Valley of Thracians

Valley of ThraciansMysterious disappearances, betrayals, loyalty. Crooks, cops, an enigmatic archaeologist, helpful strangers. All these come together against a backdrop of beautiful Bulgarian vistas, crowded cities and down-to-earth rural villages. Then for good measure we have a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mix, in Valley of Thracians by Ellis Shuman.

Imagine my delight in finding this Bulgaria story, with so many aspects of that wonderful country that I had admired and described in my own book. Added to all that rich description and cultural narrative, giving it heart and nerve, is a top-rate mystery plot!

Ellis’ book can be described as a “travel fiction” since the story hinges as much on the setting as on the main characters. Both are developed expertly and the interplay is seamless as the story unfolds. As we follow the twists and turns of the plot we are treated to fascinating lessons in Bulgarian culture, geography, customs and folkways, mores and ways of thinking. The writer’s observations and revelations about the country are always relevant to the action, as well as being informative and fascinating.

The story itself is a thriller with all the classic elements of the genre. We have a missing person presumed dead; clues that don’t fit the official reports; a doting grandpa pushing against all odds to find his beloved grandson; contradictions, suspicions, surprises and reversals. We have bad guys and good guys swirling around a mysterious lost treasure, hide-and-seek chases all over the country, crowded festivals and lonely mountaintops, drugs and guns. There are enough plot twists to engage the diehard mystery reader, and enough human interest angles to warm anyone’s heart.

If it seems clear from the author’s detailed and colorful Bulgaria knowledge that he has “been there,” there’s good reason for that authenticity. His real-life Bulgarian story is told in his Bulgarian Adventure blog, written while he lived and worked in Sofia. For anyone who loves Bulgaria, and even more for anyone who has never thought about Bulgaria, Valley of Thracians is a delightful read.

 

5 thoughts on “Valley of Thracians

  1. Yes, RoseAnn, it certainly is! You can find Ellis’ book on Amazon by searching for the title, Valley of Thracians. You can also jump directly to it by clicking on the link in the first paragraph above. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as Stormy and I did.

  2. I’m glad to announce on Ellis’ behalf that his book has been released in paperback, on Amazon. A story about a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria — great idea! Right?

  3. Ellis Shuman’s blog today has a virtual tour of Tsaravets, a fascinating place featured in both his book and A Breeze in Bulgaria. I recently found that Bulgaria was added to Google Maps “Street View” feature, so you can virtually “walk” through many places in the country. I’ve browsed around in many of the locations in my book, noting old familiar sights and changes as well. When the new Street View coverage was announced, the story featured a view of the entrance to Tsaravets. It was so exciting to realize, “I’ve been there!” and drop in to look around. Going back after reading Ellis’ blog, I was able to “walk around” and see the various scenes that were pictured in his blog, even those big marionettes in the “Theater of the Centuries” just inside the entrance!

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