The Fragment, my new historical suspense (post WW I) has been out less than a week, and the reviews are flowing in. Here are three reviews from Deb Haggerty, Rachel Helms, and Eddie Gilley.
The Fragment opens in the year 1923. The world is recovering from the privations of the Great War. Muriel Ross, a researcher at the Smithsonian, has had a dream come true. She is to accompany Sen. Thomas Bryan to Paris!
Once in Paris, Muriel falls in love with the people. A photographer of some great skill, she photographs people in all walks of life—struck by the joy she sees in their faces, despite the ordeals of the war.
Sen. Bryan, however, is there on another task—and he hopes Muriel will be the key person he needs to realize his dream.
Wearing a gown designed and fitted by none other than Coco Chanel herself, Muriel meets the Prime Minister of France. She impresses him with her knowledge and demeanor, so she (and the senator) are taken to the Cathedral of Notre Dame where she is allowed to photograph a reliquary holding, tradition states, a piece of the True Cross.
So begins their adventure—from Paris via Orient Express to Constantinople. Muriel finds herself stretched and intrigued and overwhelmed by her experiences. Will they attain their quest? Atatürk is besieging Constantinople … battles rage … alliances shift. The result …?
Muriel Ross is a well-written, very likable character. Beset by doubts and wonderings about her destiny, she nonetheless retains her strong faith. The romantic interest (every story has to have one, correct?) is less believable.
Charles Fouchet, an aide to a French official, accompanies them on their quest. Charles has lost a wife and child to the influenza epidemic and, apparently, has lost his faith as well. Given the descriptions, I had a hard time believing Muriel would find him attractive.
The history of the area—of Paris after the war, of the legends of the Cross, of Constantinople prior to Atatürk—is very detailed, but, I’m afraid, most readers will skip the history to get to the story.
Unfortunately, the story without the history is quite slim. I, personally, was enthralled by the history but found the presentation of the historical facts contrived, especially toward the denouement. Four stars—not for The Fragment, but for the historical education and the heroine.
Rachel Helms, on her blog
The Fragment. What a fabulous book. The way the author writes enables you to dive straight into that era; I could almost hear the music that would be playing. Muriel is an engaging protagonist, whose new discoveries each day aren’t just related to the mystery of who to trust – her spiritual and emotional growth is involved throughout the whole story.
The potential of the story is astonishing – could this really have happened? Piece by piece, Bunn stacks the puzzle so that you believe it. It’s enough to make you want to dig into history, learn everything you can, about the story, the fragment, is it real or not real?
I enjoyed this author’s writing style, the descriptive characteristics of scenery, setting, people, and emotions. Both the story and characters were well written; I finished the book in one night, because I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend this book for all of the above, giving it five stars.
Eddie Gilley, on his blog
Davis Bunn has done it again. That seems to be the way that most of my reviews begin of his books. However, it remains true. Every time I read one of his books, I am always amazed and entertained.
The Fragment is a stand-alone story in many ways, but to fully grasp the importance of The Fragment you need to read his other book, The Pilgrim, which was released in July. You can read my review of that book here. The reason I say it can stand alone is that if you didn’t read the first book, you still get enough of the story in the second book for the plot to make perfect sense.
The reader is transported back in time in The Fragment and we are introduced both to a historical period and some great new characters. My only experience in Paris was a layover in the airport but I feel as if I have been there after reading this book.
The other section of the story happens in old Constantinople or Istanbul for the modern reader and the setting is the time when the nation of Turkey is being born.
Having been to Istanbul many times and toured some of the sites mentioned in the book, I can tell you that Bunn has done a marvelous job of describing the architecture and ethos of that wonderful city. You will know exactly what it looks like as you read the pages of this book.
The story is compelling and draws the reader into a world of intrigue, romance, adventure, and faith. It is not only believable but it makes you want to get to know the people involved in a deeper way. The historical side is accurate, the settings are true, and the characters are developed in the typical excellence style of Davis Bunn.
After getting started reading this work, I found myself reading non-stop. I didn’t want to put my iPad down. I read during football games and basketball games over the weekend. My only regret was reaching the last page.
Perhaps there is another story in there that will link the ancient characters of the Pilgrim through the period characters of The Fragment and connect to the characters we met in The Patmos Deception!