In 1972 Cambridge graduate Serena Frome is recruited by MI5, the British Secret Service. After boring months filing reports, she's sent to check out the politics of a young writer. A love affair begins, with dire results. McEwan creates the paranoid Cold War atmosphere and the duplicitous nature of espionage with his customary wit and elegance. — Louise Jones
A gripping novel that straddles the line between sophisticated love story and spy thriller. Serena Frome is a flawed but lovable heroine who keeps you on your toes. One of my favorite books this summer. — Cheryl Cornwell
“Cold War espionage, illicit love affairs, and a coming-of-age story all wrapped into one? Only McEwan could pull off this ambitious story. Meet Serena: just out of university, recruited for MI5, and chosen for a special project with the code name Sweet Tooth. Serena is beautiful, intelligent, and becoming sure of herself as she settles into her adult life. Her confidence is shaken, however, as Sweet Tooth gets underway and the truth about friends, lovers, and MI5 colleagues comes to the surface. Once again, McEwan presents a beautifully crafted novel, one that keeps you turning the pages while encouraging deeper thoughts about love and trust.”
— Kate Bonilla, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR
In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan's first female protagonist since "Atonement" is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.
Cambridge student Serena Frome's beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England's legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named "Sweet Tooth."
Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.
Once again, Ian McEwan's mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.