Today I’m featuring three wonderful reviews of The Fragment, from Judith Barnes, Mary Esque, and Beckie Burnham. These reviews are reprinted with permission from the authors.
Judith Barnes, on Goodreads
Enter the world of 1923. The war is over, and the influenza has eased. Find twenty-three year old Muriel Ross, a researcher at the Smithsonian. She’s concerned that she will remain an observer on the sidelines of her life.
The outlook changes when Senator Thomas Bryan secures her assistance and expertise in Late Roman and early Byzantine antiquities, especially reliquaries. Travel with them to Paris and visit the designer boutique of Madame Coco Chanel. Witness as the Ottoman Empire begins to fall. All the action is focused toward the recovery of a reliquary containing the True Cross.
Davis Bunn has penned an adventure story wrapped in historical details and seasoned with strong accents of Christian faith. The characters are believable. The plot moves along at an understandable pace. History comes alive in this totally enjoyable novel.
While this is a great piece of fiction, I can see using it in a Christian study group. It is rich with discussion points. It’s a natural selection for book groups.
Mary Esque, on Goodreads
From Chanel in Paris to the Orient Express, Davis Bunn’s latest novel set in the 1920s is full of all the things that I have come to expect from his writing – mystery and action with solid faith themes. It was short and easy to read but still engaging. Muriel’s quest for the reliquary is a wonderful story that I will enjoy sharing with my family and friends.
What Davis is so gifted at doing as a writer is transporting you to the places he writes about. I didn’t merely sit on my sofa and read about Muriel in Chanel. It felt as if I was really there. His descriptions are so vivid that is as if I stepped through a door and into Muriel’s world. The other thing I really love about Davis’s writing is that he has such keen insight into people and culture. His characters have depth to them, and they often feel like real people and not just characters. His descriptions of the cultures and political climates of the time are well researched and historically accurate. While he writes fiction, it rings true to what really happened.
I was also challenged by Muriel’s perception. As a photographer, she has keen insight into people. She saw what was written on people’s faces when others did not. She saw faith, despair, longing, distrust, and hope on the faces of those she saw through the camera lens. It made me think about how often I walk through life without ever seeing who is around me. I always find myself challenged to grow after reading one of Davis’s novels. 5 Stars
Beckie Burnham, By the Book blog
The Fragment is an international suspense novel that clearly expresses the wonder of God while keep its readers on the edge of their seats. Centuries after Constantine’s mother, Helena, embarked on a quest to find the cross of Jesus (you can read my review of The Pilgrim HERE), a small group endures danger to retrieve one fragment of that cross. The culture and politics of the world in 1923 serves as a backdrop to this novel. The Fragment is Bunn at his best, and I highly recommend it.
Muriel Ross, aged 23, feels her dreams have come true as she wanders the streets of Paris photographing the people she encounters. She is traveling with a US Senator intent of retrieving ancient artifacts. Muriel is an expert employed with the Smithsonian and is crucial to his quest. But Muriel is unaware of the stakes involved — intrigue, danger and betrayal.
The Fragment is written with short chapters keeping the story fresh and fast-paced. The action is only interrupted by the sacred moments Muriel encounters. I loved the suspense, but the moments that Muriel is swept up in her encounters with God were truly special.
Plot takes center stage, but the few main characters are developed enough to get a sense of their thoughts, dreams, struggles and doubts. Muriel is an interesting heroine, at once daring and reflective. Her faith is challenged, but remains firm.
For fans of history, The Fragment has it all — a great sense of place and time and well-researched details of the political atmosphere of Europe and the Middle East of the 1920s. Throughout The Fragment, Bunn weaves a faith message that never wavers. Not all the characters are believers, but those that are rely heavily on God’s promises in the midst of trials and tests.
Although the action is concluded in The Fragment, I sense that Bunn is not done with Muriel Ross. I hope that I am right. I would love more books like The Fragment.