"Our lives would be all the richer if we read a Michel Deon novel--a modern classic."--William Boyd"Quiet, wryly funny prose . . . a delight."--"Independent on Sunday""It is shamefully parochial of us that this eminent writer has been so ignored by the anglophone world."--"Sunday Times"In this sequel to the acclaimed novel "The Foundling Boy," Michel Deon's hero comes to manhood and learns about desire and possession, sex and love, and the nuances of allegiance that war necessitates.In the aftermath of French defeat in July 1940, twenty-year-old Jean Arnaud and his ally, the charming conman Palfy, are hiding out at a brothel in Clermont-Ferrand, having narrowly escaped a firing squad. At a military parade, Jean falls for a beautiful stranger, Claude, who will help him forget his adolescent heartbreak but bring far more serious troubles of her own.Having safely reached occupied Paris, the friends mingle with art smugglers and forgers, social climbers, showbiz starlets, bluffers, swindlers, and profiteers, French and German, as Jean learns to make his way in a world of murky allegiances. But beyond the social whirl, the war cannot stay away forever. . . .Michel Deon is a member of the Academie francaise. Born in Paris in 1919, he is the author of more than fifty works.