My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Peace Corps volunteer has gone missing in Bulgaria and everyone assumes he is dead, everyone except his grandfather, who refuses to give up hope. Retired literature professor Simon Matthews launches a desperate search only to be lured into a bizarre quest to retrieve a stolen Thracian artifact—a unique object of immense value others will stop at nothing to recover.
Matthews travels through a Balkan landscape dotted with ancient tombs and fortresses, unaware that his grandson has been confined to an isolated mountain cabin, slowly recovering from a severe head injury. Nothing can be taken at face value, as the woman assisting Matthews in his quest and the nurse caring for his injured grandson may have ulterior motives in helping the two reunite. Even when Matthews succeeds in joining up with his grandson, departure from Bulgaria is only possible if the missing relic can be found.–Description from Goodreads
When I first read the description for this book, I thought “Bulgaria?” That is certainly an unusual setting. It really is, and that, I believe is part of this book’s charm. I get tired of reading stories that are set in the same place over and over. I like it when the author not only uses a different setting than the norm, but also knows something about the setting they choose, and this author clearly does.
The descriptions are beautifully penned. You can see the colours before your eyes and feel the atmosphere as you read. There were actually a couple of passages in this book I went back and read again after finishing, simply because I enjoyed them so much.
Another thing that impressed me about this author is how smooth his writing is. He does not add any extra fluff that does not need to be there and reading his words are as easy as breathing. You understand from the very first couple of sentences that the main character finds himself in his current predicament because he cares deeply for his grandson, and that theme never loses momentum.
This novel has a good flow and a lot of twists and unexpected turns. I liked the plot and was impressed by the way Ellis Shuman took his characters to the extremes of their abilities without losing realism. The adventuresome spirit in me was clapping for his genius. If you think you know what to expect from the beginning, I bet you will be wrong.
This author interweaves a fictional tale with the history and culture of his setting to create an intense, original story with a lot to offer the suspense lover.
There were a couple of places where I felt the author could have let the characters show more through action rather than displaying things through dialogue, but this did not in any way ruin the story for me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery, thrills and a book that takes you on a serious adventure.