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The Orphan Sky: A Novel


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About the Author

An Azerbaijani-American composer, singer and writer, ELLA LEYA was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and studied at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. Her album of children's songs has sold nine million copies. Denied an exit visa until 1990, she finally left the Soviet Union, although her husband wasn't allowed to join her. She now lives in Laguna Beach and London with her husband and son.


"The Orphan Sky is a gripping, forceful novel that compels the reader onward. Well written and edited, the colorful descriptions and poignant relationships are haunting. As visceral and exotic as any spy novel and as authentically convincing as The Kite Runner, The Orphan Sky adroitly marries Cold War history with intrigue and young love. " - New York Journal of Books
"The Orphan Sky is a compelling Cold War novel that showcases the power of music as a force for change and breaking down barriers both spiritually and politically." - Quincy Jones, Music Impresario, Humanitarian
"Set amidst the backdrop of the Cold War, rich with culture and lyricism, The Orphan Sky is the moving story of one young woman's rare talent, difficult lessons, and hard-won courage. Gripping and emotionally powerful." - Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of the New York Times bestseller Secret Daughter
"A fascinating look at the oppression of creative artists in Azerbaijan in the Soviet era, based on the author's own experiences, The Orphan Sky also beguiles with its atmospheric descriptions of the country's enthralling ancient culture and legends." - Helen Rappaport, New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters
"The vivid details of the setting and music will engage readers... A strong choice for readers of historical fiction." - Library Journal
" The Orphan Sky is a heady mix of Soviet politics, artistic temperament and historical destiny. Leila's journey from na ve school girl parroting Communist propaganda to passionate musician determined to gain personal freedom is poignant and impressive." - Tracy Chevalier, New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Last Runaway
"The Orphan Sky is a timeless story of redemption and destiny, as authentic, disturbing, and brilliant as The Kite Runner. " - Don Heckman, Los Angeles Review of Books
"The story engages active readers who appreciate an intricate work of literature, and it rewards them with a wealth of suspense and intrigue, not to mention a swoon-worthy love story. Ella Leya reaches to the heart with The Orphan Sky, a grasp that's not likely to let go of its reader for some time." - Chicago Book Review
"An intriguing mix of romance, spying and hope - unforgettable reading." - Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent
"I could hear the music while reading this extraordinary book. The Orphan Sky has everything a reader could want: the thrill of young romance, the tension of spying, and a window into a fascinating culture along with a glimpse into the captivating past of Azerbaijan." - Deborah Rodriguez, author of New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School and Margarita Wednesdays
"The author deftly captures the paranoia and isolation of Red Russia... Leya's immersive novel speaks with authenticity. " - Publishers Weekly
"The Orphan Sky is several things, the most obvious of which are a love story (and rather a good one), a coming-of-age novel and a story of the struggle for personal and artistic freedom in the dying decade of the USSR. " - Asian Review of Books
"The Orphan Sky is a culturally intoxicating, emotionally gripping, and dazzlingly original book, filled with mythology, artistic metaphors, and masterful storytelling. It is Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 3 meets Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. I loved it!" - Mona Golabek, pianist, actress, and author of The Children of Willesden Lane: A Memoir of Music, Love and Survival
"This is one of those timeless stories of love, betrayal, and redemption that stay with you for years. The great theme of music transcending the darkness is at the heart of this powerful novel, with its soaring lyricism rooted deep in moral complexity." - Maxim Vengerov, violinist, conductor, Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
"Born in Baku, composer and singer turned first novelist Leya successfully depicts the grim realities of her birth city's Soviet era as she depicts a harsh coming-of-age." - Booklist

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