The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of The Rose Code and The Alice Network
In the snowbound city of Kiev, aspiring historian Mila Pavlichenko’s life revolves around her young son – until Hitler’s invasion of Russia changes everything. Suddenly, she and her friends must take up arms to save their country from the Fuhrer’s destruction.
Handed a rifle, Mila discovers a gift – and months of blood, sweat and tears turn the young woman into a deadly sniper: the most lethal hunter of Nazis.
Yet success is bittersweet. Mila is torn from the battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America while the war still rages. There, she finds an unexpected ally in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and an unexpected promise of a different future.
But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a terrifying new foe, she finds herself in the deadliest duel of her life.
The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.
Praise for The Diamond Eye
‘The Diamond Eye – combat novel, wartime love story, assassination thriller – sets up and pulls off a double-barrelled surprise-ending worthy of its larger-than-life inspiration’ The Wall Street Journal
‘Mila’s was an incredible life and Quinn does it justice in this fast-paced novel’ The Times
‘This timely and earth-shattering tale of heroism will leave you breathless’ Woman’s Own
‘An extraordinary novel, based on a true story’ WI Life
‘Kate Quinn’s skill is in developing characters and relationships, adding tension, suspense and smart plotting’ Choice
‘Equal parts historical fiction and riveting thriller, Quinn’s latest novel celebrating heroic women is a highly cinematic action novel’ The Washington Post
More praise for The Diamond Eye
‘Recommend it to all lovers of smart historical fiction’ Booklist
‘Exciting . . . historical fiction fans will be riveted’ Publishers Weekly
‘Readers looking for a new and unique viewpoint of World War II with a mystery to solve and a light touch of romance will dive deep into this story’ Library Journal
‘A fascinating read . . . if you’re a fan of 20th-century history then look no further’ Altrincham Today
‘A remarkable story filled with heart, intrigue [and] breathtaking drama’ Allison Pataki
‘The most well-known sniper you’ve never heard of . . . Quinn weaves humanity and emotional depth through the narrative’ Sarah Penner
‘Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s journey from history student and mother to sniper and national hero is beautifully rendered . . . utterly absorbing’ Natasha Lester
‘Kate Quinn takes expert aim at one of history’s forgotten heroines to bring us a story that will pull you in from the very first sentence’ Alix Rickloff
Quinn (The Rose Code) draws on a historical female sharpshooter from WWII in her exciting latest. In 1937, Mila Pavlichenko studies history at Kiev University and raises her five-year-old son, Slavka. She's estranged from her husband, Alexei, a surgeon whom she met when she was 15. When the Germans invade Russia, Mila, who's already trained at a marksmanship school, enlists in the army, is assigned sniper duty, and earns the nickname "Lady Death" for her high number of kills. In battle, Mila is steadfast about completing her missions with her partner, Kostia, and also finds time to write letters to Slavka. In 1942, Soviet leaders send Mila with a delegation to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Roosevelt in a bid to seek American support. The trip has its highs and lows, as Mila unexpectedly develops a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, but faces a threat from a misogynistic male marksman who sends her threatening notes. Quinn humanizes Mila by showing how she and Kostia use humor along with a healthy amount of vodka to cope with their risk-taking, and she convinces with her description of Eleanor's political savvy and influence on the president. Historical fiction fans will be riveted. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary.
A book of two halves
Based on a real life WW2 Russian female sniper. Lyudmila (Mila) Pavlichenko, born and raised in Kyiv, falls pregnant at 15 after being seduced by an older man, a doctor, who marries her then abandons her. She raises the kid with the help of her family, works a menial job while completing her education, and is finishing her history thesis in Odessa when the Germans invade. She is already a qualified marksman, but takes a while to persuade her male superiors of her talent. Once they do, she quickly racks up more than 300 confirmed kills, sustains various injuries, endures many hardships, tangles with her surgeon husband from whom she has never secured divorce, and falls in love with a superior officer who dies in battle. Finally recognised for her skills, she is dispatched by Stalin as part of a student delegation to the US to try to persuade FDR to open a second front in Western Europe. She makes her mark there, befriending Eleanor Roosevelt, even foiling a presidential assignation plot while , but longs to get back home and fight in Stalingrad. Fortunately for her, although she doesn’t realise it at the time, her superiors have other plans for her.
Parallel narratives from the protagonist’s POV that move back and forth in time from fighting in Europe to diplomacy in America. The former constituted a five star war novel told from a very different angle to most. The American sojourn paled in comparison IMO. Our hero’s (fictional) takedown of the assassination plot felt like something from a Marvel comic.