We have all seen some little news about Iran, far away and seemingly irrelevant. What Kahlili does is to humanize the agony of nation of people, many of whom are much like us. He makes us feel pain rather than look away. The story is effective partly because the writing is very simple, which allows the manifest sincerity to shine through. While just this would have enough, Kahili also informs and warns about the deeds and aims of the despotic Iranian regime. It is a very important work.
In this second book, Mr. Follet continues the stories of the families from the first book in a compelling and sympathetic way. You already know about the Nazis' rise to power, but the example of the brownshirts breaking up a political meeting gives you a feeling of what it might have been like to live through such a thing. This Winter of the World is well worth listening to.
Matthew Shardlake evolves from something of a reformist zealot to a pragmatist who only serves Cromwell in order to avoid terrible trouble. All his wits do not prevent him from being fooled, which turns out to be for the best. The atmosphere of the abby is so well rendered, one sympathizes with the sentiment to tear it down. The Moorish medicant is an excellent new character. This is another excellent Shardlake story.
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