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For young Tomas, nothing in Istanbul is certain, except for the lamppost that he touches every day for luck on his way to school. World War Two rages, the spectre of the Armenian genocide haunts his parents and he is unsure of the affections of his neighbour Anya, the daughter of White Russian émigrés. Anywa and Tomas fall in love. Ten years on, Anya is in the United States studying medicine while Tomas tries to scrape together enough money to join her. He becomes the editor of a new literary magazine, and things seem to be going his way until one of his writers is brutally murdered, apparently because of a story Tomas has published. Can Tomas flee the country and rejoin Anya before getting caught up in the murder investigation?

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