Beautiful Assassin: A Novel [NOOK Book]


A breathtaking tale of love, loyalty, and intrigue set in the early days of World War II from the acclaimed New York Times Notable Book author of Soul Catcher, which USA Today hailed as "a marvelous historical novel"

World War II threatens to engulf the globe. The beleaguered Soviets, struggling to hold back the rising German tide, face despair and defeat daily. Yet just as all seems lost, a fearless female sniper named Tat'yana Levchenko gains fame in the Battle of Sevastopol...

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Beautiful Assassin: A Novel

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A breathtaking tale of love, loyalty, and intrigue set in the early days of World War II from the acclaimed New York Times Notable Book author of Soul Catcher, which USA Today hailed as "a marvelous historical novel"

World War II threatens to engulf the globe. The beleaguered Soviets, struggling to hold back the rising German tide, face despair and defeat daily. Yet just as all seems lost, a fearless female sniper named Tat'yana Levchenko gains fame in the Battle of Sevastopol with her remarkable composure and stunning skill. Offering hope in her nation's darkest moments, she becomes a Soviet hero, and word of her beauty and prowess eventually reaches Washington, D.C. Soon, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invites Tat'yana to visit America and tour the country with her.

For the Soviets, Tat'yana's newfound friendship with the wife of the most powerful man in the world is an opportunity to garner public support for a much-needed second front in the war—but it's also a chance to gather information about President Roosevelt's plans. Surrounded by those who would exploit her position, Tat'yana becomes a pawn in a battle for information, and she is forced to question the motivations of everyone she knows, including the American captain who has been assigned as her translator. But as quickly as she rises to fame, Tat'yana vanishes. Did she defect? Was she silenced—and if so, by whom? Decades later, a clever journalist will discover Tat'yana's story . . . and reveal the truth.

In Beautiful Assassin, Michael White delivers a heartrending story of war, betrayal, and a mother's love that can never be extinguished. Lyrical, evocative, and powerfully moving, this is a tale you will not soon forget.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1942, heroic Red Army sniper Tat'yana Levchenko, the eponymous heroine of this mildly compelling WWII-era thriller from White (Soul Catcher), travels to America as a goodwill ambassador. Her ostensible mission is to drum up financial and material support for the U.S.S.R. and to persuade FDR to open a second front in Europe. Stalin's secret police have other goals in mind, but Tat'yana wants only to return to her beloved homeland and continue killing German soldiers. Eleanor Roosevelt takes a shine to the young woman, who becomes the darling of the American press. Reluctantly, the beautiful sniper goes along with her espionage agent handler's demand that she spy on the first lady. In the end, Tat'yana must make a fateful choice involving an American army captain she's grown to love. Some readers may find Tat'yana's ethical and romantic struggles in the U.S. a letdown after the first part of the novel detailing her actions in the battle of Sevastopol. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061986987
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 756,263
  • File size: 497 KB

Meet the Author

Michael C. White

Michael White's previous novels include the New York Times Notable Book A Brother's Blood as well as The Garden of Martyrs and Soul Catcher, both Connecticut Book of the Year finalists. He is the director of Fairfield University's MFA program in creative writing, and lives in Connecticut.


Michael C. White is the author of four previous novels: A Brother's Blood, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers nominee, as well as nominated for an Edgar; The Blind Side of the Heart, an Alternate Book-of-the-Month Club selection; and A Dream of Wolves, which received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly. The Garden of Martyrs (May 2004) was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award in 2005, and he also has a collection of short stories, Marked Men. He has also published over 45 short stories in national magazines and journals, and has won the Advocate Newspapers Fiction Award and been nominated for both a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart. He was the founding editor of the yearly fiction anthology American Fiction. Currently he is the editor of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose.

He teaches fiction writing workshops and literature courses at Fairfield University, and is on the faculty of Stonecoast, the University of Southern Maine's low-residency MFA program. He lives on a lake in Connecticut with his dog Henry.
Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Good To Know

When I was in grad school in Denver, evenings I worked as a bouncer in a bar. I got the job mostly because I knew the manager from working out together in the local weight room. Though I had no experience whatsoever, somehow he was under the mistaken impression that I was tough, and offered me the job. It seemed easy, offered free food and drinks, and I thought it was a writerly sort of position, one that I could one day put down alongside my various jobs of painting, guard duty, and selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. So I said yes. How hard could it be, I thought. My very first night on the job, though, proved me wrong. It was closing time and a drunken cowboy was trying to convince a woman to go home with him, and "no" wasn't in his vocabulary. He got very angry and started to yell and threaten her and the bartender and everyone else within range. At this point, the manager called upon the services of the bouncer-yours truly. The manager told me to throw him out on his ear. I didn't know if I was literally supposed to make him land on his ear or not, but it turned out he was much bigger than I was and throwing him out in any fashion wasn't an option. He threatened to beat my head to a pulp. I My fear honed my creative skills. With everyone watching, I leaned toward the man and whispered in his ear: "You probably could beat my head to a pulp, but if you do, I'll be in the hospital and you'll be in jail, and we'll both regret it." Luckily, he was sober enough to see the wisdom of this and, grumbling, stormed out of the bar.

I grew up in a very blue collar family. My father was a farmer and later a carpenter, and when I was a boy I used to accompany him to work, helping him saw boards and pound nails. It was hard work, and I soon realized I didn't want to do something like that for the rest of my life. I've had only two career dreams. Throughout school I played baseball and hoped one day to play professional ball. A torn rotator put an end to those dreams. After that, my only other dream was to become a writer. I just hope I don't come down with carpel tunnel because I'm too old to start a third career.

I enjoy fly fishing, hiking, biking, and working out in the gym.

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    1. Hometown:
      Guilford, CT, USA
    1. Date of Birth:
    2. Place of Birth:
      Hartford, CT, USA
    1. Education:
      University of Connecticut - B.A., English; M.A., English, 1975, 1977; University of Denver - Ph.D., English
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    superb 1940s drama

    In 1996, reporter Elizabeth Meade muses over her obsession started a decade ago as the Soviet evil empire imploded when she first heard of the Russian sniper Tat'yana Levchencko. Elizabeth searched for clues about the Communist with Hollywood looks and a friend of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during WWII. Now in Eastern Colorado she will confront an elderly widow begging to learn the true story of Tat'yana Levchenko.

    At first hesitant as she does not want to be another Trotsky, the old woman tells how a poetess, mother, and wife became an empty nest widow avenging sniper Soviet-American heroine before being labeled a Communist spy. In 1942 the Germans without regard to civilians bombed and fired from the air at villagers in the Ukraine. A pilot saw her beloved three year old Masha and killed her. The sniper was born on that day as she joined the army. She became the top sniper and soon was invited to the White House by Eleanor Roosevelt. They became friends as they toured the country together. While Stalin demanded she spy on the Americans, Tat'yana realized these were not soft fat cats as described by Soviet propaganda. The American media began a blitzkrieg accusing her of being Stalin's pawn. She disappeared until now when a persistent reporter interviews an elderly widow.

    This is a superb 1940s drama seen through the eyes of a woman five decades later after she vanished. Her story is one of sadness as she loathed the murdering Nazis killing them, but also detested the Cold War participants who "killed" Tat'yana in their abusive disregard for her which was worse in many ways than the Germans who overtly tried to kill her. Yet she also brings rays of hope that the human spirit can overcome almost anything as she did with her late second husband Walter and someone else even while telling her heartbreaking tale. This is a winner that condemns nations for their expendable deployment of individuals.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    boring and rambling memories

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2011

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