“…rare and compelling chronicle of Lithuanian partisans and their violent struggle against Soviet occupation… [Underground] is full of poetry and wisdom gorgeously expressed. In addition, Sileika elucidates the socio-political context of occupied Lithuania with astounding ease. He gives us a brilliant, highly accessible military history, one that remains largely repressed – underground – in the East and in the West.”
-The Globe and Mail
“….[T]he drama is exciting, haunting and instructional in turn. It opens with an explosive scene of startling violence, moves through episodes of mounting tension and dread, and concludes in a kind of lyricism. The tale is briskly told, with pages of dialogue and swift changes of scenery. You can almost see the film script emerging.”
A tragic love triangle set in a forgotten place during an invisible war.
Inspired by true events, Underground tells the story of a troubled romance between Lukas and Elena, two members of the underground Lithuanian resistance movement in mid-1940s.
After shooting up a room full Soviet government workers during their engagement party, Lukas and Elena become folk heroes to their political cause, but are forced deep into hiding in order to escape punishment for their role in the massacre.
When their secret bunker is discovered, Lukas is nearly captured. Believing his beloved Elena has been killed in the raid, Lukas is forced to flee the country and the increasingly hopeless resistance movement that he has defended over the years.
Finding himself stranded in Paris, Lukas tries in vain to generate some political interest in the plight of his country. Settling quietly in Europe, Lukas falls in love again, remarries, and begins his life anew. When an unexpected crisis arises back home, the tranquility of Lukas’ new life is shattered. Stealing back into his former country, Lukas embarks on the most important fight of his life.
Based on true historical revelations and fragments of the author’s family history, Underground is an engaging literary thriller and love story that explores the narrow range of options open to men and women in desperate situations, when history crashes into personal desires and private life.
“Underground might be described as a historical love story, but it is also a political military/spy thriller. Sileika writes with a spare style that suits the action sequences as well as the rare moments of tenderness or humour. Entertaining and sometimes shocking, the book describes a little-known period of European history that has been kept underground far too long.”
“Sileika’s novel is a gripping tale, and the fate of Lukas — how long his luck runs — engages the reader to the last page.”
“…moments of startling power.”
–Quill & Quire
Thomas Allen, Canada, March 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Book 2011