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Heart of Lies: A Novel Paperback – June 8, 2010
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“Fascinating and deftly-written....The writing is exquisite, wrapping the reader in another time and place.” (Historical Novels Review on Heart of Lies)
“Ambitious, captivating....The expansive plot and rapid-fire pacing are underscored by brilliant depictions of post–World War I Europe and Asia.” (Atlanta Magazine on Heart of Lies)
“A sweeping saga reminiscent of Jeffrey Archer and Susan Howatch, Heart of Lies is brilliantly researched and beautifully written. I could not put this book down.” (Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on Legare Street)
“Heart of Lies takes the reader on a thrill ride that spans continents and decades, but at heart it’s an enduring love story.” (Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been)
“A deeply compelling and extraordinary debut novel. It has everything you want: suspense, adventure, and romance across several continents.” (Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author of Return to Sullivans Island)
From the Back Cover
Leo Hoffman was born with a gift for languages. When his dreams for the future are destroyed by World War I, the dashing young Hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Suddenly Leo is wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes, including murder. Left with no options, he must escape to Shanghai with his lover, carrying with him a stolen treasure that could be his salvation . . . or his death warrant. But the gangsters who control the decadent Asian city have no intention of letting him outrun his past. And when the Japanese invade, one wrong move could cost Leo Hoffman everything he holds dear.
An epic tale of intrigue, passion, and adventure, Heart of Lies heralds the arrival of a remarkable writer.
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Top customer reviews
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ML Malcolm has written a literate person's guilty pleasure. "Heart of Lies" is a masterful combination of quality and fun and deserves great success. Buy it, and help to insure that a sequel comes soon. I can't wait!
Leo Hoffman, ex Hungarian solider who fought for the losing side, has an ear for languages and ambition. However, Leo is tangling with the wrong people and is being forced by circumstances to leave Europe for the perceived safety of Shanghai.
Shanghai is good to Leo, he becomes a wealthy man, meets the right type of people and marries Martha, the love of his life. However, the Japanese invasion puts and abrupt end to their fairytale life and Leo is forced to make some excruciating decisions.
"Heart of Lies" by M.L. Malcolm is a well written novel, with interesting characters and a fast read. Ms. Malcolm certainly knows how to write exotic scenery and move a story forward. The international setting is exquisite, taking place mostly in Shanghai, the reader travels to Hungary, France and New York.
While I did enjoy the book I felt that the mystery was one of the weakest points, as it is more a character study of a man trying to run away from his past. World War I and World War II are mentioned only in passing, but that's understandable as the book starts in the aftermath of the first war and end in the beginning of the second, while mostly taking place in the sanctuary of Shanghai.
The book is supposed to be romantic, but I didn't find it so. While I did find the characters interesting, I didn't think they were well developed and fell somewhat flat. I wasn't sold on Leo and Martha's relationship - OK, she's beautiful and he's handsome - but there is more to a relationship than beauty or a damn good one night stand.
That being said, the story did capture my attention and Ms. Malcolm writes in a style which is both well written and very easy to read. I have to commend Ms. Malcolm for trying to weave several different genres into one book - part historical fiction, part romance, part adventure and business intrigue. Maybe it didn't work as well as she hoped, but it is a great effort and an interesting read from that standpoint.
My advantage of reading this book is that I already had the second one "Heart of Deception" on my shelf. So instead of reading it as a standalone novel, I knew there was more to come.
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