A modern-day Romeo and Juliet—set against the backdrop of deadly weapons smuggling
When ten-year-old Elizabeth West's father dies in a tragic plane crash over the Persian Gulf, her family uproots their life in Washington, D.C., and moves to London. Her mother marries a knighted British businessman who has two children, and Elizabeth (Lizzy) and her two sisters move in with their new family.
At age sixteen, while attending the American School of London, Lizzy meets and falls in love with Adil Hasan—but when Adil's father, a noted arms middleman, is deported, Lizzy and Adil are separated.
Lizzy's family has also become involved with French-German industrialist Gerald Rene Wagner. Little does she know that Adil's family has ties to the man, as well. When a member of her family is murdered in Berlin under mysterious circumstances, questions surface about Wagner's dealings, and Lizzy reexamines what really may have happened to her father. All the while, she endeavors to reunite with her lost love, Adil, and reclaim the connection that was ripped away.
Set in the years before and after the first Gulf War, Burning Distance is a journey through family secrets and competing loyalties, contemporary history, and the dark world of arms trafficking.
Jane Austen meets John le CarrÉ in this cross-cultural love story and political thriller
In 1981, 10-year-old Lizzy West, the protagonist of this uneven thriller from Leedom-Ackerman (The Dark Path to the River), is home alone in Washington, D.C., when she answers a phone call from a stranger, who instructs her to tell her mother to tell her father that "they've sanded his gas tank." The next morning, Lizzy learns that her father has died in a plane crash in the Persian Gulf. Eventually, she also learns that her father worked for the CIA and that her mother believes he was murdered. In 1987, Lizzy's family relocates to London, where she befriends Lebanese Palestinian classmate Adil Hasan, for whom she develops romantic feelings. Their relationship is complicated by Adil's father being suspected of illegally transferring tools and technology to embargoed countries, which could enable them to build nuclear weapons. Gripping details about the weapons trade compensate only in part for some banal prose ("I alternated between wanting to save Adil from this life and wondering how I had fallen in love with the son of an arms dealer") and a less than scintillating second murder mystery. Le Carré fans will be disappointed.