The Night Sparrow

Release Date: April 2025


Elena Bruskina joins the Red Army as a sniper to get revenge from the fascists who murdered her family, but when she’s ordered to give up her rifle to become an interpreter, she is entangled in a secret hunt for the most evil Nazi of all, from the bestselling author of Daughters of the Occupation.

Minsk, 1941. Elena Bruskina is determined to seek revenge after her family was murdered in the Minsk ghetto. She joins the partisans but when Moscow’s Central Women’s Sniper Training School opens in 1942, Elena is amongst the first to enroll. After months of training, Elena is sent to the front line as part of an all-girls sniper platoon, but soon finds herself lagging behind her comrades in her number of kills, the irrefutable measure of success. And she is undone by grief as she watches her friends fall from enemy bullets. Then, the interpreter is injured and the commander appoints Elena, fluent in German, as the replacement.

While Elena embraces her new role, she misses her comrades. But there is no time to dwell on the past when she becomes entangled in a secret hunt for the most evil fascist of all, a search that will change the course of history as well as Elena’s future.

Inspired by actual female snipers and interpreters in the Red Army during WWII, The Night Sparrow is a surprising novel about friendship, resilience and courage under extraordinary circumstances.


Coming soon!


The Night Sparrow
Let’s get ourselves into gear, stand up to the Nazis and drive them back.
—Yulia Zhukova, Red Army sniper

Seelow Heights, Germany, April 1945

Elena Bruskina lay on her stomach, finger poised on the trigger of her rifle though she couldn’t see her own hand in the chilly darkness. It was almost five o’clock in the morning and she was entrenched in the front line with the rest of her snipers’ platoon, ready to attack the German Wehrmacht troops. But when more than a hundred Red Army anti-aircraft searchlights suddenly beamed overhead, turning night into day, her fingers clenched the stock of her rifle in alarm. The shafts of light were supposed to temporarily blind the enemy’s frontline soldiers and draw attention to their positions. Instead, the eclipsing glare boomeranged off the thick plumes of artillery smoke and dust, silhouetting Elena and her 1st Belorussian Front comrades in sharp, bright lines.

Instead of stealthy hunters, we’re well-lit targets, she thought, incensed. Then, adding insult to injury, she couldn’t see anything but spots. While the enemy’s eyesight was enhanced, the Red Army’s vision was inferior because of its own searchlights.

She blinked twice to make her eyes water and felt the ground-shaking howl of Katyushas, multiple rocket launchers, bombarding the enemy’s front. And mortar bombs detonating, with hazy blurs that amassed over the trails of white smoke left by the Katyushas. And Red Army ground-attack Shturmovik planes squealing overhead, with air gunners opening fire at the German front line. They flew at such a low altitude, Elena’s hair whooshed from the draft.

She covered her ears with the collars of her greatcoat to blot out the deafening noise. It sounded like a multitude of thunderstorms. Like the world was on fire. She opened her mouth to equalize the pressure on her eardrums. Gaped at the flocks of birds emerging through the artillery storm, fluttering madly in all directions.

Then German anti-aircraft rounds began striking with a relentless force, decreasing the already limited visibility. Elena quivered at her stricken comrades’ piercing cries.

“Advance!” Lieutenant General Purkayev shouted. His usually crisp voice was barely audible, as if he was speaking through a tunnel.

Elena rose slightly to a crawl position. Her hands and knees sank into the swampy ground. “Chava, where are you?” she yelled to her shooting partner, to be heard over the bullets and bombs.

She felt a tap on her shoulder. Turned and saw Chava’s dirt-stained face.

“Right behind you,” Chava shouted.

They exchanged knowing looks before venturing forward into the smoky abyss.

The boggy smell of mud drenched her nose, and the uneven, marshy land was hard to traverse with patches of sludge, dirty snow, and wet brown grass. In the distance, Elena heard Soviet tanks grinding through the mud. This was bad. They were supposed to be closer, the tanks and anti-tank guns, to support the infantry’s offensive.

It’s Küstrin all over again, Elena panicked, recalling their most recent, interminable conflict. We’re going to be here for months. We may never get past Seelow Heights. I may never see Berlin. She rubbed her inflamed eyes across the sleeve of her jacket.

Beneath the fusillade of ammunition, she and Chava clambered across the mire to their platoon comrades, Zina and Raya, in a foxhole twenty-five meters to their right. Through a gap in the smoke, she saw a broad swath of steep hills looming in front of them. Seelow Heights. Eighteen versts, twenty kilometers of hills, she recalled from the map she’d committed to memory. She pictured Wehrmacht soldiers lurking in the distant peaks. Standing their ground like wolves.

Be invisible.

Her commander’s stern voice, from sniper training, rose in her head.