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.