cover image SHOULDER THE SKY


Anne Perry, . . Ballantine, $25.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-345-45654-0

In this excellent sequel to 2003's No Graves As Yet , bestseller Perry continues the exploits of the Reavley children, who lost their parents in a devastating car crash that proved to be no accident on the eve of WWI. The implications of that double homicide continue to dog Joseph, a military chaplain in the thick of trench warfare at Ypres; his sister, Judith, a volunteer driver/translator for the general in command of that front; and their brother, Matthew, an intelligence officer. While justice of a sort was meted out to the man directly responsible for the murder of their parents, the Reavleys believe a master manipulator and traitor they have dubbed the "Peacemaker," who seeks a radical alliance between king and kaiser to end the bloodshed, was the prime mover. When Joseph finds the corpse of an arrogant, bullying journalist in no-man's land, he soon realizes that a British hand was responsible, and that even in the midst of war's savagery, his conscience demands that he seek out the truth. This classic puzzle is nicely paralleled by Matthew's dogged search for the Peacemaker's identity. Perry cleverly resolves some plot lines while reserving the solution of others for future mysteries. Though her depiction of the ravages of war is not at the level of a Charles Todd, she does a superb job of bringing the grimness and waste to life, in a nice shift of gears from her two 19th-century historical series. Agent, Donald Maass. (Sept. 28)