A shadowy killer stalks the streets of Bucharest, seeking out victims from among the Roma minority.
The police are at a loss to track down the murderer, who always dispatches in the same manner – hence the Sword nickname the media are quick to give to the killer.
As panic starts to take hold and inter-racial tensions start reaching boiling point, politicians and other influential figures try to manipulate the situation for their ends.
A bestseller in Romania and France, Sword is a tumultuous political thriller by journalist and political analyst Bogdan Teodorescu – echoing much of the fears and tensions of today’s political landscape.
I have to admit to being out of my comfort zone whilst reading Sword but only because I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything about or from Romania before. But I do enjoy translated crime fiction so thought I’d give it a go! Once I got used to the very different style of writing, I found a book that really made me think about the preconceived ideas we have about other societies. There is a shamelessly one sided opinion in the press here regarding the Roma community but it came as a bit of a surprise that it appears to be the same in Romania too!
Sword is the name given to the killer who is murdering members of the Roma community in an ever increasing number. But this book isn’t really an investigation into a serial killer but more of a political thriller where the politicians and journalists use these murders for their own agenda. The author has obviously done his research here as the attention to detail is spot on and rather shocking in places. The voice of a killer also adds an added menace and insight into a country I really had no knowledge of previously.
This is a gripping political thriller that has translated well into English and I can see why it was such a bestseller in its country of origin. Once I got used the cultural differences in the narrative, I found it flowed well into its explosive ending. I certainly learnt far more than I was expecting about a country that shouldn’t be judged by our or their media representation.
Who are Corylus Books?
Corylus Books is a new venture aiming to publish exciting new voices translated into English.
The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, in academia, publishing and more, as well as having a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us.
What brings us together is a deep appreciation of fiction – particularly crime fiction, even more particularly crime fiction with a social dimension – and a strong interest in books from countries that have so far been under-represented in English.
It took a little while before we figured out that we were all thinking along similar lines and that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a shared passion for crime fiction and having all participated in or been in involved crime fiction festivals, it seemed the logical next step, and with that, Corylus Books came into being.