The story moves with swift suspense, but Miller’s real achievement is to take us inside a mindset nearly lost to time, and to create identifiable, sympathetic characters on all sides, including those who are willing to do murder to preserve the Confederacy and its “peculiar institution.”
I’m a huge fan of Klavan’s. So is my 12-year-old son. He called Klavan’s recent young-adult novel, The Last Thing I Remember, the best book he has ever read — and that’s high praise, because the boy is a bookhound.
Most of what Klavan writes is definitely not kid lit. I recommend starting with Empire of Lies, an excellent war-on-terror thriller. Also, if you like supernatural fiction — and especially if you’re a fan of ghost-story master M.R. James — then check out The Uncanny. I could go on and on and on. But I’ll say just two more things: Klavan’s blog is worth reading and his five-part web-video with Peter Robinson is worth watching.
Of the four authors who are blurbing The First Assassin, Klavan is the only one I’ve met in person. We had lunch last year in California, when I was on a trip. Up to then, I hadn’t told him about my secret project. But I wanted receive his professional advice. I remember almost exactly what I said: “You know, I’ve written a novel–but don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to read it.” Then we had conversation on the business of book publishing.
When it came time to collect blurbs this summer, I emailed Klavan. Technically, I didn’t ask him to read The First Assassin. Heck, I would have been delighted just to have a blurb, no matter how phony! But he has more integrity than that. He requested a copy of the manuscript and asked for a deadline. A few weeks later, this wonderful blurb arrived.