The novel centers on the Reitman family--especially on clever, curvaceous Sofia, who has dedicated her life and her talents to achieving Jewish freedom from Soviet oppression. Though KGB agents are everywhere, she has found satisfaction in risk-taking and has become a spy, trained to photograph secret Soviet documents that can be used to shape world opinion and modify Soviet policy. Her handler, Paul, is a CIA agent.
When Sofia's husband, Mendel, is released early from his five-year prison sentence for teaching Hebrew, he is a greatly altered version of the man Sofia married. It is not clear if his early release involved a deal with his jailers. Mendel won't talk about it, and it seems that the former intimacy between them cannot be restored. He has learned to be suspicious, even of his wife.
The novel is populated by the extended family, an interesting collection of characters representing several generations. Most notable are Vera, Sofia's younger sister, who is tormented by her classmates for being Jewish; and Edik, Sofia's cousin, who helps Sofia with her black market fundraising operation for Jewish freedom.
Members of the KGB hierarchy form another cast of characters. Noteworthy here is Artur, an agent on the fast track who is enthralled by Sofia's beauty and who is assigned to fake a Jewish identity, sweep Sofia off her feet, and exploit the relationship to discover if she should be arrested--or worse.
The novel brims with bravado, fear, jealousy, sympathy, chicanery, cruelty, and nobility. Shuster makes the emotional life of her major characters come fully alive while she continues to ratchet up the suspense--all of this set against a vivid rendering of Moscow's material and political culture.- Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council
About the Author
She serves up thrills of another kind in her humorous and sexy Neurotica series, which begins with Pleasing Professor.
By day, she is a professor of Sociology, and her research keeps her busy with facts and numbers. By night, she writes dark, twisted, sexy serial thrillers. Sometimes she sleeps. A native of Cleveland, she lives in New York with her family.
You can learn more about D. B. at dbshuster.com.