Another masterpiece of Quinn after The Rose Code and The Alice Network. The Diamond Eye is a different WWII story in a way where we don’t encounter Nazis and their nastiness but rather from the POV of a woman who defies all odds and becomes a sniper.
Based on a true story, Mila Pavlichenko, a bookish history student, gets married at a very young age and has a son who is most dear to her. She wants to be a mother, which her son would be proud of. But her husband, Dr. Alexie Pavlichenko, makes sure to break down her will and keeps on discouraging her that she’d never be enough for her son. He’d even once mocked her that she couldn’t even train her son to use a gun since she’s a woman. Taking it up as a challenge, Mila puts aside her history career and dream of becoming a historian and joins the league of snipers when the war breaks in her city. She joins the battlefield to become the deadliest woman sniper— and is entitled Lady Death.
During the war, Mila loses her friends, her companion and her lover. Still grieving and mourning, she is asked to go to America for a goodwill tour to ask President Roosevelt to send their troops for the Soviets at the front. In America, Mila is swept by the power of the White House and becomes the closest of friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady. Eleanor looks after Mila as one looks after a child. Mila even succeeds in convincing the president to help the Soviets. She becomes the favourite face of every American newspaper. From NY to Chicago, San Francisco to Hollywood, Mila is welcomed by the press, the ministers and even Hollywood celebrities with their glitz and glamour. But everywhere she goes, someone is leaving a threatening note to ask her to go back to her country or else she’ll be killed. Mila has killed 309 Nazis up till now. These mere threats are not going to scare her. Yet, she always feels this prickling sensation that someone is watching her very closely. An assassin, lurking somewhere to kill the president of the United States and put the blame on Mila. But, as per First Lady, Mila has a ‘diamond eye’. She sees what others cannot see.
The story also sheds light on how many Eastern European women fought on a battlefield, not just decoding files and typewriting but actually becoming snipers and fighting shoulder to shoulder, alongside men.
In her journey, Mila finds love that gives her the hope of happily ever afters.
The Diamond Eye is a beautiful and forgotten story of courage, loss, love and defying all odds— a history lover turning into a sniper, a mother becoming a soldier, a soldier becoming a lover, and a sniper becoming a war hero in an era where women were hardly given any chance to shine out.