REDEMPTION

A sequel to Trinity, Uris's 1976 bestseller, that's as great and chaotic a muddle as Ireland's lengthy struggle for independence — which again serves as backdrop for what's essentially a multifamily chronicle. At the heart of the narrative is Rory Larkin, a wild colonial lad whose father (Liam) fled the Emerald Isle's grinding poverty during the mid-1890's. Although he enjoys great success as a New Zealand sheep-rancher, the squire misses his homeland. Despite an inability to express any paternal feelings for Rory, father Liam and uncle Conor (an itinerant Republican who figured prominently in Trinity) convey to the young man their love of country. Eventually, underage Rory (who's been having an affair the older married Georgia Norman, a noble and sensual nurse) marches off to WW I under an assumed name. He serves in an ANZAC outfit commanded, among other officers, by scions of an Ulster peer named Roger Hubble, who's loyal to the Crown and a nasty piece of work to boot. Rory earns a commission, mates up with men who would've been his enemies in the UK, survives Gallipoli, and is sent to the British Isles to recover from wounds. On the auld sod as aide to the brigadier Westminster assigned to pacify Irish Catholics after the Easter Uprising of 1916, Captain Rory falls in with rebel plotters, providing critical aid in the assassination of his despised CO. Protestant sympathizers persuade (would you believe?) Winston Churchill to doctor army records, and Rory lad is off on a long voyage home to be met by Liam (with whom he's been reconciled) and Georgia (the mother of his child and, surprise, now divorced). In this uneasy blend of fact and fancy, Uris frequently allows his virulently anti-British sentiments to get the better of his storytelling. Nor is he particularly adept at integrating mini-history lessons into a convoluted tale replete with studly (if honorable) Paddies, brutish Brits, and their saintly womenfolk. For those who hung on Battle Cry, Exodus, Topaz, and other Uris offerings, then, a considerable disappointment.

Pub Date: June 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-018333-0

Page Count: 480

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though gripping, even moving at times, the novel doesn’t do justice to the solemn history from which it is drawn.

CILKA'S JOURNEY

In this follow-up to the widely read The Tattooist of Auschwitz (2018), a young concentration camp survivor is sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in a Russian gulag.

The novel begins with the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945. In the camp, 16-year-old Cecilia "Cilka" Klein—one of the Jewish prisoners introduced in Tattooist—was forced to become the mistress of two Nazi commandants. The Russians accuse her of collaborating—they also think she might be a spy—and send her to the Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia. There, another nightmarish scenario unfolds: Cilka, now 18, and the other women in her hut are routinely raped at night by criminal-class prisoners with special “privileges”; by day, the near-starving women haul coal from the local mines in frigid weather. The narrative is intercut with Cilka’s grim memories of Auschwitz as well as her happier recollections of life with her parents and sister before the war. At Vorkuta, her lot improves when she starts work as a nurse trainee at the camp hospital under the supervision of a sympathetic woman doctor who tries to protect her. Cilka also begins to feel the stirrings of romantic love for Alexandr, a fellow prisoner. Though believing she is cursed, Cilka shows great courage and fortitude throughout: Indeed, her ability to endure trauma—as well her heroism in ministering to the sick and wounded—almost defies credulity. The novel is ostensibly based on a true story, but a central element in the book—Cilka’s sexual relationship with the SS officers—has been challenged by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center and by the real Cilka’s stepson, who says it is false. As in Tattooist, the writing itself is workmanlike at best and often overwrought.

Though gripping, even moving at times, the novel doesn’t do justice to the solemn history from which it is drawn.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-26570-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be...

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

Some very nice, very smart African-Americans are plunged into netherworlds of malevolent sorcery in the waning days of Jim Crow—as if Jim Crow alone wasn’t enough of a curse to begin with.

In the northern U.S. of the mid-1950s, as depicted in this merrily macabre pastiche by Ruff (The Mirage, 2012, etc.), Driving While Black is an even more perilous proposition than it is now. Ask Atticus Turner, an African-American Korean War veteran and science-fiction buff, who is compelled to face an all-too-customary gauntlet of racist highway patrolmen and hostile white roadside hamlets en route from his South Side Chicago home to a remote Massachusetts village in search of his curmudgeonly father, Montrose, who was lured away by a young white “sharp dresser” driving a silver Cadillac with tinted windows. At least Atticus isn’t alone; his uncle George, who puts out annual editions of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, is splitting driving duties in his Packard station wagon “with inlaid birch trim and side paneling.” Also along for the ride is Atticus’ childhood friend Letitia Dandridge, another sci-fi fan, whose family lived in the same neighborhood as the Turners. It turns out this road trip is merely the beginning of a series of bizarre chimerical adventures ensnaring both the Turner and Dandridge clans in ancient rituals, arcane magical texts, alternate universes, and transmogrifying potions, all of which bears some resemblance to the supernatural visions of H.P. Lovecraft and other gothic dream makers of the past. Ruff’s ripping yarns often pile on contrivances and overextend the narratives in the grand manner of pulp storytelling, but the reinvented mythos here seems to have aroused in him a newfound empathy and engagement with his characters.

If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be doing triple axels in his grave at the way his imagination has been so impudently shaken and stirred.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-229206-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more