Traitor highlights the societal division and question of morality that was prominent during World War II. In this novel, the lives of two teenagers, a Ukrainian orphan named Aleksey who fights to protect his brother and stay alive, and Tolya, a half-Polish, half-Ukrainian seventeen year old who is unsure of where his loyalties lies. As the lives of these two teenagers intertwine, they encounter both old and new, good and bad, all the while trying to stay alive in the midst of not only an international war, but an internal war.
The most compelling aspect of this book was how the lives of Tolya and Aleksey met and the parts of the book alternated between these two (Tolya 1944, Aleksey 1941). As the reader learns more about how these two came to be in the position of survival they are in, it becomes clear that some of the same people were present throughout. The similarities between these two characters seems to reflect the overall confusion of people who had to live during World War II (figuring out one's place, coping with loss, the unforeseeable future, etc.). Also, the concept of determining what is moral and what is not when there is an overall lack of morality is interesting.
I did notice that a couple of times, when something that had been mentioned previously was being described again (Koval), the same phrasing and description was used. Overall, there could be a little fine-tuning as far as the details go. Needless to say, the plot did not disappoint.