In the newest high-stakes historical thriller from master storyteller Davis Bunn, skepticism vies with faith amid the grit and grandeur of post-World-War-I Europe.
It’s 1923, and a resilient Paris is starting to recover from the ravages of World War I and the Spanish Flu Epidemic. Enter young Muriel Ross, an amateur American photographer tasked with documenting the antiques that her employer, U.S. Senator Tom Bryan, has traveled to France in order to acquire.
Although she’s exhilarated to have escaped her parents and the confines of their stifling Virginia home, Muriel has lingering questions about why the senator has chosen her for this grand adventure. Nevertheless, she blossoms in her new surroundings, soaking up Parisian culture and capturing the sights and sounds of Paris on her camera.
But events take a dangerous turn when she discovers that the senator is on a mission far more momentous—and potentially deadly—than a mere shopping trip.At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senator Bryan asks Muriel to photograph an astonishing artifact: a piece of the True Cross, discovered by Empress Helena—a historical figure familiar to readers of The Pilgrim.
When rumors surface that another fragment has been unearthed, Muriel becomes enmeshed in a covert international alliance dedicated to authenticating the fragment—and protecting it from those who will stop at nothing to steal and discredit it.
When I read and review a book my default review style lends itself towards critical analysis. Sometimes this leads me to receive critical responses :). I found The Fragment impossible to review in this manner.
It didn’t feel at all natural to stop reading in order to take notes as I often do. I was carried along on an ethereal journey. The search, the mystery… it is all filled with such beauty forged from joy, surprise, delight, longing, heartache, and pain. In all honesty, I can not adequately explain the feeling that it invoked in me. I wish that I could as that is my “job”. But then again, isn’t that the mark of a truly good book? To be taken outside of yourself and be in the journey. Davis Bunn is in every way an expert writer as he excels in this.
Our protagonist Muriel is a creative soul who sees what most others do not. She sees deeply into the heart of the people around her and so she sees the strength and beauty of the French people recovering from the staggering wounds of the Great War. Muriel is rare. Additionally, Muriel is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and is wise in thought and deed. Her insights and photographs are soulful, gritty, real, fascinating, and intuitive. The Fragment as a story is one that I found beautiful in the same way that Muriel's view of the French people through the lens of her camera is beautiful.
In essence, The Fragment reached me in my heart more than my mind for which I am thankful.
One itty bitty bit of critical analysis…
I am not Catholic. Therefore I have some differences of viewpoint with the Catholic theology of The Fragment. Those differences are laid out in much more detail than you probably desire in my review of The Pilgrim. Feel free to go and take a look. The Fragment has a more worshipful feel than The Pilgrim so the theological differences didn’t stand out as harshly for me.
I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.