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Ministers of Fire: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2012
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
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)
Washington Independent Review of Books
Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch
About the Author
Top customer reviews
As a literary scholar, I can say that the book is also beautifully written, but never overwritten, with complex, nuanced characters, and a deep moral seriousness that refuses easy answers to complex questions, either personal or geopolitical.
At the same time, it's a very good read, especially hard to put down in the last 100 pages or so, when the plot twists and turns with often-breathtaking speed, sometimes leaving the reader as bewildered as the characters themselves. In the end, much is explained, and some issues resolved, while the reader is left pondering the vast gray areas revealed by a web of conflict dense with competing goals and ideals, none completely pure, but few entirely evil.
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.