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Ministers of Fire: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Swallow Press; 1 edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804011400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804011402
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Ministers of Fire is a beautifully written, restrained, and passionate work by a writer who knows the ins and outs and intrigues of the New World Order all too well. His prose is alive with insight, his characters are both recognizable from the news and internally realized. His novel has psychological depth, action, and suspense. It’s a fine work and its author is a writer of great promise.”
— Robert Stone, author of Dog Soldiers and Damascus Gate

“In Mark Harril Saunders's gripping first novel, Ministers of Fire, tensions and ambiguities induce moral guilt and mortal dread…. Mr. Saunders makes his large cast of international characters come to life with quick strokes. Ministers of Fire deserves a place next to the works of such masters as Charles McCarry and Robert Stone.”
— The Wall Street Journal

“A Chinese puzzle thriller — intricate and richly layered.”
— Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German

 




“Mark Harril Saunders’s first novel, Ministers of Fire is a brilliant, exciting and profound spy tale about, among other things, what it means to have faith… . (T)his is a classic CIA novel, thick with political and moral complications… . (A)n incredibly rich reading experience.“ (A Washington Post "notable work of fiction” from 2012.)  
— The Washington Post




Ministers of Fire belongs on the bookshelf with John le Carré and Eric Ambler.… I enjoyed it enormously.”
— John Casey, National Book award-winning author of Spartina and Compass Rose




“Veteran cold warriors confront the post-9/11 world in Saunders's impressive first novel, a complex spy thriller.… While the intricate plotting and vivid action scenes are sure to please genre fans, more general readers should also find plenty to enjoy, from Saunders’s meticulous prose to his closely observed characterizations.”
— Publishers Weekly (Starred review)




“Another treat supplied by (Ministers of Fire) is a window into the lives of the operatives and families of the CIA.… Here on the page are the stressed and fed-up wives … the estranged children in private schools and the frayed marriages.… And at the end of the story, Saunders delivers us not the Hollywood shoot-out of good versus evil one of his characters desires but something more complex, grey and real.”
— Washington Independent Review of Books


“I haven't read as good a prologue to a spy thriller all year. And given Mark Harril Saunders' aspirations, I couldn't have expected more.… The first full chapter carries us decades ahead to China where Burling, now in a more ambiguous operation than before, and several other characters, including the missing April's husband, posture and gesture against a Chinese crowd of agents, provocateurs, diplomats, dissidents and military. Saunders does all this quite deftly. More bullets fly, ideas bound against ideas, honor ducks for cover, and hope impales itself on the world of practical intrigue.”
— Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle


“What separates Saunders' work from much of the espionage field comes in two rewarding areas; first, he creates fully fleshed characters, and second, his writing soars above the pedestrian, not only in his characterizations but also in his lucid descriptions of life in contemporary China and his intelligent take on the perils of clandestine efforts in a dangerous world where loyalty can be a liability.”
— Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

About the Author

Mark Harril Saunders was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area and holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and China. His writing has appeared in the VQR, Boston Review, and the Virginian-Pilot, and in 2001 he was awarded the Andrew S. Lytle Prize for fiction from Sewanee Review. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and three children.

More About the Author

Mark Harril Saunders was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area and holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and China. His writing has appeared in the VQR, Boston Review, and the Virginian-Pilot, and in 2001 he was awarded the Andrew S. Lytle Prize for fiction from Sewanee Review. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Baird VINE VOICE on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't finished this one yet. It is well-written, sophisticated and takes place in various locations over a period of time. The central figure has some regrets, and the writer doesn't soft-pedal the impact on the families of spies. Hadn't heard of the author before, but absolutely worth checking out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mick on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'll preface these remarks with the fact that I know the author, but I can say with hand on heart that I truly enjoyed this book. And I admire it.

The author manages to build the narrative pace of the plot quite elegantly, and you find yourself in the thick of the action, and intrigue, with a genuine stake in the outcome for a rich cast of believable, flawed-in-very-human-ways, characters.

Adding to the joy of a John Le Carré-esque plot (including a real gift for the psychological soup that makes up interesting characters and their gray-area motivations), is Saunders's keen eye for detail in description and inventiveness in imagery. I stopped at several times as I read to jot down "I wish I'd said that" moments.

Highly recommended for fans of espionage thrillers and all things China. Or if you just like your fiction infused with lucid, thought-catching moments, this might be for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Mastrogiacomo on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it was well-written and intricately plotted. However, it violated the primary law of fiction. I never cared one way or another for ANY of the characters. Brrrr!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gary on June 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Only read half of the book. Found it to be somewhat boring and lacking in excitement. Other books of similiar subjects were much more interesting and exciting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By william a austin on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
have to wade through too much gratuitous stuff. characters are wooden, plot moves slowly, plot points are confusing. hard to get through it
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