I Must Betray You


Trust no one.
Tell no one
Spies are everywhere.

Romania, 1989.
Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force. Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Releases February 1, 2022

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Praise for I Must Betray You

Oprah Daily

“Ruta is passionate about the power of history and fiction to foster awareness and connectivity. In this book, she opens a startling window into the real-life coerced citizen spy network—including teenagers as young as thirteen—that bred an atmosphere of paranoia and fear, as people were forced to inform on one another.”

Kirkus Reviews 

“Compulsively readable and brilliant… A staggering amount of research with heart, craft, and insight.”

(starred review)

Publishers Weekly

“Ominously suspenseful…”

(starred review)


“Sepetys once again masterfully portrays a dark, forgotten corner of history.” 

(starred review)