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.
Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.
His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.
Davis divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Davis at http://www.davisbunn.com.
The Fragment is an international suspense novel that clearly expresses the wonder of God while keep its readers on the edge of their seats. Centuries after Constantine’s mother, Helena, embarked on a quest to find the cross of Jesus (you can read my review of The Pilgrim HERE), a small group endures danger to retrieve one fragment of that cross. The culture and politics of the world in 1923 serves as a backdrop to this novel. The Fragment is Bunn at his best, and I highly recommend it.
Muriel Ross, aged 23, feels her dreams have come true as she wanders the streets of Paris photographing the people she encounters. She is traveling with a US Senator intent of retrieving ancient artifacts. Muriel is an expert employed with the Smithsonian and is crucial to his quest. But Muriel is unaware of the stakes involved — intrigue, danger and betrayal.
The Fragment is written with short chapters keeping the story fresh and fast-paced. The action is only interrupted by the sacred moments Muriel encounters. I loved the suspense, but the moments that Muriel is swept up in the her encounters with God were truly special. Plot takes center stage, but the few main characters are developed enough to get a sense of their thoughts, dreams, struggles and doubts. Muriel is an interesting heroine, at once daring and reflective. Her faith is challenged, but remains firm. For fans of history, The Fragment has it all — a great sense of place and time and well-researched details of the political atmosphere of Europe and the Middle East of the 1920s. Throughout The Fragment, Bunn weaves a faith message that never wavers. Not all the characters are believers, but those that are rely heavily on God’s promises in the midst of trials and tests.
Although the action is concluded in The Fragment, I sense that Bunn is not done with Muriel Ross. I hope that I am right. I would love more books like The Fragment.
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(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)