This vibrant adventure exploring a bygone era offers both stunning and mundane scenes.



From the Arion's Odyssey series , Vol. 3

A seafaring slave faces pirates and other dangers in this third installment of a historical fiction series set in ancient Greece.

It is 430 B.C. and a young man named Arion finds himself in a perilous situation. He is an oar-rowing slave onboard a merchant ship that is hastily pursued by pirates. An Athenian triaconter is near his ship but there is no telling whether it will be able to help before the pirates inflict their damage. In the violence and ship ramming that ensues, Arion is wounded, though he performs his duties bravely. The pirates are deflected; their captain is executed; and Arion is granted “freedom from fetters” upon returning to shore. Arion is still a slave, albeit one that has risen greatly in the eyes of his master, Artontes. Another person who takes notice of Arion is Artontes’ wife, Melissa. She would like nothing more than a sexual relationship with Arion but the young hero is hesitant. It is a tough time for love with a plague taking many lives in Athens and the unfolding Peloponnesian War set to claim more. It is not long before Arion is back at his oar en route to the Gulf of Corinth to engage in more maritime action. Information about the ancient world is interspersed at every corner in this chain of events. At one point, Arion takes a long stroll to the Parthenon, where the “aura of its architectural artistry envelops him.” While such portions certainly fail to accelerate the plot, they give the reader a more thorough sense of the magnificence of the time period. But other interactions, usually between two characters, tend to slow the book’s progress without providing much in return. A description of Melissa and Arion conversing unhelpfully asserts: “When she sees or senses his hesitation, she gives him long enough to absorb what she is saying, but watches that she may continue before he is ready to speak.” Sten’s (Return to Lesbos, 2017, etc.) story nevertheless delivers a glimpse of ancient Greece’s many facets. Arion’s journey helps to paint a vivid image of the past, whether exploring the complex rules governing slaves or presenting the details of striking monuments. 

This vibrant adventure exploring a bygone era offers both stunning and mundane scenes. 

Pub Date: June 25, 2017


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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