Summary

"The sudden trace of a troubling, familiar smell takes Stephen Wheatley back to a dimly remembered yet disturbing childhood summer in wartime London. As he pieces together the scattered images, we are transported to a quiet street, where two boys - Keith and his sidekick Stephen - are engaged in their own version of the war effort: spying on the neighbors, recording their movements, ferreting out their secrets." "In the peaceful Close, the only visible signs of war are the nightly blackout and a single random bombsite. To the boys, though, the whole district is riddled with secret passages, underground laboratories, and hideaways for secret agents that must be monitored. And then, with six shocking words, Keith reveals that the Germans have infiltrated his family; from that point, the espionage game takes a sinister and unintended turn. A wife's simple errands and a family's ordinary rituals, the unremarkable geography of post office and railway tracks, are no longer the objects of childish speculation but the tragic elements of adult catastrophe."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


From the bestselling author ofHeadlong, a mesmerizing novel about secrecy, imagination, and a child's game turned deadly earnest

The sudden trace of a disturbing, forgotten aroma compels Stephen Wheatley to return to the site of a dimly remembered but troubling childhood summer in wartime London. As he pieces together his scattered images, we are brought back to a quiet, suburan street where two boys, Keith and his sidekick-Stephen-are engaged in their own version of the war effort: spying on the neighbors, recording their movements, ferreting out their secrets.

But when Keith utters six shocking words, the boys' game of espionage takes a sinister and unintended turn. A wife's simple errands and a family's ordinary rituals-once the focus of childish speculation-become the tragic elements of adult catastrophe.

In gripping prose, charged with emotional intensity,Spiesreaches into the moral confusion of youth to reveal a reality filled with deceptions and betrayals, where the bonds of friendship, marriage, and family are unravelled by cowardice and erotic desire. Master illusionist Michael Frayn powerfully demonstrates, yet again, that what appears to be happening in front of our eyes often turns out to be something we can't see at all.