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Why I love it
When I was young, I spent a lot of time thinking about spies (like all kids who spend more time with books than with friends, I had a lot of niche fixations). Many of the nonfiction accounts of spying tried to dispel the idea that the job isn’t nearly as sexy as the movies make it out to be. Well. All I have to say about that is that while I begrudgingly accept this claim, it won’t stop me from wholeheartedly enjoying suspenseful Cold War stories full of double agents, stolen secrets, and lies.
Rosalind Porter is a brilliant woman who has been wronged. One of the Manhattan Project physicists who helped work on the atomic bomb, her career was ruined and her heart was broken by war’s end. Five years later, she’s living a nondescript life in Chicago when an FBI agent taps her to help figure out who could be leaking nuclear secrets to the Russians. Then, a former colleague and old flame gets in touch, forcing her to reckon with old demons even as her present fills up with shadowy new ones.
This is a suspenseful, character-driven story that is just as much about Rosalind’s life as it is about espionage. We get the spy stuff in spades—there’s wire-tapping, covert operations, and people who aren’t who they say they are—but there’s also romance with a capital R. Imagine a vintage James Bond thriller, except the hero isn’t a playboy in a tux but a savvy young woman thrown into perilous circumstances in the gritty McCarthy era. Doesn’t that sound fun?
Chicago, 1950. Rosalind Porter has always defied expectations—in her work as a physicist on the Manhattan Project and in her passionate love affair with colleague Thomas Weaver. Five years after the end of both, her guilt over the bomb and her heartbreak over Weaver are intertwined. She desperately misses her work in the lab, yet has almost resigned herself to a more conventional life.
Then Weaver gets back in touch—and so does the FBI. Special Agent Charlie Szydlo wants Roz to spy on Weaver, whom the FBI suspects of passing nuclear secrets to Russia. Roz helped to develop these secrets and knows better than anyone the devastating power such knowledge holds. But can she spy on a man she still loves, despite her better instincts? At the same time, something about Charlie draws her in. He's a former prisoner of war haunted by his past, just as her past haunts her.
As Rosalind's feelings for each man deepen, so too does the danger she finds herself in. She will have to choose: the man who taught her how to love... or the man her love might save?
Get an early look from the first pages of Atomic Love.Read a sample →
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