Dan Fesperman, Author . Knopf $23 (319p) ISBN 978-0-375-41473-2

Fesperman, author of Small Boat of Great Sorrows , a critically acclaimed espionage thriller set in Bosnia, now turns his sights on war-zone journalism in this chilling, timely novel. Newspaper reporter Skelly (aka Stan Kelly) is a former hotshot war correspondent, now a burned-out hack covering town meetings for a Midwestern daily. Five weeks after 9/11 he is given a chance—his last chance to get back in the game, he believes—to cover the war on terror, the Taliban and Afghanistan. In Peshawar, Skelly hires Najeeb, a bright fixer who speaks English and mountain dialects. What Skelly doesn't realize is that Najeeb is an outcast from his tribal clan and an unwilling informer for the Pakistani secret police; Najeeb is also involved in a dangerous, illicit affair with Daliya, who's being punished by her family for resisting an arranged marriage. Battling the pollution and bureaucratic corruption of Peshawar, Skelly and Najeeb try to find a way into Afghanistan. They finally manage to join a warlord's entourage, but just before they leave, Daliya goes missing. Forging ahead, Skelly and Najeeb develop an enduring friendship, tested by their harrowing journey into Afghanistan. Capture, escape and shocking revelations finally save one man and condemn the other in this gripping portrayal of shameless media frenzy and hopeless geopolitical gamesmanship. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Sept. 16)

Forecast: "No, I am not Skelly," says Fesperman in his acknowledgments, but the Baltimore Sun reporter and war correspondent has a similar enough background to make him a fascinating interview prospect, and his detailed insider's account of war reporting will be catnip for news junkies. Eight-city author tour.

Reviewed on: 08/16/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 475 pages - 978-0-552-15024-8
Open Ebook - 273 pages - 978-0-307-42956-8
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-1-4000-3048-4
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4070-9646-9
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