure story of wartime counter-espionage…Boyd’s latest has the irresistible charm of a vintage car that’s still eminently roadworthy. And it’s great fun.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the May 2012 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Robyn | 2/8/2014

    " I never read spy novels but offhandedly picked this up at the library and enjoyed it. Fun getting to see life in Vienna and Great Britain during WW1 and Lysander was a fun character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Michael | 2/1/2014

    " I found most of this story convoluted, unrealistic and too incredible. But the characters are engaging, there's wonderful historical detail and the writing is well crafted. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Penny | 2/1/2014

    " This book was not for me. I usually enjoy historical fiction but had to force myself to get to the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Allegra | 1/25/2014

    " This was a beautifully written and compelling examination of the effects of war on the human psyche. I was a little disappointed by the ending - it built up to something bigger and didn't deliver - and I felt the character development was rather weak. Plots branched off and came to dead ends, often quite abruptly. But it kept me turning the page and the writing style was interesting. Overall an enjoyable read. "

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