cover image Invisible Country

Invisible Country

Annamaria Alfieri. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-00453-6

The destruction of Paraguay in the 1860s by its three warring neighbors takes center stage in Alfieri’s second South American historical (after 2009’s City of Silver). Most people in the village of Santa Caterina, a microcosm of the country’s feudal system, live in poverty and near starvation, while a few mostly corrupt members of the upper class enjoy ample food and other privileges. When Ricardo Yotté, “the scion of a noble family,” is found dead in Santa Caterina’s church, several villagers, including Padre Gregorio Perez (who urges women to conceive outside of marriage to replenish the population), decide they must solve the murder before Commandante Luis Menenez, the local governor, accuses an innocent. Meanwhile, Eliza Lynch, the beautiful foreign mistress of the dictator, Francisco Solana López, will stop at nothing to retrieve the fortune she entrusted to Yotté. Alfieri’s vivid depiction of war-ravaged Paraguay more than makes up for the relatively weak mystery plot. Agent: Adrienne Rosado, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (July)