Restless (novel)

Restless is an espionage novel written by William Boyd, published in 2006. It won the Costa Prize for fiction.[1]

First edition
AuthorWilliam Boyd
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreSpy novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
823/.914 22
LC ClassPR6052.O9192 R47 2006

The novel depicts the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother was recruited as a spy during World War II. The book continually switches between time periods and, in doing so, from first to third person.

According to the author, it is one of the first novels to deal with the British Security Coordination service in New York. The book gained general public interest when it was chosen for inclusion in 'Book Club 2007', on the UK television show Richard & Judy.[2]

Plot summary

Eva, a young Russian woman, is recruited after her brother's death to work for the British secret service. During this time she falls for her mentor and boss, Lucas Romer. But all is not as it seems as Romer is working as a double agent which ultimately leads to the attempted murder of Eva, alongside the deaths of other agents.

The tale is interlinked with the story of Eva's daughter in the 1970s and how she comes to terms with the discovery of her mother's secret life. The setting of the novel is in London, Oxford, Scotland, Europe, and the United States.


In December 2012 the BBC aired a two-part TV adaptation based on the novel.[3] It was produced by Hilary Bevan Jones, directed by Edward Hall and featured Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery, Michael Gambon and Charlotte Rampling.


  1. Toby Clements (2006-09-03). "A writer's life: William Boyd". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  2. "Richard and Judy select Britain's next best-sellers". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  3. The Telegraph


Restless, William Boyd, Bloomsbury, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7475-8620-3

  • Boyd, William (2006-09-23). "Old-school spy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  • Boyd, William (2006-08-19). "The secret persuaders". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  • Winner of the 2006 Costa Novel Award (video)
  • William Boyd reading a section from 'Restless' (video)
  • William Boyd—The Book Show Episode 2 -- Sky Arts (WB discussing ‘Restless’ and spies)
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