An EVENING STANDARD 'Best seller for London' September 2005


Conflicting allegiances - to family, friends, nations, ideals - at a time of legendary international tension.

In October 1962, Nikita Krushchev and John Kennedy confronted each other over the deployment of Russian missiles in Cuba, and the world came as close as it has ever been to nuclear holocaust. During the crisis, the New York City Ballet, led by the Russian-born choreographer, George Balanchine, was performing in Moscow. And the dissident movement was taking hold among certain members of the Soviet intelligentsia.

Nina Davenport, the lonely bride of a gifted, increasingly preoccupied American diplomat, was raised in Moscow and was once a ballet student at the Bolshoi; she made an unprecedented escape to the West in the 1950s - by tricking the authorities. Her return to the Soviet Union is reckless at best. And now, at the height of world crisis, she confronts the demons of her traumatic girlhood. Hemmed in by diplomatic restraints, followed by spies, she longs to make contact with old friends, and so she becomes the tool of figures within the American Embassy who have a surprising agenda of which the world knows nothing.