Fall into a Good Book!

David Liss
Day of Atonement 2014
I look forward to reading the books of David Liss – I learn a great deal about an historical period and savor the rich detail and tapestry of his plots. Often I met old friends, and greatly enjoyed finding Benjamin Weaver as the formative mentor to Sebastian Foxx. For ten years Sebastian learns his trade of thief taker/bounty hunter, while the desire for justice and retribution hone his skills. He abruptly departs London for Lisbon in 1755 seeking revenge for the deaths of his parents and the profound loss of his love/youth/innocence. He understands the game and the stakes and is a dangerous match for the Inquisition. Although that makes it sound quite melodramatic, and indeed this would work on the big screen, with fast action, danger, natural disasters, love, betrayal and redemption. The great earthquake which leveled Lisbon (and killed 90,000 people) provides a convenient escape, but adds another historical element.

I was exhausted when I finished breathtaking read. I lived through atrocities, bore the weight of judgment, and travelled both in time and culture. Many passages were underlined highlighting gems of wonderful writing and human moments.
It has humor which lighten some of the despair and betrayal and make it all too real, a story you are experiencing not just reading.

I closed the book with a sigh and a sense of well done. Well written, well researched, well developed characters. A most enjoyable read, as expected given his other similar novels, usually classified as historical mystery or historical thrillers (he does have one contemporary thriller Ethical Assassin). Don’t miss any of them; start with A Conspiracy of Paper, which won the 2001 Edgar for best first novel. I might even try his comic books.

4.5 stars
Digital ARC from NetGalley (thank you!)

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