Kate Furnivall is the author of eight novels including The Survivors, The Betrayal and The Liberation. Her latest novel, The Guardian of Lies, was published by Simon and Schuster on 31 October 2019.
Today Simon and Schuster have allowed me to share an extract from The Guardian of Lies.
Paris, France, 1953
It started right here. In Paris. In the Eighth Arrondissement. The night that ripped my life apart. It was a night when the wind was sharp and the scent of the river strong. I was seated
in the dark in my cranky old Renault on a dull street outside a dreary five- storey building you wouldn’t look at twice. But I knew that behind its ordinary black door and beneath its
innocuous grey zinc roof it was anything but dull. I wanted to be inside that building so bad it choked me.
It was late evening. I had been waiting for three hours, hands clamped on the steering wheel, sweat crawling between my shoulder blades, and every ten minutes I wiped my palms on my coat. Cars droned past. Headlights chased each other through the night down towards Boulevard de Clichy, where I could hear heavy traffic grinding past, ignoring me. An old lady, black as a cockroach in her widow’s weeds, leaned out of a brightly lit upper window and studied me with suspicion. I swore, sank down in my seat and burrowed into my scarf. I’d swept my long dark hair up out of sight under an unmemorable felt hat and my navy coat collar was pulled up around my ears. I was well trained.
When the black door finally jerked open, the overhead fanlight showed me a man who flew down the three front steps in one stride. I studied his face, seeking signs. He was tall, alert, fast. He moved with authority and focus as he hurried to my car. His name was André Caussade and he was my brother.
‘Drive,’ he ordered.
I prodded the engine into life. He threw himself into the front passenger seat and slammed the door with such force I felt its old bones grind against each other. He smelled of polished boot leather.
Not a shout. No panic. But the urgency of his words left me in no doubt. I threw the gear lever into first and the car skidded away from the kerb. I forced a path through the darkness into the incessant flow of Paris traffic, elbowing my way in behind a wheezing truck. This was why I was here – to help my brother. The Caussades together. But Parisian drivers are like Stalin’s army – they take no prisoners. Horns blared. My mother’s moral status was loudly called into question by a driver who nearly took my bumper home with him. It was ten o’clock at night, and no Frenchman in his right mind thinks of anything after that hour except a glass in front of him and a warm thigh under his hand.
André offered no explanation. He was a man who used words sparsely and those he did use were often shaped into lies. To distract. To make you look in the wrong direction. He was good at that.
My brother worked for the CIA, the American Intelligence agency. I don’t say that lightly. I say it with reverence. It was the job I yearned for, in vain. To follow in my brother’s footsteps. I wanted to be part of those who help keep France safe in these dangerous times, and yes, I know it sounds over- dramatic, but the life of a field agent can be dangerous, André kept assuring me. I was learning the truth of that myself right now.
About the book
Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.
But everything changes when André is injured – a direct result of Eloise’s actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.
Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?
About the author
Kate Furnivall is the author of eight novels, including the international bestseller The Russian Concubine. She lives in Devon.