A beautiful story but badly written

THIS is a really beautiful story about a female assassin but one with so many glaring gaps that a more competent writer should have tackled the job.

THIS is a really beautiful story about a female assassin but one with so many glaring gaps that a more competent writer should have tackled the job.

Tat'yana loses her husband and child during Hitler's push into Stalin's Russia.

She becomes a successful sniper with 300 kills to her name. Later, on a trip to the US, the figure is inflated to 315 for propaganda purposes.

There are chillingly fascinating details about her skill as an assassin. Life under Stalin is alluded to now and then, but probably not to the satisfaction of the reader.

Tat'yana travels to the US to join first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on tour selling war bonds. Roosevelt is sometimes described as an ugly woman, at times a beautiful one. It's as if the editor did not pick up these inconsistencies.

The story is narrated by Tat'yana so that not much is heard about the American point of view. The Americans are made out to be ignorant and stupid. There is a hilarious story about a shallow drunken senator's wife asking Tat'yana asinine questions.

There are broad hints about Roosevelt's sexuality that are not wholly explored and leave the reader with questions. The US's stance on the war, the Japanese camps and other issues are not properly interrogated. It is a pity that others wrote better books about the bits and pieces that the author glosses over.

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