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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
A Lion in the Grass by Mark Zvonkovic is a great novel with a strong appeal to fans of espionage and military thrillers. It follows the journey of a brilliant spy, Raymond Hatcher. At eighteen, he already has a college degree, and because of his keen intellect and language skills, he is recruited by the OSS and trained by an experienced spy. His career involves infiltrating Japanese-occupied French Indochina. He continues to serve the country as a spy after the war, but when forced to retire, he moves to his farmhouse where he takes up birdwatching. Can he fit into his new reality after a lifetime of service in espionage and how about his desire for revenge against a ruthless French psychopath?
This novel had me asking so many questions: what happens when we can’t do what we are best at? It is psychologically and emotionally engaging and raises questions about transitioning from active service to retirement. A Lion in the Grass is well-written, and from the start, I was pulled in by Mark Zvonkovic’s wonderful prose and ability to write great descriptions. The plot is well-handled and the narrative fast-paced. The narrative takes readers on a ride that spans over six decades, starting from 1942; it is like walking with the protagonist through a lifetime. It features elaborately developed characters, well-written scenes, and situations that are breathtaking. A Lion in the Grass has strong historical hints, a story with realistic characters, and elements of style that deepen the suspense and the overall entertaining quality of the story.