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Vlado Petric, a former homicide detective in Sarajevo, is now living in exile, and making a meagre living working at a Berlin construction site, when an American investigator for the International War Crimes Tribunal recruits him to return home on a mission. The assignment sounds simple enough. He is to help capture an aging Nazi collaborator who has become a war profiteer. But nothing is simple in the Balkans: Petric is also being used as bait to lure his quarry into the open, and when the operation goes sour he is drawn across Europe into a dangerous labyrinth of secret identities, stolen gold, and horrifying discoveries about his own family’s past.
Intelligent and suspenseful, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows brings together chilling crimes, the lies people live and the cold facts of international politics into a masterful, electrifying thriller.
“Deft and gripping. . . . Impeccably written and ably plotted. . . . The action is more or less nonstop.” --The New York Times Books Review
“A literary thriller with historical persepctive. . . . A relentlessly crackling mystery and adventure tale. . . Fesperson’s prose is vivid, almost breakneck in pace. . . . His descriptions of people and places are crisp, precise and memorable.” --The Baltimore Sun
“A modern-day Odyssey that leads its hero through the harrowing Kafkaesque lanscapes of postwar Bosnia and post-Cold War Europe . . . A literary detective novel that thrills as much as it evokes admiration for the prose.” --The Charlotte Observer
"A keep-'em-guessing plot, littered with hidden treasures, international intrigue, lusty old Croatian thugs, and late-night crypt openings." --Entertainment Weekly
“A wonderful book. . . . Timely, thoughtful and vividly written.” –The Seattle Times
“A new standard for war-based thrillers.” –The Los Angeles Times
“A dark and morally complex novel.” –The Daily Telegraph
“A haunting sense of place and enough twists and turns to make the reader giddy. . . . This is not an ordinary thriller and this is enforced by the precision and the quality of the writing. Fesperman’s . . . first-hand experience of war reporting and exhaustive research shine through.” –The Birmingham Post
“[An] ambitious, morally complex thriller.” –The Observer
“Fesperman tells his atmospheric tale with great elegance . . . [and] a sharp analytical curiosity.” –The Guardian
“[A] fine follow-up to the equally fine Lie in the Dark.” –The Orlando Sentinel
“A well-paced tale of deceit, manipulation and double-crossing.” –The Spectator