The Secret of Karabakh
by Fidan Bagirova
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Pub Date 14 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 15 Apr 2022
You are not who you think you are. Your future is not what you think it will be.
You are in danger…
Alana Fulton, the beloved only child of wealthy American parents, is bookish and passionate about the past. In the final stages of a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge, Alana’s future is bright and assured. Then comes the anonymous note: You are not who you think you are. Suddenly, everything in her life – including her sense of self – is under assault.
As Alana flees unknown pursuers and mounting danger, all that is familiar crumbles away. In time, it becomes clear to Alana why she’s being pursued; and she must ask herself where her loyalties and her future lie.
The Secret of Karabakh is a fascinating, compelling blend of all-action narrative and political history. Perfect for fans of The Goldfinch, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, and The Kite Runner.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
The Secret of Karabakh by Fidan Bagirova is a cleverly-crafted blend of action thriller and historical fiction with credible characters in an authentic setting. As much as the several settings are vital to the story, the characters are the real stars.
Alana Fulton, the daughter of wealthy Americans is a devoted student of archaeology completing her PhD at Cambridge University when she becomes the subject of both a police investigation and sinister stalkers. After her university rooms become the centre of a terrorist incident and then investigation, she receives an anonymous note warning her that she is in danger.
Her movie-star boyfriend becomes the subject of the police investigation and while on the run the pair are attacked by strangers who seem to be foreign. Alana begins to distrust her boyfriend when he confesses to receiving diamonds in return for protecting her. They escape the police investigation by private jet to Switzerland but their attackers follow. After a Bond-esque chase scene, Alana travels to Azerbaijan. Threaded through the action thriller is a gradually-evolving story of Alana’s real identity and real personal history.
Also slowly revealed are the personal perspectives from the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia – a real and relatively recent and still unresolved conflict over territory, natural resources and cultural histories.
Rescued from near-death in Gstaad, Switzerland, Alana is given an ever-so-brief explanation of her real family origins before being whisked from Geneva to Baku, Azerbaijan. She is reunited with her grandfather, once the landlord/tribal leader of Karabakh now living in exile in Baku. Alana yearns to return to her homeland to untangle and clarify jumbled and vague memories of her terrifying childhood experiences of the war and fleeing from invading troops. From here, the story accelerated, the danger and courage, in equal measures, increased, as did the urgency of my reading. I quickly read through the last hundred or so pages to the satisfying conclusion.
Lingering notes… A few days after finishing The Secret of Karabakh I am remembering the high quality of writing, judicious combinations of dialogue and description of action to create a sense of pace, and the inclusion of so much accurate history that gave the book its meaning, as well as a vivid sense of place. I’m also left with clear feelings about the characters – the evil of some, the depth and devotion of others, and the courage and determination repeatedly shown by Alana.
The Secret of Karabakh has a beautiful cover and a description that mentions The Kite Runner and The Beekeeper of Aleppo- I love the former and can’t wait to read the latter. So, I had high expectations before I started reading this and I am not disappointed at all!
This is a gripping tale that has history, politics and archeology, that is hard to put down. Alana Fulton is a archeological researcher at Cambridge. Suddenly, things couldn’t get worse— she is being stalked, her apartment is ransacked, her boyfriend is paid by a stranger for spying on her, she was the target of an assassination attempt. Alana is unable to understand the recent developments in her life without delving into the past. A past that is closely tied with the history of Azerbaijan, and their conflict with Armenia. Fortunately, history is what Alana is deeply interested in. And she must learn the whole truth even when in mortal danger.
A beautiful read that shed light on the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. A must read if you are interested in reading of the devastating aftermaths of war.
Thank you NetGalley and publisher for the ARC. I look forward to more works by Fidan Bagirova.
This book was very good! It had a great plot and brought you into a part of the world I don’t know much about. Informative and enjoyable at the same time. I would high recommend reading it!
As Alana flees unknown pursuers and mounting danger, all that is familiar crumbles away. In time, it becomes clear to Alana why she’s being pursued; and she must ask herself where her loyalties and her future lie. This is definitely one of those special books that I will keep on my shelves to go back to and reread. It says a lot that I am still thinking about this book a few days after finishing it!
Thank you for allowing me to read this book. I loved the Kite Runner so right off the bat I knew I would love this. A story that has politics and history is hard for me to put down. I can’t imagine making up one morning thinking that you aren’t who you think you not are.
Alana Fulton is a researcher at Cambridge. She is stalked and her apartment broken into. She finds out that her boyfriends is actually spying on her. This leads her to looking into her past which involves the history of the conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijani.
This was a hard to put down novel that I loved.
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