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Top Customer Reviews
J. Patrick Hart is a fellow FSO and a compelling writer -- and his novel gets things right. His character Winston Craine is the classic dead-end loser, passed from one unlucky post to another. At the other end of the spectrum, the Consul General and the Ambassador -- like the best senior career FSOs and the best political appointees -- are capable, tough, and not ones to suffer fools gladly. In the middle: our man George, his peers, and his non-uncommon angst - unsure why he has chosen this life, but unable to give it up. The visa process (described accurately, at least for the 1990s), the troubles American travelers get into overseas, the relationship between transient FSOs and permanent local employees (FSNs), the situation of being dropped into an alien culture, saddled with responsibility and having to work with peers one knows only superficially - it's all true. I recognized a lot in these pages from my years with the State Department.
This is also a great story about Turkey, without clichés - indeed, on the first page, Hart sets up a pseudo-profound cliché, then mocks it. Whether it's Ataturk, Turkey's public image, the multiple levels in Turkish society, the grandeur of Aya Sofia, the good, the nasty, or the burden of "too much history," Hart creates a deep and complex portrait of the country. He captures the rhythm of Istanbul, that greatest of cities, and gives it to the reader bit by bit, integrated into the story.Read more ›
On the other hand, readers whose comfort level embraces Graham Green and John le Carré as readily as Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts are quite likely to find "Savarona" a stylistically enjoyable -and profitable - experience.
The author's cold-eyed, insider's depiction of diplomatic life, Turkey's turbulence, and the non-glamorous conduct of foreign affairs in the age of terrorism is the genuine picture rarely available to non- practitioners. But though the richness of unsentimental knowledge he shares is undistorted by his obvious affection for the country, its people and language, there is clearly a wealth of tenderness beneath his honesty. He has obviously made it his business to get to know all three very well indeed.
Well-drawn characters and the decidedly un-Hollywood plausibility of its exploration of domestic terrorism drive the story. So the reader painlessly absorbs rich insights into the contemporary turmoil swirling around Kurdish separatism and radical Islamism, against the conflicted backdrop of the bloody legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the secularist legacy of modern Turkey's foundation.
That said, however, its emphasis on the inner self differentiates the novel from the typical international thriller and inclines the author toward the orbit of the genre's heavy-hitters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Publisher made a few errors, but that's all I have to complain about. The author is 100% foreign service, and I recommend this to any of my friends considering doing work with the... Read morePublished on August 12, 2013 by MJ
I'm a junior officer in the U.S. Foreign Service and I loved this book. I've been passing my paperback copy around the embassy I work in and there's currently a waiting-list among... Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by GT
Foreign service. Profound mental illness. Political extremism. In "Savarona", J. Patrick Hart weaves experiences of unique, complex, yet very human, individuals into a rich and... Read morePublished on March 29, 2009 by Sharon Williams
I agree with this guys ex-wife. He can't do anything right.
Hope he wasn't as bad a diplomat as he is an author. Maybe he should go back to bartending. Read more
Reading the other reviews, one would think this was one of the greatest novels ever written. It was based on these reviews, along with an interest in the the Foreign Service, that... Read morePublished on November 29, 2005 by Dragon Lady
Working at the State Department, I'd heard about "Savarona" and decided to give it a read, wondering if the policy wonks I work with everyday could actually come up with a book I'd... Read morePublished on August 10, 2005 by Katie