Yogev Ben-Ari, an operative for Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, has been posted to St. Petersburg, Russia. His assignment: use his cover as an international businessman to gather intelligence. When he meets a beautiful woman, and they promptly fall in love, Yogev doesn't mind, at least not too much, anyway that Anna is probably not whom she says she is; after all, neither is Yogev. When his masters back in Israel decide his relationship with Anna is too risky to permit, however, Yogev finds himself at war with his own people.
The novel has a solid sense of intrigue and suspense, and its depiction of the world of international espionage feels accurate (as it should, since the author is a former Mossad agent). The characterizations are precise, too: these aren't stick figures in a spy story but real people in a real environment. A nice blend of classic spy-novel conventions with a thoroughly contemporary setting. (Synopsis edited from Booklist.)
This is a superb story. Ben-David is not only an excellent storyteller but also writes with a colorful palette as he describes particularly St. Petersburg but also Tel Aviv and other cities in which the story takes place. Yogev and Anna are multi-dimensional, complex, and conflicted characters. Fairly early on I figured out who and what Anna was, but that didn't deter me from wanting to know how the story ends. Ben-David ties it together at the end and manages to surprise us at the same time.
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