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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: The Book of Stolen Tales by DJ McIntosh

Opening sentence: Firelight on the faces of the villagers showed their lust for the burning.

A follow-up to the best-selling art-history thriller “The Witch of Babylon,” this sophomore novel is a sophisticated, literary thriller, rich in both modern European culture and centuries-old book history.

John’s quest takes him through libraries and bookstores that will garner the envy of every bibliophile. Each city he visits is infused with colour and life, from the rain-washed roads of London to a sun-drenched Naples marketplace. Landscapes parallel and enhance the action, whether angry seas on a rocky shore or the barren, sulfurous plain of the Solfatara volcano. A hint of the paranormal is as chilling as the inky waters of the Thames.

A new character is almost the antithesis of the cultured, book-loving John, and equally skilled in his own, very different sphere. An unexpected twist dramatically raises the stakes, drawing John into a second and even more deadly search. The two quests intertwine in the hands of a masterful storyteller. This is a gripping and literate race against evils old and new, from New York across continental Europe and into the sands of Mesopotamia.

Penguin, 2013

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