Cover Image: The Bucharest Legacy

The Bucharest Legacy

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Member Reviews

This was just the intriguing, fast-start spy book I needed to get out of my reading slump. I did find myself loosing some of the threads as this is intricately woven. While I think I might have benefitted from reading the first in the series beforehand, this was an enjoyable and escapist read.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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The background information of a not well known country was fabulous. The role of the CIA is scary because it has now intensified.
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Move over spy guys, there's a new analyst turned agent in the game. THE BUCHAREST LEGACY: The Rise of the Oligarchs, is not only the story of capitalism versus communism in newly independent Romania, but also the story of all the countries no longer part of the Soviet bloc. It would seem that capitalism breeds corruption in the same way that communism did… just on a more massively lucrative scale.

The story of the oligarchs is told through the convoluted life of Bill Hefflin. He was born in Bucharest, taken as a child to Greece, and was finally brought to the United States. His life is also a love story for the ages. In THE BUCHAREST LEGACY, the questions of his life are knit together from many disparate strings. The many political lessons in the book can be applied today to those same former Soviet bloc nations. Some made serious strides to become democracies while others took the road to oligarchy.

The most fascinating part of the book revolves around the enigmatic Boris, the CIA asset who will only deal with Bill Hefflin. He is the reason Hefflin went from analyst to field agent. Boris, known to many under various names, is at the heart of everything. The Bucharest stories are as much about him as they are about Hefflin.

Although the sell copy says the Bucharest books featuring Bill Hefflin can stand on their own and be read in any order, having read THE BUCHAREST DOSSIER, I would recommend reading them in the order in which they were published. However, Bill's italicized 'thoughts' do provide some insight into what happened in the first book. Reading THE BUCHAREST LEGACY, a bit more than a year after THE BUCHAREST DOSSIER, I find his 'thoughts' to be helpful reminders. The other reason for reading books, any books for that matter, in the order in which they are published provides insight into the growth of any author as he or she or they work on perfecting their craft.

THE BUCHAREST LEGACY: The Rise of the Oligarchs does not end with a cliffhanger, but there is reason to believe we haven't heard the last of Hefflin. I for one will welcome reading more about him from William Maz.
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This is a page-turning thriller set in Bucharest, Romania, in the early nineties. The back page claims this is the follow-up to the Bucharest Dossier but both novels can be read as stand-alone books. I have not read the first book and because of this, there were a few premises that I couldn't really accept. This prevented me from fully engaging with the book as much as I would have liked, and I think that if I had read tBD first, I would have enjoyed this book more.  

I also feel that one has to have a fairly solid grasp of Romanian culture and cuisine to properly appreciate this book. Throughout, William Maz will randomly mention some Romanian food or drink, or less frequently some famous building or other cultural tidbits. I would love this if he was more descriptive at these moments. The best we can get is that it is "delicious" or it is something you cannot properly get in New York. More often, there is no description at all. The first couple of times I actually looked things up on Google, but after a while, I gave up on that and just let my eyes glaze over at their mention. I don't know if Maz only did minimally enough research to know a few Romanian names for food and drinks, but not enough to truly know what they are, or if Maz simply assumes everyone should already know. Either way, a little more work or a little better writing was called for here.

That said, the book was good enough that I read more than half of it in one setting, sacrificing most of a good night's sleep to do so. The plot is paced well and channeled the nineties vibe of such authors as Scott Turow or Dean Koontz. I didn't feel like I was reading a modern historical fiction/thriller set thirty years ago but rather a contemporary thriller that was written thirty years ago. For that, kudos to the author.
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This book comes on the coat-tails of the first in a series, The Bucharest Dossier.  And just when you think you've come full circle to a happily ever after ending, this story throws a curve ball at you as happened in the former book.  You'll just have to read this intriguing tale to come to the conclusion's beginning.  There's plenty of cloak and dagger and spy work happening with Bill Hefflin once again at the helm. The intrepid Catherine also makes an appearance, so beware.  

One doesn't often read historical fiction works about such countries as Romania as this one does, so it is 'novel'.  The time-frame is post-revolution time and all the aftermath turmoil with embroiled oligarchs, henchmen and spies.

What's not to love about this second in a series chronicle?  I think readers will be just as interested in it as the first.  Although it's a 'stand alone' work, there would be better connection if a reader could read the first in the series, I felt, and was glad I had had that privilege.  There are discussion questions  at book's end as well as a brief history 'lesson' regarding the book's time frame setting and the political situation of that time.   Note that some of the more intimate scenes I could definitely have lived without reading, so other readers may take exception to these limited episodes.  Overall, I'd say William Maz has got himself another winner.

                                                  ~Eunice C.,  Reviewer/Blogger~

                                                                    April 2023

Disclaimer:  This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.
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I did not see this set-up coming. I like that in a spy story, especially a series. What I *did* see coming was that the author would keep using the ethnic slur "gypsy" which as a Romanian he should know is the semantic equivalent of the "n" word...but wait! there's more, as the infomercials used to say....

Considering how the previous book ended, I was expecting to feel pretty indifferent to the life Bill's received from his immigrant parets and their sacrifices, from Boris and his scale-balancing, being placed under threat. I was, in fact, uninterested in his fatherhood, his marriage to the still-icky-to-me Catherine, all that pop-music-scored montage material. Once Bill's in the vice-grip of his old job's new bosses and he's back in Bucharest, I stopped speed-flipping and resumed reading.

What we have is a spy story that really bites into the apple of all (especially the best) spy stories: who're the "good" guys when absolutely everyone is lying through their (false) teeth and giving you Bambi-eyes through colored contacts as they try to distract you with a hand job while picking your pocket and measuring you up for a swift stab?

The good news is that the story is up to its convolutions now. The sub-optimal news is that the ending goes places I found repugnant and disturbing. The sheer velocity of the spy bits would get an honest four-plus stars. The ending's shenanigans lopped that half-star right back off. The chasing around and the inclusion of Catherine in the spying got my happy grins. The way the author treats his ethnic slur use won me back to his side. The resolution of Bill's quest for roots was also quite deftly sewn into the material of the plot. There's a degree of...I suppose wistfulness is the word I'll that resolution, and it was laced with a very true-to-life salting of disillusionment. Like most all of us, Bill does not leave his twenties with his idealism intact; like almost any of us who become parents, he discovers the oceanic depths of the connection between parent and child. He becomes a different, more dangerously grounded man.

Real Rating: 3.5* of five

As the body count that results from this mounts, I felt that most agreeable glow of the thriller reader, "they deserved it", suffusing me regularly. I don't think a single murder was committed before my bifocals that I'd've flinched away from in real life. That is a good trait in a spy story. As the action in this story moves around the globe more than the first one, I was satisfied that the author chose to focus most of his descriptive and evocative prose on Bucharest as it transitions from failed Communist state to failing oligarchy. I am very unfamiliar with Bucharest so I was most interested in the parts of the story in that setting.

But the psychosexual peek into the author afforded by the ending was greatly not to my taste. I'm sure I'll read another one of these, should one eventuate; I'm forewarned that there will be disagreeable ladlings of heterosexual activity; I can only hope the author will feed me more Romanian atmosphere to help mask the bitter taste of it. I'd really like to smack the copyeditor, too, for failing to catch things like "peak" for "pique" and other such homophones. The w-verb bombing is present, too, and honestly should be a fine-able offense.

On the whole, a guarded and qualified endorsement of the story.
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When a KBG defector claims that there is a mole within the CIA, Bill Heflin is forced to rejoin the CIA in order to uncover  the truth. This spy thriller had so many twists and turns that it kept me coming back. While the story was engaging I did find it hard to follow the plot at times. There were so many side stories and so many "associates" that Hefflin involved himself with that I found myself saying "Who the hell is this guy now?" I found some of the facts about post communist Romania to be very interesting though definitely a bit far stretched. I did find some parts of the book a bit cringy but we can hash that to personal preference.

Overall I found it to be well written, pretty engaging though unwieldy at times. 3 1/2 stars for me. 

Thank you Netgalley and Oceanview for the free advanced copy. 

#TheBucharestLegacy #NetGalley
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This is an intricately woven espionage novel that takes place in Bucharest during the time of Romania's transition to democracy; three years after the revolution. Using his expertise as a creator of maze puzzles, and activity books for children, the author, William Maz, now takes us into a literary labyrinth of intrigue once again for this his sophomore novel. His knowledge base and research are superb.

I truly enjoyed the first book in this series, "The Bucharest Dossier". Bill Hefflin, the main character in both books, is interesting and very likable. In this story, Hefflin returns to the CIA to help find a Soviet mole within the Agency, while also being a suspect himself. A convoluted tale of spy intelligence and counterintelligence ensues. However, this book didn't hold my interest as much as the last one. For me, the plot lost its focus and the narrative spent too much time on a secondary plot line. I like the main character, but I'm hoping at this point that he is finished with Bucharest and may move on to a new locale for his next adventure in the spy world.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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If you like spy novels, you must know the latest work by William Maz "The Bucharest Legacy".  Together with the main character, we are looking for a double and maybe even a triple agent.  We travel through many cities and countries.  We move in different years.  This thriller is very engaging.  I couldn't stop reading.  Interesting plot.  A super hero whose life will be exposed to death more than once.  Will his family survive?  It was my first reading encounter with the works of William Maz.  Now I know it won't be the last.  This work is brilliant.  I love spy thrillers.  I found a lot of unexpected twists here.  The plot is excellent.  All you have to do is read "The Bucharest legacy".  Time spent reading was not time wasted.
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The Bucharest legacy, the rise of Oligarchs by William Maz, is an astonishing book. It opens the doors to the post-communism era in Romania. It can be called the dark side of the moon. Its theme is like that of a spy movie. It has the spying thrilling element, a strong bond of love, being a parent and a remarkable history. These themes flow smoothly in parallel dimensions and create an excellent narration. 

Each chapter is full of curiosity and makes the reader turn pages to read what will happen next. Which character will do what? The reader feels like going through a chess game. Heflin, Boris, Tanti Bobo, Tyler, Catherine, Ingram, Mayfield and every character unfolds a dark past and even a dark present. 

Heflin is the center character of the whole story. He unties the knots that will lead him to the suspected mole in the CIA operating in Romania. Not only this, but it will also reveal the past chapters of his own life and all about his family. His deep relationship with Boris stays like a puzzle throughout the story, though he knows his friend died years ago.

The language used is easy and approachable to the reader. The historical element is elaborated excellently, and the vast knowledge of how oligarchs established themselves in the political system with corruption overflowing is mind-blowing. The political games played, and the staunching bureaucratic mysteries leave you stunned at different points in the book. It makes the reader admire the writer’s interest in the history of a country’s political scenario and all the bureaucratic cobwebs.

It’s an excellent book. I really appreciate William’s skills in narration and knowledge and how he keeps the reader engaged throughout the book. Recommended for a mature audience, interested in a spying action thriller and have a great interest in political and bureaucratic upheavals and the post-communist era in Romania. A great read.
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I found this unbelievable and not on the level of great spy novels or even medium ones.  Much prefer Daniel Silva or even Tom Bradby.
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this was a really well done mystery novel, it had what I was hoping for from the other book I read The Bucharest Dossier. William Maz has a great writing style that I was invested in what was going on, the story worked well and I'm glad I got to read this. I enjoyed the historical elements in the book and going through this.

"He shrugged. “No particular reason. He sounds interesting.” She leaned back in the couch. “Now, cousin, I know you. You don’t just do something for no reason. You sound like the old spy.”
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