Waiting for Sunrise - William Boyd
Release Date - January 2013
Book Review by Bob Walch
If Lysander Rief thought he had problems before he went to Vienna in 1913, while seeking psychological help for an odd sexual problem, it was nothing compared to the quandary he was in when he left the city. The English actor met Hettie Ball, a high strung sculptor, in the doctor’s office and one thing led to another.
When Hettie gets pregnant she claims Lysander raped her and he is arrested. Facing a scandalous trial, the actor manages to escape the authorities with the help of some folks at the British Consulate.
Now fast forward and Lysander is back in London and has resumed his stage career when the war breaks out. Since he speaks flawless German, Lysander becomes a translator for internees but the intelligence service quickly enlists him to work for them.
Having little choice in the matter because of the affair in Vienna, Lysander agrees since it appears to be “pay back” time. He is sent to Geneva to locate a traitor and there he again encounters his Viennese lover.
As the plot thickens, the British spy finds he’s reliving the past as he pursues a stranger who has some disturbing connections to his own family’s past. He’ll need all his acting skills and some of what he learned in Vienna to accomplish this assignment and also cope with a few ancestral ghosts he encounters.
Set against the cultures and customs of Edwardian England and Hapsburg, Austria, this many faceted novel contains some curious twists that will keep the reader riveted to the story until its surprising end. And, yes, Sigmund Freud does make a cameo appearance as one might expect in a tale of this ilk.