The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova [in Library Journal]
English instructor Alexandra Boyd arrives exhausted in Sofia, Bulgaria, mistakenly takes someone else’s bag during a taxi shuffle, and spends the rest of the book trying to return the bag to its owner. With 18-plus hours to go, of course, the needle-in-the-haystack pursuit proves epic – the bag reveals a box of ashes with an engraved name, and a nearby English-speaking (with a Liverpudlian accent!) cab driver serendipitously happens to be immediately available to become Alexandra’s guide and sidekick in tracking down the bag’s owners. Yes, indeed: the search is on.
Beyond the wild chase – impeded by unreliable police and dirty politicians; enabled by far-flung relatives and a house for sale – Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian) weaves in little-known Bulgarian history that includes a horrifying legacy of torturous labor/death camps. Her ending author’s note is an illuminating enhancement, both personal and historical. Narrator Barrie Kreinik never wavers, comfortably hopping among international characters and accents with worldly ease.
Verdict: In consideration of Kostova’s already established international success, libraries will surely want to provide her devotees with her latest in various formats.