Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm. Harper, 2010.
[Source: HarperCollins via AuthorsontheWeb.com]
Though the decisions made in Heart of Lies have far greater consequences, I found some similarity between it and the last book I reviewed, The Privileges. Both are the story of a man doing what he thinks he must in order to protect the people he loves. In Heart of Lies, we follow Leo Hoffman from 1919 shortly after the close of World War I to 1939 and the dawn of World War II. The future Leo expected for himself vanishes following World War I. When an opportunity for advancement comes his way, he takes the chance. Unfortunately for Leo, things do not work out the way he planned. Instead, he must flee to Shanghai and find a way to rebuild his life with the woman he loves.
Malcolm did a great deal of research to ensure the historical accuracy of the novel and it shows. The horrible events of the era are faithfully depicted and make the extremely difficult decisions Leo must make easier to accept. There were moments when I was on edge waiting to see if Leo could survive the setback currently facing him. The final pages had me sobbing. Despite Leo's flawed character, I found myself rooting for him every step of the way.
I didn't realize until the end that Malcolm was setting up a series of books. The next is called Heart of Deception and comes out in April 2011. I look forward to following the saga of Leo's life and hope you will join me on his journey.