A historical novel as edifying as it is exhilarating.



From the Lynch's Corner series

An espionage thriller dramatizes the risky work of the French Resistance during World War II.

Mark Lynch, an American lawyer, had already undertaken some sensitive, classified missions on behalf of the United States when he was recruited to join another organizationally amorphous group that would eventually become the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS is the country’s principal intelligence agency, originally comprised solely of Ivy League grads, many of whom had very limited military experience or none at all. Lynch is whisked away for training at Beaulieu, a finishing school in England that now teaches spycraft. Once prepared, he is sent back to the U.S. to recruit two of his own men: Ludlow Carr, a distant relative with a talent for brawling, and Marshall “Fingers” Malone, a professional burglar. Lynch is assigned some dangerous missions stateside before he’s shuttled back to Europe—he helps steal sensitive documents from the French Embassy and stops a philandering congressman from carelessly leaking classified documents to his mistress. Lynch travels to Europe, and he finally parachutes into Paris, tasked with ferreting out collaborators within the weak and compromised Vichy government. The Comet Line—an escape route established to help downed British pilots safely make it out of Belgium—is targeted by Jean-Claude Blanchard, a French traitor. The OSS orders Lynch to track down and assassinate Blanchard, a mission that takes him to Andorra, a little known country in the Pyrenees. Summers (Harold’s Speakeasy: and Other Lynch’s Corner Short Stories, 2017, etc.) once again displays his unimpeachable knowledge of World War II as well as the history of the OSS, a subject he has returned to time and time again. The plot marches forward with indefatigable vigor, brimming with action and loaded with colorful characters. And while the story has its lighthearted moments, Summers never loses sight of the historical gravity of his subject: “We’re in a fight to the death with the Nazis. They give no quarter. They kill to protect their secrets. And so must we, when we go in search of those secrets.”

A historical novel as edifying as it is exhilarating.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-977809-97-1

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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