Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2002
ISBN: 080506723X
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Read an Excerpt
Genre: Futuristic Political Thriller
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewer Notes: Explicit (violence, language)


Desert Burial
By Brian Littlefair

A Shocking Look at Our Future

      Seldom does one see a thriller that could be called literary, but Brian Littlefair has managed this feat with Desert Burial, combining his superb imagination, powerful story-telling instinct, and mind for metaphor that continually surprises and delights.

     Burial is primarily set in Mali which the author notes is now "one of Africa's more vigorous democracies." This observation from the author adds a note of irony to his futuristic horror story. That Littlefair's predictions for that country and the world might actually come true makes this story both fascinating and devastating.

     Ty Campbell is a geologist who has finagled his way into being paid by an obscure US government agency to live with the silent rocks and aquifers in the heart of eastern Africa. The opening chapters that tell of the isolation and quiet and mineral deposits he knows are exquisite and a mind-numbing contrast to the bedlam that is about to engulf the world with tentacles so pervasive they reach out even to Campbell's self-imposed isolation in the desert.

     There are some restrained romantic interests. Campbell comes to know several women of substance who personify the different ways people might try to make a positive difference in the world. He comes to know some men who are doing their best to undermine world order. He learns a lot in the process.

      Littlefair's imaginary (and more clairvoyant than fictional) world is, at times, difficult to follow. The ins and outs of politics, the underworld, and the human traffickers aren't immediately clear, but the story would lose something if the reader stopped to trace every intricacy. It's not necessary to catch every relationship and motivation to understand and to love the story. This one was well worth the ride.

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