Chris Bohjalian

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The Light in the Ruins

book | Fiction | 2013
US → Doubleday (Ed. Jenny Jackson)
A New York Times Bestseller.

A Publishers Weekly Bestseller.

A National Indiebound Bestseller.

One of Barnes & Noble's "Best Books of July."

One of Oprah Magazine's "Ten Titles to Pick Up Right Now.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge – set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis' bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what once was their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case – a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood – Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for The Light in the Ruins


Translation Rights Sold

Hermes Publishing House
Pantagruel Forlag AS
The Light in the Ruins

Mastering matters subtle and grotesque, Bohjalian combines intricate plotting and bewitching sensuality with historical insight and a profound sense of place to create an exceptional work of suspense rooted in the tragic aberrations of war. Donna Seaman
Booklist Starred Review
Full Review

In post–World War II Tuscany, a serial killer targets the remnants of a noble family.
A soulful why-done-it.
Kirkus Reviews
Full Review

An exploration of post-WWII Italy doubles as a murder mystery in this well-crafted entertaining historical whodunit.
Publishers Weekly

One by one a vengeful killer begins murdering members of the once noble Rosati clan, a Tuscan family suspected of being Nazi sympathizers. Denise calls this historical mystery, which alternates between 1950s and World War II-era Italy, "an enthralling tale of enduring love, family bonds, war's devastation, of inexplicable drew me in immediately and never let go."
GOODREADS: July 2013 Movers & Shakers engaging story Sheila Moeschen
New York Journal of Books
Full Review

The Light in the Ruins elucidates, haunts and raises moral quandaries...Bohjalian's historical retelling is riveting...A memorable read. Claudia Puig
USA Today

One of the fifteen best books of summer. . .A picturesque page turner.
Good Housekeeping

You got admire a bestselling author who refuses to keep writing the same novel. Bohjalian flexes his literary muscles, crafting a ghost story, historical fiction, and now police procedural between World War II and the 1950s.[Bohjalian] is skilled at evoking the sepia-tinged past.
Entertainment Weekly

The Light in the Ruins is masterfully crafted. It is a near-perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery and suspense. Brighid Moret
The Washington Times

Beautifully crafted. . .utterly compelling. . .a tour-de-force murder mystery, heartbreaking romance and a dazzling denouement that will tear your heart out. Eugenia Zukerman
The Washington Post

An intriguing tale of Bohjalian complexity. . .The Light in the Ruins is plotted with an elegance worthy of an Etruscan. It pivots between creation and destruction, the past and the present, and the uneasy chimerical points where they collide. Ellen Kanner
The Miami Herald

The subtlety and language of a literary novelist...The denouement is dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner. Curt Schleier
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Bohjalian raises questions about the nature of injustice and the often arbitrary codes we deploy in order to keep a firm grasp on right and wrong, good and evil, or hero and villain. The Light in the Ruins offers an engaging story that unspools in such a way as to keep the reader with her nose to the pages long after the light has actually faded. Sheila Moeschen
New York Journal of Books

Thoroughly gripping, beautiful, and astonishingly vengeful, this novel is a heartbreaker. Bohjalian's latest turn to historical fiction is immensely rewarding.
Library Journal- starred review
Full Review

A mystery that reminds us of the harrowing choices World War II forced on so many. Beautifully structured, written with restrained intensity and suspenseful to the end, this is both a satisfying mystery and a gut-wrenching account of moral dilemma in a time of moral struggle. Robin Micheli
People Magazine

Addictive, fast-paced, and often frankly terrifying...Bohjalian has created an entertaining, thought-provoking, and disturbingly contemporary fictional world in which compassion and outrage are two sides of the same coin...Fling open the shutters. Settle in a comfortable chair. Lock the doors. Then turn to the first page of The Light in the Ruins and let the shadows in. Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Bohjalian effectively blends the symbolism into the story to make readers feel tension, fear and disgust. The novel also gives readers a look at the murderous atmosphere of fascist Italy, a warped circumstance that reverberated years after the war ended. David Hendricks
The San Antonio Express-News

Jane Gelfman

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Translation Rights
Claire Nozieres
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
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