The light style of the narrative meanders between the lives of Howard Beamish (paleontologist) and Lucy Faulkner (journalist), and intersperses the history of the country of Callimbia, located somewhere between Egypt and Libya. The book focuses throughout these three strands on one of Lively's favourite preoccupations: the contingencies of history.
But as all three strands come together, the story suddenly picks up and instead of just drawing connections between how things have come about, the narrative becomes quite serious and suspenseful. The second half of the book ratcheted up to such a level of tension that I did what I never do while reading -- I flipped ahead to see what was going to happen, I couldn't stand the suspense any longer.
I enjoy Lively's work generally - this is not my fave work of hers but it's still worth reading!
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