A son unravels the mysteries surrounding his father — a long-missing CIA agent who left a trail of secrets and tragedy behind him — in Time’s Betrayal (Fomite Press), a multigenerational family saga set against the events of real historical events that is epic in scope (125 years) and length (1,168 pages). Author David Adams Cleveland ’74, a novelist and art historian, answered questions from PAW:

The main character’s father is a famous archaeology professor at Princeton who works as an American spy during and after World War II. Is that element of the story based on real events?

Many Princeton archaeologists enlisted in the OSS, an intelligence agency, during the war and participated in operations against the Nazis in occupied Greece. My father served in the State Department during the height of the Cold War, so I knew a lot of CIA officers growing up, and many of them had gone to Princeton.

What did you discover in your research about American spies?

I learned about the terrible challenges they faced in the early days of the Cold War, the corners they rightly or wrongly cut, and the often devastating ambivalence they felt about what was, by any measure, a dirty and dispiriting — and mostly thankless — job.

The novel is 1,168 pages!

Time’s Betrayal simply wrote itself to its present epic length. It is way shorter than Game of Thrones, even without all the mayhem.

David Adams Cleveland ’74 is the author of the novels Love's Attraction (Winstead Press) and With a Gemlike Flame (Carroll & Graf). His most recent art history book, A History of American Tonalism (Hudson Hills), won the Silver Medal in Art History in the Book of the Year Awards, 2010. He lives in New York and works as an art adviser with his son, Carter Cleveland, founder of Artsy.net, making all the world's art accessible to anyone with an internet connection.