Not my first reading of this one. I always love when Steinhauer features Hungary somehow in his work, but this one speaks to me because I was living in Libya during the time the book is set (and we see now how that turned out (badly).
Good character work by Steinhauer here: almost all the people initially appear as sympathetic characters, but we soon find out how much damage they do to others. Somehow, we still sympathize with them nevertheless.
It’s hard to believe the same author that wrote the Arkady Renko and December 6 masterpieces provided us with this (yes, it’s an early novel, before MCS found his ‘feet,’ but still…).
I am a sucker for fiction about Hungary, a nation that went from superpower to irrelevancy in a few mere years and it sits far outside our general sphere of recognition today.
Unfortunately, you won’t find much to keep you here.
Try David Downing’s “Station” novels instead.
How fortunate we are to live in age where the doors to voices from other cultures and other sensibilities are so able to access. Here’s a door that lets us peer a little bit into ordinary lives in Hungary.