Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Betrayal” as Want to Read:
The Betrayal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Betrayal (The Siege #2)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  973 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Internationally-acclaimed author Helen Dunmore follows her bestselling novel, The Siege, with a riveting and emotionally absorbing portrait of post-war Soviet Russia, a world of violence and terror, where the severest acts of betrayal can come from the most trusted allies.

In 1952 Leningrad, Andrei, a young doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life toge
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Betrayal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Betrayal

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina SimonsAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyDoctor Zhivago by Boris PasternakWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyTatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons
Historical Fiction: Russia
71st out of 163 books — 246 voters
Love Is Never Past Tense... by Janna YeshanovaChild 44 by Tom Rob SmithCity of Thieves by David BenioffDoctor Zhivago by Boris PasternakThe Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
Russian/Soviet Historical Fiction
36th out of 48 books — 69 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,079)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Despite the Booker long-listing, or maybe because of it, I approached this one with some trepidation. I've never read any Helen Dunmore, and I remember being put off by a review of Mourning Ruby that called it "like a Russian doll" - too literary for me, I thought, and I've never touched her stuff since. So I pick this one up, and then find it's a sequel to The Siege, which I haven't read - but don't be put off by that, I wasn't, and it worked perfectly as a stand-alone. And I now have a new aut ...more
In The Siege, her novel set during the 900 day siege of Leningrad, Helen Dunmore created a can’t-look-away portrait of a city and people in unimaginable circumstances. Her map of motives, loyalties and escalating struggle is spellbinding. Now Dunmore has brought us a sequel to that excellent novel, The Betrayal. This new book is the next chapter in the lives of Anna, Andrei and Kolya.

The Betrayal is set ten years after the end of the siege. Anna, the daughter of a dissident writer, and Andrei h
Steven Z.
Helen Dunmore’s THE BETRAYAL brings to mind the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn as she tells the story of a physician and nursery school teacher who get caught up in the Stalinist paranoia that existed in the Soviet Union following World War II until Stalin’s death in March, 1953. The chronological parameters of the book are the Nazi siege of Leningrad during the war culminating in the Doctor’s Plot where Stalin and his henchman dreamed up a conspiracy of Jewish physicians who were bent on killi ...more
Having read Helen DunmoreThe Siege I had her sequel on my shelf for a very long time and decided it was time to read it. I wasn’t blown away by the The Siege but still was intrigued by the blurb of The Betrayal and decided to read it, but this novel is also a bit flat and dull.

Set in Leningrad in 1952 toward the end of the reign of Stalin, Anna a nursery school teacher, and her husband Andrei a doctor live a quiet existence in their two room apartment. They try hard not to come to the attention
Dec 18, 2010 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra Lawson
I have to admit that Helen Dunmore can do no wrong where I'm concerned. The Betrayal picks up on the story of Andrei and Anna in post-war Stalinist Leningrad. I was impressed by the way Dunmore worked the earlier novel, The Siege, and her evocation of the sensations of hunger and cold that formed the background to Leningrad during the siege of 1941/2, and this later tale is equally impressive.

The reader is sucked into the story of the young couple, and those around them. I found myself reading
B. Morrison
This new novel by Helen Dunmore provides what seems to me to be a realistic portrayal of life in Stalin’s Russia. It takes place in Leningrad in 1952 where a young married couple is trying to live an ordinary life while navigating the treacherous currents of a society where everyone fears the arbitrary and violent Ministry of State Security. Andrei, a doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, have no children of their own but include Anna’s teen-aged brother Kolya in their family. The three of ...more
Anupama Ma
The Siege made me cold and depressed, The Betrayal made me frustrated and angry.

Ten years after The Siege, Anna, Andrei and Kolya live a happy contended life. The horrors of the siege and the war are slowly fading away and they look forward to the small joys of life like a lazy weekend at the dacha and the hospital ball. And then terror strikes again, this time in the form of stupidity. Yes, there is no other word to describe it, and I shudder when I realise that this kind of stupidity is not ju
Just exactly my kind of story.

I don't think you have to read The Siege by Helen Dunmore before you read this one. It stands alone just fine.

There's no protection in making yourself small and hoping to become invisible. All you do is make yourself small. p. 75
Wonderful book!
Love how it explores the ordinary people at the heart of Stalin's vicious and ruthless regime. I certainly feel that I know more about Soviet prisons than I ever wanted to! The Betrayal has a great plot, terrific characters. Maybe not quite as great as The Siege, but different and remarkable in its own way.
Kathleen Dixon
This has been on my to-read list for 6 years, and managed to get into my Languishing Literature Challenge this year only because I romped through the oldest 8 and then decided I could manage 20 this year instead of the 10 I'd planned. I'm not sure I'm going to manage the whole 20, but that's by the by, because I'm extremely glad that I've read this.

This also ties in very nicely with another book I'm currently reading - Leningrad: Siege and Symphony - a factual book about the Siege of Leningrad a
This is a much better book than it's prequel The Siege. Anna and Andrei have survived the Siege of Leningrad, to live in post-war Russia and the madness of Stalin. A very believable and harrowing story of normal people trying to do the right things who are trapped by circumstances.

Andrei is required to treat the son of a powerful Stalin henchman. When the son fails to recover Andrei and other doctors are arrested. Madmen and henchmen do not care about medical science and logic. They are after r
After a run of books that were not bad but really just so-so it was a relief to pick this up and discover once again what a superb novelist Helen Dunmore is.

She writes in a quiet and steady way about an extraordinary situation in communist Russia, extraordinary for us, not for them. The pressure that both protagonists are under to remain decent and compassionate, yet under the radar of the controlling elite.

It's a very tense novel with fear building constantly. But what a joy to read something
I couldn’t resist reading The Betrayal immediately after finishing the last page of The Siege. My expectations were very high , so I will excuse Helen Dunmore for not blowing me away entirely. I understand that parts of the first book have to be repeated for those unlucky readers who haven’t stumbled onto the prequel yet, but it sometimes slowed the pace down for me. However, the beautiful writing and superb characterization make it still into an engrossing, bone chilling story about Stalin’s Ru ...more
Robyn Smith
An excellent, spine-chilling evocation of The Doctors' Plot in Leningrad in 1952. Stalin became increasingly paranoid before his death and purged, or arrested, one group of professionals after another, engineers, architects, then doctors, particularly those who were Jewish in origin.
In the creation of Anna, an early childhood teacher and her husband, Andrei, a doctor who worked tirelessly during the Siege of Leningrad, as well as Anna's brother Kolya, Dunmore evokes post-war Russia with a chilli
Anna, her doctor husband Andrei and her 16 year old brother Kolya are survivors of the savage World War Two siege of Leningrad. Ten years on, the perils of starvation and death have been replaced by a more peaceful existence but one always accompanied by the more insidious fear of doing or saying the wrong thing in Stalin's Russia. Andrei is pulled unwillingly into treating the 10 year old son of Volkov the head of Soviet State Security. He wants to care for the boy but Volkov has a fearsome rep ...more
Well, here's a good medical dilemma: the Hippocratic Oath says you must take the case of the 10-year-old boy with bone cancer and amputate the leg below the knee to save him. But what if his father is one of the most vicious secret policemen in 1952 Leningrad, a man who holds the power to kill your entire family on a whim? "The Betrayal" reminded me a lot of Arthur Koestler's classic "Darkness at Noon," with the big difference that when the NKVD shows up in the middle of the night to take Dunmor ...more
4.5 out of 5
Recommended for: Ages 17+ (language, grit and several mature scenes)
Categories: Historical, Sweet Romance, Solid Writing, Can't-Put-It-Down

Plot: The synopsis here is absolutely, positively intriguing. I have a basic understanding of Stalinistic Russia. I know it was horrible and I know it was worse than horrible. But Gloria Whelan's books for children don't come close to delving into the horror that was post WW2, communistic Russia.

This book is brutal and merciless, but als
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Having re-read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale immediately before entering Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal, I found myself observing similarities I might not have otherwise detected in the imagined worlds, one set in a possible future, the other in a realized past. In both fictionalized societies, characters live in fear of ominipresent surveillance.

In Dunmore's Soviet Russia, a woman who is content in her current position as a nursery school teacher is warned that she must not allow her dev
Nancy Oakes
The Betrayal is set in Stalin's USSR, beginning in 1952. The story focuses on a couple, Andrei, a doctor and Anna, who teaches at a nursery school. Andrei and Anna spend their days trying to do what everyone else in that period of time tried to accomplish (with varying degrees of success): to keep a low profile while going about their daily work and home lives. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Andrei and Anna and Anna's younger brother Kolya to do so -- at home, they attract the wrath o ...more
I will start by saying that I did not read The Siege but I had I came into The Betrayal not knowing that it was a sequel (I mean they were published nine years apart and the cover says nothing to it being a sequel either. However with that in mind, I can't say this was a good book. It is premised on a guy that has been through a lot making what he knew was a bad decision and going through with it anyway and then being upset at the consequences. Also going back to the issue of sequel/prequel, I w ...more
*This book received as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Helen Dunmore’s novel is a stark look into life of post-WWII Russia, where Stalin’s grip on the country and his people is manifested in myriad ways. The story follows a young doctor who is charged with caring for the son of a widely-feared secret police officer and the consequences of this treatment when matters begin to spiral out of his control. I found one of the strongest aspects of the novel to be Dunmore’s ability to articulate (frighteni
Write a review...This book happens to be the first I have read from this year's Booker longlist. A sequel to The Seize, another well regarded book, that I haven't read, but will now, reversing the flow of time with Anne and Andrei. The author offers a chilling insight into Stalin's Soviet Union and a sensitive portrayal of the human will, to not just survive, but to hold on to the humane. The writing is subtle but incisive...taking the reader to the core of that time, the struggles, the small ba ...more
**Disclaimer - I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

I very much enjoyed this book. I wish I would have read the prequel to this, "The Siege" but I do not think that it made much of a difference to this story whether you read it or not. After reading The Betrayal, I will now read "The Siege."

The story takes place in post-war Russia, in 1952. Anna, a nursery school teacher and Andrei, a doctor, are married and raising Anna's 16 year old brother, Kolya. Andrei is forced to treat the son of an
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway.
This is a book about a doctor who is forced into a corner and ends up treating the son of a very influential member of the Russian secret police. The story is about how this decision impacts the lives of his family and depicts the way a society reacts to dictatorships and the power of fear when we let it rule our actions.
I thought this was a very interesting story, and it made me think about the way that a group of people can be led slowly to allow a small
Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal follows upon her 2001 prize-winning novel, "The Seige," which depicts the struggle of the Levin family to avoid starvation and death during the Seige of Leningrad (which lasted 872 days, from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944). It is now 1952 and Anna Levin and her teenage brother Kolya are living with Andrei in the apartment where Anna's parents died during the seige. Anna teaches in a nursery school and Andrei is a doctor specializing in childhood arthritis. A ...more
Denise Jo
I had won this book here on Goodreads,and have just gotten a chance to read it. Thank you very much.

In 1952 Leningrad, Andrei, a young doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the postwar, post-siege wreckage. But they know their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin’s merciless Ministry of State Security. When Andrei is forced to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, his every m
Sam Still Reading
Apr 03, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Soviet Russia
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read The Siege
The Betrayal is a sequel of sorts to The Siege. You probably don’t need to have read it to understand the history and relationships of the characters, but it does help. The Betrayal takes place over ten years after The Siege under the last days of Stalin in Leningrad.

Andrei is now a doctor and Anna now his wife. They have no children, but Anna’s brother Kolya is now a teenager living with them. The community lives in fear of being taken away by the secret police after false accusations from comr
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 69 70 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Stars in the Bright Sky
  • Trespass
  • In a Strange Room
  • Ice Road
  • C
  • The Long Song
  • Your Mouth Is Lovely: A Novel
  • The Stalin Epigram
  • The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood
  • Dreams of My Russian Summers
  • Take Me Home
  • Hunger
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • The Wilderness
  • A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption & Death in Putin's Russia
  • Far to Go
  • Not Untrue And Not Unkind
  • The Headhunter's Daughter: A Mystery
I was born in December 1952, in Yorkshire, the second of four children. My father was the eldest of twelve, and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life, as have my own children. In a large family you hear a great many stories. You also come to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints ...more
More about Helen Dunmore...
Ingo (Ingo, #1) Tide Knot (Ingo, #2) The Deep (Ingo, #3) The Crossing of Ingo (Ingo, #4) The Siege

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Anna's too young yet to know that the past is just as real as the present, even though you have to pretend that it isn't, and carry on towards the future.” 1 likes
“Fear of this order is not an emotion. It is like a virus overwhelming every cell of his body, while his mind struggles to remain clear.” 1 likes
More quotes…