What an awful book. The writing is beautiful, but the first half of the book is just a rambling incoherence of a childhood life of two siblings that are left by their parents and seem to enter the world of a bunch of random criminals. Meanwhile their parents have left, supposedly to enter British Intelligence (or perhaps a mental institution -- it isn't clear) and the two kids flounder, enticed into what are clearly illegal activities. Then abruptly the mother returns, and the second half of the book supposedly contains the key to what went on. But by this point I simply didn't care any more, and resisted the urge to quickly scan the rest of the book to find out the resolution. Three stars because the writing is so good. The author clearly can do much better than this. Much, much better.