Title: Come Barbarians
Author: Todd Babiak
Genre: Political Thriller
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
In the south of France, a man trying to leave his past behind is caught in a shadowy web of political ambition and violence.
Christopher Kruse has moved to the south of France with his wife and daughter to become a better man—to escape his past as a high-priced security agent and his guilt over old wrongs. But when death comes crashing into their newly idyllic life, the Kruses find themselves drawn into a web of political gamesmanship and murder. When his wife disappears, Christopher must draw on his old instincts to find her, ahead of the police and two sinister members of a Corsican crime family. As Christopher’s desperate search leads him closer to his wife, it pulls him deeper into the dangerous machinations of the most powerful leaders in the country.
Come Barbarians is a gripping novel of murder, revenge and high stakes, balanced by moments of love, loyalty and loss. Todd Babiak has created a complex, magnetic character forced to confront his bleakest hour and his darkest impulses.
There are certain books that I generally don’t ever buy — or read, really — because I know for a fact I’m not going to like them. Usually, it’s anything to do with politics (since my eyes tend to glaze over the details) or mysteries. Sometimes I’m okay with a mystery book, but that might be because of Sherlock Holmes. Regardless of the reasons, when I saw that local author Todd Babiak was releasing a new book, I knew I had to get my butt to the release party and grab a copy. One would think that I would catch that bit about the book being a “web of political ambition and violence” in the synopsis, but I was too damn in love with that cover. And this video:
I mean, really — can Todd make book trailers for all books from now on? Because this one was awesome.
Anyway, when I started reading the book I felt slightly disappointed. With myself. It was very political and I felt my eyes glazing over, BUT this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the book. I’m sure there’s a part of me that didn’t quite get the book and what Todd was trying to do, but it was still a good read. I didn’t find myself feeling forced to read it (despite the fact that I picked it up to prepare for a book club that Laura was throwing, with Todd in attendance) and I didn’t find myself completely lost in the details (key word: completely). Instead I tried to lose myself in the scenery of France, picturing Kruse as a Matt Damon figure by my side, kicking butt the whole way.
I understood the search for Kruse’s daughter, and the violence (though, really, Todd? A vegetable peeler?), and I loved the setting. When we got to the discussion of the book at the book club, I realized that a lot of it went over my head. Including the year the book took place. Apparently I’m terrible with details since I just assumed that the book took place at the present date because France just wasn’t like us, wrapped up in social media and whatnot. To me, it’s a foreign place which means it’s nothing like what we see in Canada — it’s almost old fashioned in its ways. Of course, my thoughts were wrong since the book took place in the 90’s, purposely set before social media comes into play.
You see? While I enjoyed the book, I can’t say that I loved it, BUT I do plan on trying out more of Todd’s work. He really is a stand up guy and quite hilarious, if I do say so myself. In my eyes, he’s done the city proud with his work and I hope that he has more great hits to come. He did mention that he’s writing the sequel to this book and I will honestly say that I don’t intend to read it, but if French politics are your bag — or if you love politics in general — you will probably love the crap out of this book. Me, on the other hand, well, I’ll probably just continue to adore that cover and the book trailer and feel confident that this just wasn’t the Todd Babiak book for me. And you know what? That’s okay. He has a few other books that look pretty darn wonderful to read that I know will be the better books for me.