Sevastopol, 1942. As the might of the German army threatens to engulf the Soviet Union, a brave, young Red Army sniper named Tat'yana Levchenko becomes a national hero. But who is this beautiful assassin? To the Soviets, she is a refined poet and weapon of destruction with 300 enemy kills to her name - a dedicated soldier whose skill and courage have rallied a motherland on the brink of despair. To the Americans, she is a Red Communist with movie-star good looks who is championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt - a reminder of Soviet suffering and a symbol of the vital need to defeat the Nazis.
Invited to the United States at the behest of the White House, Tat'yana sets off on a whirlwind tour with the first lady. Amid the curious crowds, rumors begin to swirl that Tat'yana is a spy, a pawn of politicians and propagandists battling for power and control. But before suspicions can be confirmed, the Soviet soldier vanishes. It will be more than 50 years before a resourceful correspondent uncovers the truth and the full story of the beautiful assassin is finally told.
©2009 Michael C. White (P)2010 Tantor
This book might interest teenagers who have an interest in world history and culture, but it is much too predictable and lifeless for the more sophisticated reader. It gets off to a promising start but quickly gets bogged down in frankly boring cliches--a Cinderella story without an ounce of charm. The dull, droning narration made matters even worse. I would have preferred a livelier, more uplifting North American-accented reading (after all, most of the book is set in the US). I stopped listening half-way through the audiobook out of sheer boredom.
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