PositiveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewThis new book is a straight-up, linear, third-person historical novel, an achingly romantic story of forbidden love and something of a rescue tale — all taking place off the coast of Japan, circa 1799. Postmodern it’s not … This is a book about many things: about the vagaries and mysteries of cross-cultural love; about faith versus science; about the relative merits of a closed society versus one open to ideas and development (and the attendant risks and corruptions); about the purity of isolation (human and societal) versus the messy glory of contact, pluralism and global trade … Its pacing can be challenging, and its idiosyncrasies are many. But it offers innumerable rewards for the patient reader and confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] disturbing and riveting book ... If this all sounds like the plot of a detective novel, you have fallen under the spell of David Grann’s brilliance...As a reporter he is dogged and exacting, with a singular ability to uncover and incorporate obscure journals, depositions and ledgers without ever letting the plot sag. As a writer he is generous of spirit, willing to give even the most scurrilous of characters the benefit of the doubt ... in these last pages, Grann takes what was already a fascinating and disciplined recording of a forgotten chapter in American history, and with the help of contemporary Osage tribe members, he illuminates a sickening conspiracy that goes far deeper than those four years of horror. It will sear your soul.