When my dear friend Peter Dash asked me to read his first novel “Zurabia” and write a review, I was a bit anxious. “What if I don’t like it?”, I thought. I need not have worried.
I was hooked after the first chapter. This was even after I determined that my buddy, with whom I once shared the same academic workplace, wrote this chapter in a little too heavy style for a novel.
This issue didn’t bother me either. I was intrigued by Peter’s story, and by his character Adrian Sands by the time I began chapter 2.
Sands is quite the mulitasker. He is bodyguard to a politically involved group of women based in Switzerland. He is a Harvard professor.Adrian is also a spy. But best of all, the man is an assassin.
With all this going on, you would think Adrian would have no room for love. However, like any good novel, there must be a romantic involvement for the protagonist, and Sands (aka a host of other aliases) finds his in Isolde. In her, Adrian has a tiger by the tail.
Isolde shares Adrian’s heart for the clandestine and for the high life. And like today’s modern day love affairs, the reader cannot tell who is leading who.
An accurate portrayal of male/female relationships is not the only up-to-date analysis in Dash’s “Zurabia”. Peter exhibits a wealth of knowledge regarding banking, the Arab world, neo-Nazis and Switzerland, one of my well-traveled friend’s favorite places.
The events in Dash’s narrative are not only current, but also prophetic. Some of the fictional occurrences in “Zurabia” have already happened (think Greece), and it is only a matter of time before others do as well. When I correspond with Peter, we sometimes relate today’s news with the book. “Is this chapter 33?”, he asks, for example.
As the story of story of financial shenanigans and planned terrorism proceeds, the crisis gets worse. So does Peter and Isolde’s personal predicaments.
But Peter doesn’t leave them there. Like a good novelist, he ties up the loose ends in the final chapters. After I was finished, I was right there next to Adrian and Isolde. I felt like I knew them well.
Perhaps I do know Adrian. “Is Peter Dash Adrian Sands”, I ask myself. My answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Adrian’s first person narrative conveys the Dash wit I know and love. Yet, I do remind myself that Peter is is not an assassin, at least I hope not, as I have shared accommodations on several occasions!
In any case, like Adrian, I know Peter is not to be trifled with. That’s why I am writing this review before he comes after me.
In all seriousness, you should read Dash’s book. You won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t.
In fact, as I finished the last page of “Zurabia” I was already looking forward to its sequel, which Peter is working on now. I know my friend learned a lot writing his first novel, and I can’t wait to see an even better story the next time out.