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5.0 out of 5 starsFast-paced adventure!
Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Morgan Sierra is in Budapest when a priest is murdered in the Basilica of St. Stephen and the Holy Right relic, a national treasure, is stolen by a terrorist organization. She is trapped in the synagogue with Zoltan Fischer, a Hungarian Jewish security advisor. Together, they must locate and retrieve the relic, to stop the anti-Semitic violence. Ms. Penn has done her painstaking research into the relic, the city and the culture upon which to apply her sterling story-telling skills into a riveting tale that kept me engrossed. This is fast-paced, easy to read and quite enjoyable. I highly recommend this series and will be reading the next installment soon.
Although I was asked to review this audio book by the author, I had purchased the Kindle version already because the title piqued my interest (not knowing it was #4 in a series), so I have to congratulate the author for a book that can stand alone as a well written piece of fiction and historically accurate.
That being said, I commend J.F. Penn on an emotional and poignant manuscript of history. Being a history buff I can relate to these events of the Jews to the past civilizations; to the Jacobites who stored treasures of King James' and weapons in caves throughout Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. In WWII the treasures and supplies hidden under London in, what is now, 'the Tube'. I myself have always felt there are the makings for nuclear weapons under Berlin in Hitler's underground highway (actually city), and in bunkers under the dunes in the deserts and mountain caves in the middle east. This book reminds me of the repetition of nationalists. I began to cry because of the truths and possibilities of the recurrences in our lifetime and that of our children.
I am a fan and will be spending the summer reading the series in its entirety. Congratulations J.P.
4.0 out of 5 starsFast paced and suspenseful and a very quick read!
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2015
Love JF Penn's ARKANE series. One of the survey questions was "How would you describe the characters?" with the options of One-dimensional, Developed and Complex. I suppose if one just picked up this book and hadn't read any of the prior ARKANE series, they may think the characters are One-dimensional, but as a series reader, I was glad that Ms. Penn did not have to take the time to remind me of the primary character's background and could get right into the plot of the story. It is also quite obvious that Ms. Penn does her historical research on the places that she chooses to write about. I have not read anything written by her yet, that I haven't stopped to look up more information about a place, a time in history, a object even, because she piqued my interest or I had never learned about it before. It's one of the reasons I look forward to reading the next book. I love history and love to learn. JF Penn continually inspires me to find out more about something I knew little or nothing about.
This is a riveting, fast-paced thriller that blends a view of modern-day Hungary with ghosts of the past. The book evokes memories of my student days in Vienna when I visited Budapest, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The book is written from the perspective of psychologist Dr. Morgan Sierra, who grew up in Israel. Her father was a Sephardic Jew who died in an act of terror. Dr. Sierra was visiting Budapest on a humanitarian mission to return a stolen painting and Torah to the Dohany Street synagogue in Budapest. Dr. Sierra gets caught up in an outburst of anti-Semitic terrorism from an extremist group that evokes nightmares of the Nazi era. The story ends in suspense when Dr. Sierra receives a cell phone message that a package from her late father awaits her. I look forward to learning more about this development in another book by J.F. Penn.
An excellent novella that could come from any newspaper in today’s world. One group of people casting the shadow of guilt on another group by leaving clue as they commit crimes. In this case the murder of a priest, the theft of a holy relic is committed with then intent of creating an anti-Semitic uprising.
This story begins to give more backstory to Dr. Morgan Sierra that we haven’t seen in the previous ARKANE stories.
Once again Penn provides a story that immerses the reader in a world filled with intrigue, adventure, and spiritual/religious underpinnings.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent story that leaves you out of breath
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2018
This was so exciting. Excellent story and the narrator did a marvelous job in keeping me on the edge of my seat. (I realized later that I accidentally had the book at 1.5 speed) I was listening on a car ride and had to stop the book while I drove through Miami traffic! This was the first of the series for me. I didn't feel lost and I'm going back to book one so I can read (and or listen) in order!
A novella which grabs you in and makes you a part of the story is what J.F. Penn created. One Day In Budapest, is filled with action, adventure, and betrayal. More importantly, it is a read which focuses your attention on the political motivations of right wing conservatives. Looking at extremists, the politicizing and corruption of religions and the quick reactions of the people into a mob bent on vengeance; J.F. Penn brings you into the realities of the world and how we need to be vigilant in not allowing evil to take control.
It's a great read and an interesting topic to reflect upon. 5 stars all the way.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2018
A slightly different slant on this series, but with no less tension or compelling storyline. This covers the use of a relic, revered as of great significance to national identity and feelings. The purpose to stir up hatred of a racial minority within Hungary and to ensure the sweep to power of an extreme right wing political leader. Sadly, despite the lessons of history, there has been an increase in support of the far right and an increase in both anti Semitic feelings and other minorities. I gave the rating for the great narrative, well researched content and for the message that extremism in all of its spectrum is so very dangerous.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2013
Having visited Budapest on three separate occasions I was able to relate very well to this story. I also knew something of its troubled past. This novella begins with the killing of a Catholic priest and the subsequent stealing of a holy relic. As on so many occasions in Hungary's history the Jewish population are being persecuted as rumours and lies spread that this holy relic was stolen by them. The story moves on at a fair pace and parts of it are definitely not for the squeamish. Nonetheless it makes for an interesting take on what could happen again in Budapest's unhappy past. The characterisation was strong and the story believable. I was particularly impressed with the author's notes at the end and the numerous links to the city's history.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2020
Not my cup of tea, I'm afraid - though it has good pace and the writer has done some research. I lived in Hungary for nearly 7 years, and I'm afraid Viktor Orban is way smarter than the villain in this story - and much much harder to defeat.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2013
Condensing a well plotted narrative into novella form is an art, one which Joanna Penn has clearly mastered.
I must admit I haven't read a great many novellas, but those I have read have sometimes left me with the impression that something is missing. That `something' might be lack of story, or character depth, or background research, but none of that applies here.
What `One Day In Budapest' delivers is a fast paced narrative which brings this vibrant Eastern European capital to life. Pretty soon we're immersed in a world of murder and intrigue, and as the plot thickens the menacing shadow of fascism looms ever larger.
On the face of it Dr Morgan Sierra and her associate Zoltan Fischer are in a race against time to find a stolen relic, but they soon become embroiled in a darker world altogether, where political machinations are conspiring to ease the re-emergence of far right dictums.
Many will find it quite chilling, and some may argue that the author has overplayed her hand, but scratch beneath the surface of many `respectable' European governments and you will find those who are itching to blame others for their woes... and they're poised to prey on vulnerable targets.
History ought to provide shelter from such extreme philosophies, but the danger that some will forget how frighteningly easy it was for the Nazis to wheedle their way into authority have a timely reminder here.
This story will keep your intrigue and provide unsavoury food for thought. Some of the settings are most vivid and bring the old and the new of Budapest into sharp focus. A Thoroughly rewarding read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2013
On the surface, it's another 'action movie' kinda book from the Dan Brown, Jason Bourne school.
On a whole other level, it's a salutory reminder that the 'old days' are never far away if we let fear-full thinking gain a foothold.
Well done for encapsulating so much of a point in a book that takes less than a day to read. Am heading to Budapest next year as it happens and my itinary will be guided by the places in this novella. Big thanks for the history lesson.