Sunday, 5 May 2019

The Devil's Gorge by Dora Ilieva


The Devil's Gorge by Dora Ilieva
Self published in Canada in October 2014.

My seventh Book With A Vegetarian Character.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Sam, a University of Toronto History student, receives a letter informing him that he has inherited some property in Bulgaria, the country of his parents. Somewhat reluctantly, he decides to go there accompanied by his best friend Ben, a charming young man with a flair for languages and adventure.

In the country of his parents Sam comes face to face with a different reality which gives rise to a series of uncanny dreams and questions about his own identity. The short, pleasant trip the two friends were envisaging turns into a whirlwind of encounters which take them to the site of one the most sacred Thracian cities and throw them in the pursuit of a relic of world-changing importance and into the arms of the beautiful and mysterious Ana.

The Devil's Gorge is an entertaining adventure novel, vaguely in the Indiana Jones mould, in which a pair of naive Canadian students find themselves embroiled in a race against time to save a mythical artefact from falling into the wrong hands. It's not the most original of plotlines and twists are usually telegraphed obviously enough ahead of time to not be particularly surprising, however the aspect of this novel that kept me reading was in its portrayals of Bulgarian locations and culture. Bulgaria isn't that far away in global terms, but its Soviet-controlled past means that life there was very different to the UK and I had no idea of the rich Thracian history in this region. The Orpheus myth is central to this tale and I am now inspired to find out more about his story than just the Eurydice myth I already knew.

I did find The Devil's Gorge slow going for most of the story. It is very much an indie publication with rather more proofreading errors than I was happy with and the dialogue is often clunky with characters speaking to each other in a bizarrely formal style that took some getting used to! I did start to worry in the last few chapters when there seemed to be a lot story still to be told and a rapidly dwindling number of pages in which to tell it. My fear of an abrupt cliffhanger was fortunately not grounded, but I felt the climax of the adventure was ridiculously rushed after such a meandering set up. I don't regret having chosen to download The Devil's Gorge from NetGalley, but would like to see it edited and polished before I would widely recommend it to other readers.


Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Dora Ilieva / Thrillers / Books from Bulgaria

4 comments:

  1. I love the 'save the treasure' on the hunt of legends type of stories. Neat how the setting and local legend connections were used. After reading the Historian and The Shadow Lands by Elizabeth Kostova, I'll love getting the Balkan area stories.

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    1. The location and cultural portrayals were certainly The Devil's Gorge's strong points

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  2. It's always concerning when you're reaching the end of a book but still have a lot left that needs to be wrapped up! That clunky dialogue thing can really pull me out of a story, but the setting and culture does sound cool!

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    Replies
    1. It's a shame that the ending was so rushed because Ilieva had a completely different pace for the build-up

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