Recent Events

Monday, 17 August 2015

'The Star of Istanbul' by Robert Olen Butler

Published by No Exit Press,
14 May 2015.
ISBN 978-1-84344-567-8

It is impossible to exaggerate the thrills of this book, it has a fast moving style which leaves the reader breathless and, sometimes, in need of a temporary break from reading!  The story begins in 1915 with Christopher Cobb, American war correspondent, following a suspect German secret service agent to England on the Lusitania.  Cobb has been recruited into secret service activity for the U.S. Government.  On this fateful voyage he meets a famous actress, Selene Bourgani, who proves to be another player in the game of spying, Cobb is greatly attracted to her.  Cobb, Selene and Brauer, the suspect agent, escape from the boat and travel to London.

Cobb has to evaluate the motives of those embroiled in this deadly conflict and must decide who is fully friend or foe -  never an easy task.  His cover as a newspaper man is helpful but he cannot escape the suspicions of the Germans.  The 3 set off for Istanbul - Selene and Brauer together and Cobb in careful pursuit. The journey to Istanbul and their sojourn there prove to be fraught with dangers.  Cobb has to decide exactly where his sympathies lie and exactly who he faces.

The historical background here is impeccable.  London under a Zeppelin attack contrasts to Cobb's consumption of a 17 course gourmet meal prepared by the famous Escoffier at the Carlton Hotel.  Istanbul is the destination of the adventurers and its contrasts are fully described. 

The twists and turns of the plot are equally well delivered.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Robert Olen Butler is a Pulitzer-winning novelist who has written several stories about newspaperman Cobb beginning with The Hot Country.

Robert Olen Butler was born 20 January 1945. He was educated at the University of Iowa. He has published twelve novels—The Alleys of Eden, Sun Dogs, Countrymen of Bones, On Distant Ground, Wabash, The Deuce, They Whisper, The Deep Green Sea, Mr. Spaceman, Fair Warning, and Hell.
He is a Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida State University. Under the auspices of the FSU website, in the fall of 2001, he did something no other writer has ever done, before or since: he revealed his writing process in full, in real time, in a webcast that observed him in seventeen two-hour sessions write a literary short story from its first inspiration to its final polished form. He also gave a running commentary on his artistic choices and spent a half-hour in each episode answering the emailed questions of his live viewers. The whole series is a very popular download on iTunes under the title “Inside Creative Writing.”
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the State University of New York system. Butler lives in Capps, Florida, which has a population of one. Not surprisingly, he was recently elected Mayor of Capps.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

No comments:

Post a Comment