Life often takes strange and interesting twists and turns. Decisions made will often turn the direction of life in unique and different ways.
In Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd, we follow the life of Lysander Rief, a young English actor who finds his life twisting in a spiral of emotion as he becomes involved in an affair with a young woman he meets during a visit to his psychotherapist. Unsure of her motives he is mortified to learn she has accused him of rape. Incarcerated in a jail in Vienna, he waits to tell his side of the story, yet he knows he has no answer as to why she would accuse him.
The world is on the brink of World War I, and it is at this time that Lysander escapes and leaves Vienna, with the help of two British Diplomats. This is only the beginning of the twists and turns he encounters as he tries to take his life back. When he is recruited for a mission by the very men who helped him escape he finds himself on the tail of a traitor. Using his talents as an actor he is drawn deeper into the world of espionage.
It is here, during this time of duress that he again runs into his lover and mistress, and nothing is as it seems. Still enamored even with the allegations against him, he finds that she is more than ready to resume their liaison. Is she too a part of the madness he finds himself embroiled in? What lengths will she go to, to get what she wants?
Boyd has taken a time in history and drawn us in with a thriller full of human foibles. His characters are charming and bold, and often quite ruthless. Lysander, too, has another side that is dark and well hidden, yet he must keep it buried in order to create the man he is challenged to be. Can he do what is required to deliver the traitor, or will he have to delve into the darker part of his own psyche?
Full of historical fact and fiction, Waiting for Sunrise is a thriller that keeps you guessing. The insight and thought put into the characterization of the characters makes you feel as though you know them. Yet when they behave badly or unlike what is expected, you find yourself puzzling over their actions, as though you really should know why they are being as they are.
If you enjoy history and things pertaining to World War I and some of its background, this is an interesting novel. Throw in the side line of a thriller and the search for a traitor that could bring down the house, than this is a book for your library. The story seems to meander, and yet it builds momentum to the very end. Everything in between is just a red herring, or a small piece of the puzzle.