City of Secrets


Paperback Date: April 25, 2017

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From master storyteller Stewart O’Nan, a timely moral thriller of the Jewish underground resistance in Jerusalem after the Second World War

In 1945, with no homes to return to, Jewish refugees by the tens of thousands set out for Palestine. Those who made it were hunted as illegals by the British mandatory authorities there and relied on the underground to shelter them; taking fake names, they blended with the population, joining the wildly different factions fighting for the independence of Israel. City of Secrets follows one survivor, Brand, as he tries to regain himself after losing everyone he’s ever loved. Now driving a taxi provided—like his new identity—by the underground, he navigates the twisting streets of Jerusalem as well as the overlapping, sometimes deadly loyalties of the resistance. Alone, haunted by memories, he tries to become again the man he was before the war—honest, strong, capable of moral choice. He falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor and member of his cell, reclaims his faith, and commits himself to the revolution, accepting secret missions that grow more and more dangerous even as he begins to suspect he’s being used by their cell’s dashing leader, Asher. By the time Brand understands the truth, it’s too late, and the tragedy that ensues changes history. A noirish, deeply felt novel of intrigue and identity written in O’Nan’s trademark lucent style, City of Secrets asks how both despair and faith can lead us astray, and what happens when, with the noblest intentions, we join movements beyond our control.


The New York Times Book Review: Stewart O’Nan’s New Thriller Is Set in Post-World War II Jerusalem

Boston Globe: Noirish thriller of postwar Palestine and Jewish underground

Chicago Tribune: Unrest in Jerusalem circa 1946 plots ‘City of Secrets’ by Stewart O’Nan

The Seattle Times: ‘City of Secrets’: a labyrinthine plot in post-WWII Palestine

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: ‘City of Secrets’: Stewart O’Nan’s latest is a search for love and justice after the Holocaust

Steamboat Today: ‘City of Secrets’ educates, enlightens

Washington Post: A refugee in Israel seeks his own kind of justice in the masterful ‘City of Secrets’

Star Tribune: ‘City of Secrets,’ by Stewart O’Nan

The Kansas City Star: ‘City of Secrets’ is a slow burn noir thriller that works

Shelf Awareness: City of Secrets

Historical Novel Society: City of Secrets

BookPage: Hidden Turns of Jewish History

Washington Independent Review of Books: City of Secrets: A Novel

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Regent Square author tackles 1946 Jerusalem bombing

The Washington Times: BOOK REVIEW: ‘City of Secrets’ Book review: Post-WWII tale explores the ‘City of Secrets’


The Authors Among Us: A Conversation with Stewart O’Nan


That Stack Of Books with Nancy Pearl and Steve Scher – The House of Podcasts: Stewart O’Nan, “City of Secrets,” and the Work of Writing

Praise for City of Secrets

“Finely wrought and morally complex, O’Nan’s considerable story-telling powers are masterfully deployed here.  With deft strokes, he evokes the tensions and tragedies of Mandate Jerusalem, riven then as now by the fault lines of community and conscience.”
– Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord

“Stewart O’Nan’s City of Secrets will keep you up all night reading – what a beautifully crafted novel.”
– Alan Furst, New York Times bestselling author of Mission to Paris

“I’ve been a Stewart O’Nan fan since his very first novel, and never more so than with his latest. In City of Secrets, O’Nan takes his mastery of language and depth of character in a fresh direction: a richly nuanced suspense novel, set in an immensely intriguing post-war Jerusalem. A remarkable book.”
– Chris Pavone, author of The Expats

“Imaginative and nimble, O’Nan is a master of narrative distillation, and in his latest taut novel, set in British-ruled Jerusalem immediately after WWII, he achieves thriller-like suspense. . .[an] engrossing portrait of an innocent caught in the web of history.”
– ALA Booklist (starred)

“A probing, keening thriller. . .though rigorously unsentimental, the text seethes with unresolved emotions. . .the complex moral issues it raises linger unsettlingly.”
– Kirkus Reviews (starred)