cover image In the Wolf's Mouth

In the Wolf's Mouth

Adam Foulds. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-17582-5

Combining careful, considered prose with horrific realism, the latest from Foulds (Man Booker finalist for The Quickening Maze) expertly renders the Allied campaigns in Italy and North Africa during WWII through the experiences of a handful of bluntly human characters. Ciro Albanese, a well-connected criminal, fled Italy just before the Fascists took over 20 years ago. He returns as a guide for the liberators, his illicit skills only sharpened during his time away. Will Walker joined the English Field Security Service with grand designs. He's convinced he could change the world for the better, if only his superiors would listen to him. Ray Marfione, an infantryman from New York, finds community in his squadron, but even the tightest bonds seem fragile against the war's terrifying violence. Each of these characters is desperate in his own way, and Foulds follows them across rough, beautiful terrain, as the war, indifferent to their intentions, determines their fates. By the end, which features some difficult, realistic, and earned resolutions, readers will be amazed at this deeply felt, vivid novel. (June)