Saturday, April 17, 2010

Terror in the Back Stacks

Gayle Lynds has the best narrative engine in the thriller-fiction trade, plus a passion for the espionage subgenre that shines through all of her work. Her latest offering, The Book of Spies (St. Martin's Press), richly demonstrates her talents. It also adds an interesting new element--an uncommon overtone of historical fantasy.

Publishers Weekly outlines this story’s plot:
A legendary library, containing written works dating back to ancient Rome and Greece, forms the tantalizing background. When The Book of Spies, one of the bejeweled volumes of the Library of Gold (a rare book archive people have sought for centuries) surfaces, the CIA links a terrorist plot with the library and a cabal of powerful men who have been its keepers. Rare-book expert Eva Blake and former intelligence agent Judd Ryder have personal reasons for joining in the hunt for the library. Eva, released from prison for vehicular manslaughter in the death of her husband, learns that her husband, an authority on the library, is alive. A sniper shot Judd’s father, a CIA agent, soon after the father claimed to have learned important information from the library. These two complicated, appealing characters complement the satisfying, conspiracy-laden plot that smoothly moves throughout Europe at breakneck speed.
This makes the Jason Bourne adventures look like tourist postcards.

Says Lynds, “My interest in the library dates back more than 20 years. On June 28, 1989, I was reading the Los Angeles Times when [an article titled] ‘Kremlin Tunnels: The Secrets of Moscow’s Underworld,’ by Masha Hamilton, caught my attention ... I was enthralled by this ‘library of gold-covered books,’ which immediately became in my mind the Library of Gold ...”

Lynds’ villains are as interesting as her heroes. One of them in The Book of Spies has a special talent for descriptions. Example: “But then, this was Dubai, epicenter of a storm of commerce, with free-trade zones, speed-corporate licensing, no taxes, no elections, and almost no crime. It was said the city's bird was the building crane ...”

Kick this book to the top of your list.

No comments: