Chief among the many gifts the husband and wife writing team of Michael G Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio bring to this atmospheric thriller is the ability to deliver the
environment of Prussia's Baltic Coast in 1808 as a living, breathing, odiferous
locale. Indeed, it is fair to say I spent a good deal of the time reading this
novel with my nose wrinkled. But that is a good thing, since the effect not only
enhances a sense of place but brings the summer of 1808 to the forefront to the
extent that it becomes its own vibrant character. At the outset it interacts
with Magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis as he dodges flies attracted to the dung mounds
that clog the roads in his tiny hamlet. It even interferes with his wife
Helena's sleep when she dreams that one of those cursed flies has crawled into
her baby's mouth.
But that's just the beginning. Throughout, the hot weather, ...
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