I have recently finished Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal, and have decided that it is/was my book of the year for last year.
The novel is set in in post-war Stalinist Russia, and is the story of Andre, a young doctor who is asked to treat the son of an important government official. As soon as Andre takes on this patient, the net begins, very slowly, to close around him, for the boy has cancer and is very sick, and if the worst happens, someone is going to be blamed. To add to the mix, Andre has a pregnant wife and her young brother to look after, and if things go wrong, what will happen to them?
Dunmore's prose flows effortlesly, as always, and the story unfolds with an awful inevitablity. It is gripping from the start - a book I couldn't put down, but didn't want to end - and has all the ingredients for a memorable read. I was disappointed in The House of Orphans - her previous novel - but for fans of The Siege, this will not disappoint.