SACRIFICE OF ISAAC by Neil Gordon

SACRIFICE OF ISAAC

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A tangled, ambitious geopolitics-as-family-romance debut thriller in the mold of Allan Folsom's bestselling The Day After Tomorrow (1994). Called home from years of self-imposed exile to the funeral of his father, formidable Israeli general-ambassador-defense secretary-professor Yosef Benami, his son Luke learns that be has to liquidate his father's estate and turn half of the proceeds over to his older brother Daniel, a deserter after the Yom Kippur War whom he's long thought dead. But Danni's not at his Paris address--lover Nicole Japrisot says he's been away for months--and while Luke waits for Danni's return, having taken his place in Nicole's bed, someone breaks into her apartment and murders her. It must be Danni, Luke thinks, and in the immediate sequel kills a mystery man he can only assume is his elusive brother. But Natalie Hoestermann, the Obersturmbannf(infinity)hrer's daughter who's been spying on him ever since coming to Paris (to find the man who poisoned her faith in her own father's heroic resistance to the Nazis), could tell him that the plot is infinitely more sinister and complex. Husbanding his tiny cast as carefully as a rosary--virtually the only other character of importance is Peter Chevejon, Danni's partner in a years-long series of antiquities thefts--Gordon peels back layer after layer to reveal the tortured duplicity that's driven Danni for years and the agonized, treacherous sacrifice of his father that started the whole chain of deception and betrayal back in 1942. The result is a brilliantly conceived but slackly told story; the hero and heroine won't even meet until the epilogue. Because newcomer Gordon lacks Folsom's crude mastery of narrative drive, his own story is constantly outclassed by a series of essayistic digressions (many embedded in dialogue) on the morality of sacrifice. The characters, meanwhile, emerge from the creaky plot contrivances as if reflected in an endless hall of mirrors.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Random