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Literature / The Alice Network

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The Alice Network is a 2017 historical fiction novel by Kate Quinn.

The year is 1915, and Britain is in the midst of what would eventually be called World War One. Evelyn Gardiner, a bored typewriter girl with a talent for lying, is spotted one day by the handsome, Scottish recruitment officer Captain Cameron and becomes a spy. After completing training, she joins the Alice Network, a network of spies based in the starved French city of Lille, and is immediately plunged into a world of danger and excitement beyond her wildest dreams — or maybe nightmares. Among Eve's comrades in Lille are Lili, the vivacious Frenchwoman running the network, and Violette, Lili's stern Foil and second in command. Also present is René Bordelon, an elegant French profiteer who could ruin everything if he learned Eve’s secrets…

32 years later, Charlotte "Charlie" St. Clair, a grieving pregnant teen, comes across Eve, now a bitter, alcoholic old woman. Charlie somehow pulls Eve into her quest to find her missing cousin Rose, and Charlie, Eve, and Eve's driver Finn, embark on a road trip that will change everything...

The Alice Network contains examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Eve calls René a cut-price collaborating cunt.
  • Applied Mathematics: Charlie often uses mathematical metaphors, which her mother hates.
    Charlie: One college sophomore minus one small encumberance, divided by six months' passage of time, multiplied by ten Paris frocks and a new haircut will not magically equal one restored reputation.
    Charlie's mother: Life is not a math problem, Charlotte.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Charlie’s nickname started out this way — Rose was the only one who called her Charlie — but after Rose’s disappearance, she began to go by Charlie full time.
  • The Alcoholic: Eve drinks far too much, sometimes in place of a meal or to put off sleep. She uses alcohol to kill the pain of her memories of the war.
  • The Alleged Car: Charlie teases Finn about his Lagonda being a piece of junk, but it’s actually quite a nice car. In the epilogue, however, it’s basically scrap, and they only use it to go on picnics.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Both of Charlie St. Clair’s names began with C.
    • The same is true of Captain Cecil Cameron.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Eve mentions being bullied because of her stutter when she was a child.
  • Always Someone Better: Played with. Eve feels jealous of Lili when Cameron first describes her as his best spy, but gets over it when she meets Lili. Not only does she like Lili a lot, she also realizes that their roles are different, but both important. (Lili’s job is “to be anyone” — to pretend to be many different people, all insignificant. Eve can’t do this — her stutter is too memorable — so instead her job is “to be no one,” or, in other words, Marguerite.) To top it off, Lili even gives her explicit permission to sleep with Captain Cameron if she gets the opportunity, removing any competition on that front.
  • Ate His Gun:
    • James committed suicide by firing a gun into his mouth (“swallowing his gun”) and blowing his brains out.
    • Eve speculated that a friend who killed himself might have done the same, but all we know for sure is that he used a firearm.
  • Attack the Mouth: Eve bites René’s mouth hard enough to leave a scar.
  • Auto Erotica: Charlie often has sex with boys in their cars.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Played for Drama with Eve’s parents. They fought constantly, threw objects at each other, and Eve’s father had constant affairs. Along with the kids who bullied Eve because of her stutter and the teachers who ignored it all, it made for a pretty awful childhood.
  • Back-Alley Doctor:
    • Violette (who used to be a nurse but doesn’t have the qualifications or experience she would need for surgery) is very honest about her capabilities and the chances of her patient’s survival. She helps her patient look through her options, but they decide to go through with the surgery anyway.
    • Finn mentions that he found a doctor for Eve who was willing to overlook the suspicious circumstances.
  • Babies Ever After: The epilogue features Charlie and Finn’s daughter. Justified: The mother in question was pregnant for the entire book.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Downplayed. Eve Gardiner, René’s mistress, is asked to take a bath before coming to the bedroom, but she bathes alone and she isn't forced to. She is humiliated by the insinuation that she smells, but she also appreciates the hot water and expensive soap, neither of which she has access to otherwise.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Eve refuses military honors (war medals, among them the Order of the British Empire), because she feels that, having betrayed Lili, she is not worthy of them. When Charlie reveals to her that she did not in fact betray Lili, she accepts the medals — in fact, she wears them to Charlie’s baby’s christening.
  • Berserk Button: Finn loses control and starts fighting a stranger who insulted an old Romani woman.
  • Big Brother Instinct: James treats his little sister Charlie kindly and teaches her how to do things, like drive.
  • Broken Bird: 30 years after the war, Eve is left bitter, sarcastic, and cynical. She copes with her guilt and trauma by drinking.
  • Character Name Alias: René Boredelon always chooses false names from Baudelaire.
    Charlie: What makes you certain du Malassis is your Bordelon?
    Eve: Malassis is the surname of the publisher who printed Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs Du Mal.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Lili tells Eve that Violette used to be a nurse, which she’ll need to know if she (or anyone else) ever needs patching up. Later on, Violette gives one of the characters an illegal abortion.
  • Child by Rape: Defied: both characters that were left pregnant after non-consensual sex got abortions.
  • Classy Cane: René carries an elegant cane as an accessory, though it also serves to highlight the age difference between him and Eve.
  • Code Name:
    • Captain Cameron has several false names — the one Lili, Eve and Violette use is Uncle Edward, or sometimes “our shared uncle” — but they aren’t used all the time, making them Code Names rather than Nom De Guerres. Allenton reveals that one of Cameron’s code names is Evelyn.
    • Major Allenton doesn’t have an official code name, but Lili calls him Mustache when talking about him in case of eavesdroppers (and because she doesn’t like him very much).
  • Les Collaborateurs: Played straight with René Bordelon, whose restaurant caters almost entirely to Germans and who is nothing but evil and money-motivated. Eve points out, however, that:
    There are collaborators in this city one can p-pity — women who sleep with officers so they can feed their families; men who work for the Germans so they can keep their children warm. But René Bordelon is nothing but a profiteer. He’s almost as bad as the Huns.
  • Consummate Liar:
    • Eve can lie flawlessly — she needs to, being a spy. She also uses it to her own ends in civilian life, however.
    • Lili is also an excellent liar, but her talents aren’t showcased as much, given that she isn’t the main character.
  • Cool Big Sis: Charlie tells us that Rose was like an older sister to her. She ignored their age difference, played with her, confided in her, taught her how to do things, and was generally super cool (mind you, Rose is Charlie’s older cousin, not her sister).

    Given that Charlie’s big brother James had a Big Brother Instinct, she was clearly not lacking in awesome siblings… until, you know, she was.
  • Country Matters: Both the elder Eve and occasionally René or Violette use the c-word, along with other vulgar words. This is one of the words that has the most impact on the more innocent (and American) Charlie.
  • Crocodile Tears: When Eve goes to kill René and Charlie tries to stop her, Eve pretends to cry Tears of Remorse so that Charlie will let her guard down and leave her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Eve is a war veteran who went through hell and lost many of her friends.
  • The Dead Have Names: During the To Absent Friends scene, Cameron tells Eve that he rotates which lost recruits he toasts, and recites several of their names to her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Eve is witty, her sense of humor tends toward bitter sarcasm.
  • Disappeared Dad: The birth father of Charlie's baby isn't involved, since she has no idea who he is. Finn, however, becomes the adopted father of her son.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Lili hates being called by her actual code name, Alice Dubois.
  • Driven to Suicide: Charlie’s brother James and Captain Cameron both committed suicide because they couldn’t cope in peacetime.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Eve tends to drink to kill the pain. Charlie and Finn sometimes join her (Finn in particular mentioned that he drank a lot after coming back from the war, and that this led to some of his worse decisions).
  • Dysfunction Junction: Practically every character has a tragic past and psychological issues, including Finn, a Shell-Shocked Veteran and ex-convict with anger issues; Charlie, a grieving pregnant teen, whose brother killed himself; Eve, an ex-spy who's been through torture and has had more or less every friend she's made leave her; Cameron, another shell-shocked ex-con (he also has issues with his wife); and numerous others.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A German officer objects to the execution of Edith Cavall on the grounds that killing women, even spies, is not an honorable way to conduct war.
  • Evil Tastes Good: René Bordelon is a collaborator, but he’s also Eve’s only source of good food and fine wines.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Charlie blames herself for her brother’s suicide because she was unable to help him fast enough.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Eve uses her feminine charms to her advantage in her spy work (and civilian life). Most notably, she sleeps with her employer for information. She even turns her skills against her own side, charming a superior into sleeping with her to stop him from immediately pulling her from the field. After he falls asleep, she goes downstairs and tells Major Allenton that she’s ready to be sent back to Lille.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Many of the characters (Lili, Violette, "Marguerite," Rose) have flower names, which ties into the fleurs du mal metaphor.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Lili mostly curses in French.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Even before we meet the Eve of the past, we meet the same woman 30 years later: bitter, drunk, alone, and with horribly disfigured hands….
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Played with. Eve sleeps with both a kind Officer and a Gentleman, and M. Bordelon, a profiteer and Man of Wealth and Taste. However, it's never a choice between them — Eve actively despises Bordelon and only sleeps with him because she needs the information — and she doesn't end up with either one in the end.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Eve and Cameron's illicit liaison is treated as more or less okay because of Mrs. Cameron’s insurance fraud, but Eve’s father’s constant affairs are less forgivable.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Some of the characters believe that abortion is evil.
    • This belief is why Charlie and Evelyn have so much trouble getting abortions. Charlie has to go to Switzerland, where abortions are legal, to get a safe procedure, and Evelyn is forced to accept the services of a Back-Alley Doctor.
    • The Back-Alley Doctor tells a patient that she can borrow the tools she needs for an abortion from a doctor she knows, but that the doctor would never do it himself — he goes to mass every Sunday.
    • Charlie half believes it herself, and has mixed feelings about her approaching abortion. Realizing she's been pushed into the abortion, she doesn't go through with it, and ultimately decides to keep the baby.
    • The spy, Lili, is implied to disapprove of abortion. It isn't stated outright, but she's Catholic, and when one of the other characters needs an abortion, she doesn't talk to her friend, Lili, about it and no suggestion is ever made of telling her.
  • Good with Numbers: Charlie was a math major and very good at accounting (she said she kept the books for her father). She describes herself as “faster than an adding machine.” She’s fond of calculating tips quickly in her head.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Major Allenton sometimes acts like a complete idiot. He sometimes lets personal grudges override reality and will disbelieve field agents who, unlike him, actually know what they’re talking about.
  • Heroic Seductress: Eve Gardiner's decision to sleep with René Bordelon for information is portrayed positively; the narrative, and Charlie, treat her like a hero for overcoming her feelings of disgust and guilt.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Lili, Violette, and Eve all speak fluent French... but that's also the language spoken by any number of people who could overhear them, and so they always communicate in English to avoid the content of their conversation blowing their covers. English is considered “safe” because there aren’t many French and German people who speak it.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: The Alice Network upgrades Marguerite Le François from an innocent woman who was arrested with Louise de Bettignies to the code name of a Femme Fatale Spy who worked alongside the queen of spies.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Eve tells Lili she's stopped believing in God after what she's gone through. Still, she prays on Lili's behalf at her request.
  • I Let You Win: Eve mentions that she let René win at chess whenever they played, but that she’s actually rather good at the game.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    Lili: It’s been an absolute pisser of a day. So make it a double brandy, monsieur, and never mind looking sour.
  • The Ingenue: Invoked. Eve pretends to be naive and innocent so people — especially René — will underestimate her.
  • Innocence Lost: Although Eve’s childhood could hardly be called sheltered, she still comes out of the war much less innocent than she was before. She Lampshades this when she sleeps with Cameron.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The words, said unthinkingly in English, that blew Eve’s cover were “Well, goddamnit.” When Eve has been shot by René and is bleeding out on the floor, she repeats that line, now a severe understatement: “Well, goddamnit.”
    • When in German custody and later when awaiting a surgery, Lili repeats her initial I Need a Freaking Drink line.
      Lili [to the interrogators]: Have you any brandy? It’s been an absolute pisser of a day.
      Lili [to the doctor]: I wonder if I can have some chloroform? Because it’s been an absolute pisser of a day.
  • It's All My Fault: The former spy Eve Gardiner believes she betrayed her comrade to the Germans while under the influence of opium.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: René Bordelon brutally tortures Eve after suspecting her (correctly) of spying for the Resistance. He smashes each of her fingers in succession with a bust of Baudelaire, and also drugs her. He later tells Eve she talked after this. It turns out he was lying though.
  • Just Following Orders:
    The Germans wanted lists of all the socialists and Jews working for [Rose’s father’s] company; what was he supposed to do, refuse?
  • Language Fluency Denial:
    • When Captain Cameron asks Eve whether she speaks German, she tells him she doesn't. He has to repeat the question several times before she admits that she does.
    • In order to be hired at Le Lethe, Eve must pretend that she doesn't speak any German, as that's a condition of employment. It would be suspicious if she spoke English, so she pretends that she doesn't speak that either.
  • Last-Name Basis: As is military custom, no one calls Cameron or Allenton by their first names.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Eve Gardiner's relationship with René Bordelon goes something like this. While she later finds herself, against her will, beginning to enjoy the physical side of it, she never likes it enough that she would willingly sleep with him if she didn’t need the information.
  • Loose Lips:
    • If German officers didn’t talk about confidential information over champagne at the end of the day, Eve wouldn’t have anything to report back to Lili.
    • Eve also comments on how easy it is to get information out of Major Allenton.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: This is Charlie’s experience with dating boys: they go as far as she’ll let them.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: René is a man of fine, expensive tastes: he dresses elegantly, eats good food, drinks only the best wines, and beds only the best girls. He's also shown to be fond of poetry (particularly Baudelaire) and artwork, the only character who spends time on such pursuits.
  • Modesty Towel: Eve wraps herself in towels as an alternative to putting her clothes back on, since she'll shortly have to remove her clothing anyway.
  • Murder-Suicide: Eve planned to kill herself after shooting Rene. However, Finn and Charlie stopped her.
  • Mushroom Samba: The opium dream involved talking lilies and a strangely distorted room.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Cameron mentions how much his wife wanted children, and how hard it was for her to have one.
  • New Meat: When Eve arrives in Lille, it’s her first mission as a spy and first time in occupied territory. Violette and Lili drill her harshly on the security measures they’ve put in place and the procedures for various situations. They also tease her about how young she is, which she dislikes.
    Lili: Merde. Uncle Edward sends me babies from the cradle now?
    Eve: I’m twenty-two.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Many WW1 nicknames are used. The Germans are referred to as the Huns, the Bosch/Boches, and the Fritzes in the earlier timeline. The French language is sometimes called Frog by Englishmen. Eve calls British soldiers “Tommies,” although she herself is half-British and lives in England.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: Eve tells Charlie she will kill her if she isn't gone before Eve wakes up while pressing a Luger between her eyes. She doesn't make good on the promise, however — her man of all work, Finn, tells Charlie that she probably doesn't remember anything that happened while she was drunk — and we later find out that Finn takes the bullets out of her gun each night, so it probably wasn't even loaded.
  • Nom de Guerre: All the spies (Eve, Violette, Lili) have false names that they use all the time with each other, since, for safety reasons, they aren't allowed to know each others' real names. They even continue to use their false names with each other after their real names are revealed.
  • Number Two: Violette is Lili’s second in command, often referred to as her lieutenant. She clearly respects and sometimes worries about Lili. Her more serious, sullen personality balances out Lili’s vivacious, cheerful, risk-taking attitude.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Eve pretends to be young and simple so that the men she’s spying on will underestimate her. Her stutter helps her with this.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Cameron is a perfect gentleman, standing in contrast to almost every other man Eve meets in the course of her spy work.
  • Older Than They Look: Eve pretends to be and looks 17, but is actually 22.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Played with: Charlie drinks during her pregnancy and it doesn't seem to have any ill effects on the baby, who is, as far as we know, born healthy. However, Charlie also planned to abort before changing her mind, and gin was suggested as one of the (apparently ineffective) ways to attempt to miscarry (some of the others being hot baths and falling down the stairs).
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Charlie got pregnant as a result of one of her many one night stands.
  • One-Steve Limit: Léonie van Houtte's real Code Name was Charlotte Lameron, but the author changed it to Violette Lameron because she already had a Charlotte, never mind that her Charlotte St. Clair went by Charlie.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Eve is surprised that Captain Cameron, an Officer and a Gentleman, didn’t ask before coming into her makeshift bedroom.
    Eve: C-coming into a lady’s bedroom uninvited? You are upset.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": René always chooses false names from Baudelaire.
    Charlie: What makes you certain du Malassis is your Bordelon?
    Eve: Malassis is the surname of the publisher who printed Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs Du Mal.
  • Past Experience Nightmare:
    • Eve has horrible nightmares. She mentions that she dreams about René’s study more than the trauma she was put through during the war she fought in, though.
    • Finn also has nightmares about the war he fought in, although they’re not as heavily featured as Eve’s are.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Implied and exploited. When the Asshole Victim is killed, the murderer leaves a photo of him surrounded by swastika-wearing German officers in the hopes that the police won’t investigate too closely after the Personal Effects Reveal (not shown) shows how awful he was.
  • Poirot Speak: Some of the characters speak English with French mixed in.
    • Charlie’s mother speaks good English, but sprinkles her speech with French for show.
    • When talking to each other, Lili, Violette, and Eve speak in English so they can hide behind the language barrier, but sometimes use French words. In particular, Lili seems to prefer to say curses and words related to love or sex in French rather than English.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Downplayed. Finn loves his car, but he’s not a jerk about it.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Violette. Though a female spy is not exactly proper, she’s still significantly more serious and respectable than young, innocent Eve or cheerful, funny Lili… and she has the bun to match.
  • Questionable Consent: If Eve Gardiner had been the young, desperate girl her employer thought she was, she would have had no real option other than to sleep with him. Although in reality she was able to make an informed choice, she didn’t exactly enthusiastically consent, and only did so to get information from him.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Eve refers to Captain Cameron as a Quintessential British Gentleman. He’s honorable, kind, and she knows he would never take advantage of her unless she tried really, really hard….
  • Rank Up: Cameron is promoted from captain to major.
  • Rape and Revenge: Eve Gardiner kills René Bordelon for essentially forcing her to sleep with him, and then torturing her when he found out she'd been spying on him.
  • Really Gets Around: Charlie slept with a lot of boys during her teen years in one night stands, resulting in her getting pregnant.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Charlie tells René why he’s an idiot near the end.
    Charlie: You thought you were so clever, starting a new life, and all it took to find you was a college girl making a few telephone calls. … This Baudelaire obsession of yours, it isn’t just really, really boring, it makes you easy to find. You’re not clever, you’re predictable. If you hadn’t named your restaurant after the same damn poem twice in a row, you’d still be sipping champagne over dinner right now, not packing a bag and running. For the third time in your miserable cliché of a life.
    René: I said, shut up.
    Charlie: Why, so you can talk? You do love to talk. All those things you told Eve, just because she looked at you with her big doe eyes.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: It’s generally considered a bad idea to wave a gun around and point it at people while extremely drunk. Thank God Finn takes the bullets out of Eve’s gun each night before bed (although we later discover that he only started doing that after his second night working for her, and only then because she nearly shot his ear off the first night).
  • Recruiters Always Lie: Eve's P.O.V. opens with her staring at a recruitment poster and wishing she could join up. The war soon jades her.
  • La Résistance: Rose may have been part of the French Resistance, though we don’t see it in much detail.
  • Revenge: Eve and Charlie kill René Bordelon to get revenge for the deaths of Lili and Rose and for everything else he took from them.
  • Say Your Prayers: When she’s brought into the surgery, a sick character recites a prayer (beforehand, she also asks several friends to pray for her). She never comes back out.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Violette creates this effect by turning her face towards the sun, which reflects on her glasses in such a way that her eyes cannot be seen.
  • Sex for Solace: After her brother swallows his gun, Charlie sleeps around a lot with boys she doesn't really like (she then ends up pregnant without a clue who the father is).
  • Sexual Extortion: Eve must sleep with René because if she doesn’t, he’ll probably fire her. Because of her spy work, she could find another job, but the Alice Network probably wouldn’t be able to get her a position as useful as the one she has now.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Eve, Finn, Charlie’s brother James, and Captain Cameron are all former or current soldiers with PTSD. Eve and James panic in crowded places occasionally, Cameron and James shoot themselves, Finn and Eve have been confirmed to have nightmares, and Finn has anger issues.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot:
    • In the later timeline, Charlie is shocked by how much Eve (and later, Violette and René) curses.
    • In the earlier timeline, Lili swears much more than the other characters (though mostly in French). Eve barely swore at all back then…
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: The other waitresses assume that Eve is sleeping with the owner of the restaurant to get favoritism and promotions, and slut-shame her accordingly.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Eve Gardiner has to sleep with her employer in order to keep her job, and is slut-shamed by the other waitresses for it.
  • Slut-Shaming:
  • Smoking Is Cool:
    • Eve, Charlie, Rose, and Lili are all badass characters who smoke cigarettes.note  This being a period setting, smoking is still considered daring for a woman to engage in, making it even cooler.
    • Cameron, being the Quintessential British Gentleman, smokes a pipe (although we never actually see him smoking, one of the things that Eve finds comforting and attractive about him is the scent of pipe tobacco that hangs around him).
    • René, being a French Man of Wealth and Taste, smokes French cigarettes.
  • Speech Impediment: Eve speaks with a stutter. Although it’s genuine, she still uses it to her advantage in her spy work via Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Spiteful Spit:
    • When Eve visits Violette, who is now running a china shop, Violette spits in her face. Eve ignores this, feeling she deserves it, even as she continues to insult Violette.
    • When Eve is being tortured by René, she spits in his face.
  • Spotting the Thread: Rene realizes Eve isn't from the French region she claims based on her accent. She allays suspicions by lying that she traveled from there for work, and didn't want to say anything since it's very near the German border, thus many French people would suspect that she's a collaborator.
  • Stutter Stop:
    • Eve’s stutter completely disappears at times, generally when she’s very angry. It also sometimes vanishes when she’s acting (Lampshaded by Charlie). Captain Cameron also notices that she speaks better in French than English. Drink helps her speech as well.
    • Inverted: when Eve is very scared, she stutters much more.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Eve was going to commit suicide after killing René because she couldn’t live with her guilt, but Finn and Charlie talked her down.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Charlie got pregnant at nineteen.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Captain Cameron and Major Allenton work together badly and disagree on many things. Allenton even spitefully tells Eve about Cameron’s wife to try to turn her against him (it doesn’t work).
  • Themed Aliases: “Marguerite,” Violette, and Lili all have flower Code Names.note 
  • There Are No Therapists: Although most of the main characters go through traumatic experiences, none of them ever see a therapist. Justified: The World War One/World War Two setting predates commonplace therapy.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: James’ eyes are described as “empty” after he comes back from the war.
  • To Absent Friends: Cameron and Eve meet up again after the war over a drink and reminisce about dead friends. Cameron talks about his recruits who have died.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Lili is mentioned as being a devout Catholic, always carrying a crucifix and praying before every mission. Eve initially mentions she was raised Protestant but becomes an atheist, with the rest not expressing any religious (or irreligious) sentiments.
  • Tomboyish Name: Charlie’s real name is Charlotte, but she goes by the more masculine name “Charlie.”
  • Took a Level in Cynic: “Marguerite” parrots René’s cynical views to show that she’s learning from him, while at the same time Eve grows up considerably in real life.
  • The Tragic Rose: Charlie spends most of the book trying desperately to find her missing Cool Big Sister cousin Rose, only to find that she was killed by Nazis during the Second World War. She also got pregnant out of wedlock during a time when that was incredibly taboo.
  • Translation Convention: Although characters speak in English, French, and German, it’s generally rendered in English, except for the occasional bit of Gratuitous Foreign Language.
  • Trust Password: Lili greets Eve with the words “Cherie, look at you! How is dear Oncle Édouard?”, which identifies her to Eve as the head of the Alice Network.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Violette, Lili, and Eve clearly develop a deep bond during the war, but 30 years later, when Eve visits Violette again, Violette spits on Eve. The explanation: Violette believes that Eve betrayed Lili under the influence of opium and will never forgive her for it.
  • What If?: Though The Alice Network isn't an Alternate Universe novel, the character of Eve comes from the idea "What if the obviously-innocent woman the queen of spies was arrested with really was a spy?"
  • Wine Is Classy: René, a Man of Wealth and Taste, shares fine wines with his waitress “Marguerite” as a sign of favoritism, making her deeply uncomfortable. Since Marguerite is supposed to be uncultured, he has to tell her about each wine and its different flavors. This plays into Marguerite’s general sense of Evil Tastes Good.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Charlie slept with so many boys that she doesn’t know who got her pregnant.
  • You Didn't Ask: Charlie asks Finn why he didn’t tell her that Eve often says the name “René” when she’s in her moods, given that this could be useful to Charlie, and he tells her that he works for Eve, not her.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: When Lili asks Eve to pray for her, she uses Eve’s real name.
    “I need people praying for me. I wrote a letter to my old Mother Prioress in Anderlecht, but I’ll take your prayers any day, Evelyn Gardiner.”
    It was the first time Lili used Eve’s real name. Even after the trial, they went on using the old code names. The ones that felt true.
  • You Just Told Me:
    • Subverted:
      • René Bordelon speaks in German to see if any understanding shows on Eve's face, but fortunately she's a good enough actress that she doesn't react.
      • He also at one point says Eve’s real name when talking about Adam and Eve and she barely manages to not react, but this was probably not intentional on René’s part.
    • Played Straight:
      • René figures out that Eve isn’t from the region that she says she’s from because her accent isn’t right.
      • An accidental English phrase blows one of the spies’ cover.
  • Younger Than They Look: Captain Cameron looks about ten years older than he actually is due to stress, which is how he can masquerade as Eve’s uncle.