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

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2018

  • New York Times Bestseller

CIRCE

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more