Fast-paced Balkan adventure starring an engaging academician/action hero reminiscent of Indiana Jones.

When Luk Begovic leaves his stagnating university career behind to join Promethia Risk Group, he is soon embroiled in political intrigue and criminal manipulations beyond his imaginings. Promethia, a private company devoted to increasing worldwide gender equality in order to enhance peace and stability, is targeting sex slave trafficking in the war-torn Balkans. Luk and the group quickly link up with a humanitarian organization providing treatment to the former sex slaves. Central to this organization’s success is Dr. Fatmire “Mili” Bektashi, a dedicated woman with a tragic, mysterious past. As the two groups cooperate to confront human trafficking, Luk and Mili find themselves getting closer to each other on a personal level. Together they confront revenge killings, shadowy international alliances, U.N. corruption, mass executions, hidden family relationships and paramilitary maneuvering. Debut author Bisseux writes with a gritty, raw-edged realism that will keep readers turning pages for the next surprising plot twist. These twists continue up until the conclusion, but Bisseux avoids the trap of sacrificing depth for action. The narrative effectively portrays the ravages of the ethnic conflict, sometimes in scenes that are almost painfully graphic. The human costs of both war-making and peace-building are evocatively conveyed. The setting is intimately linked to the plot, and Bisseux seems to capture cultural nuances well. In contrast, the dialogue is somewhat wooden and disappointing; many of the characters speak with the same voice and use the same expressions. Though some of the last-minute rescues and coincidental happenings are unrealistic, the suspension of disbelief required is no more than is typical for this genre. Repeated spelling errors ("were" is often "where," for example) distract a bit but are forgivable in a book of this quality. Alternately brutal and touching, a triumphant novel not to be missed.


Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456842536

Page Count: 257

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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