When long-time author friend Victoria Dougherty offered review copies of her debut novel The Bone Church, a historical WWII thriller, I said, "Over here please!"
Vic and I have chatted of many things, and found common ground in our love of Allen Furst, whose novel Red Gold was one of my research sources for my own writings on WWII Paris. If you've seen Victoria's phenomenal blog COLD, you'd know right away, this is an author well worth your time when she finally released her first book (and hopefully soon a second).
A sophisticated thriller, The Bone Church, did not disappoint.
Fans of Allen Furst, gather round, here's the new girl on the block - and she can write. Victoria Dougherty weaves a complex tale of one of the darkest periods of European history, birthed from the unsung stories of wartime Prague and post-war Prague. The author's Czech heritage shines brilliantly in this powerful story of the underground rebellion, of men and women struggling to survive and shove a wrench in Hitler's plans, any way possible.
Jumping through time from the height of the German occupation of Prague to the great communist decline post-war, The Bone Church brings us a perilous account of pure duplicity. Treacherous secrecy, double deals, double agents, Nazi sympathizers, Catholic revolutionaries, thieves, gypsies, and survival by subterfuge. No one is what they seem, and their alliances are as double-edged as the knives they stab in everyone's backs.
Yet, within this dark, twisted novel is another story of forbidden love with a Jewish woman marked for death. Postwar communist Prague brings no respite for our Jewish heroine.
Identities and residences are changed more often than clothing.
The intricate weave of events and time slipping back and forth carries the reader through to the promise of hope, and the sublime synchronicity of the secrets resting beneath the consecrated bones of The Bone Church.
A solid five star read. ★★★★★