Author: Lydia Crichton

Publisher: Barringer Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9882034-9-5

The cover of Lydia Crichton’s new book, Grains Of Truth advertises it as a novel of suspense and it is suspenseful but at the heart of the story is the main character, Julia Grant’s love for two men, a devout married muslim and an arms dealer of indeterminate background and intention. This book would be better classified as romantic suspense.

The romance, written with an eye to emotions rather than body parts is suitable for your maiden aunt, who will enjoy it, as I did for its realistic depiction of Julia’s dilemma - who to choose; the younger, dark eyed, married lover or the mysterious older man, whose line of work is anathema to Julia’s pacifist convictions. 

The suspense begins when Julia, a longtime traveler to Egypt, is approached by US Intelligence to sub for an agent located in Egypt who has inexplicably gone missing. The disappearance of the agent would have been enough for me to say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I’m washing my hair all this year.’ Julia though, swallows the major-terrorist-threat-Uncle-Sam-needs-you line of the intelligence agent and signs on for the Pres. and her country.

As the details of her previous trips to Egypt and romance with Mohamed Zahar are known to US Intelligence, Julia’s cover story will be that of a writer researching a book on places of antiquity. Zahar, unaware of Julia’s mission has been hired as her guide. 

Julia is met in Cairo by Zahar and despite the impossibility of a life together discovers she still loves him, accepting Zahar’s offer of second wife in a muslim ménage à trois is though, quite a stretch.

Warned not to tell anyone about her intelligence task, Julia decides to stick to the script – make contact with an agent who will give her information about a terrorist threat which threatens all out war in the Middle East. Zahar and their complicated love affair will have to wait. 

The author interleaves some interesting descriptions of Egyptian street scenes and characters as Julia trawls ancient sites with Zahar, their interaction fraught with misunderstanding and unconsummated passion.

Julia makes contact with an Egyptian man who after giving her information is murdered. To avoid being caught up in a police investigation, Julia and Zahar flee the scene, boarding a cruise boat ferrying tourists along the Nile. 

At dinner that evening, Julia meets Alexander Bryant, an attractive man of mystery. Julia suspects that pealing back a layer of Alexander’s magnetic charm will reveal a criminal past and present. He is though, a spunk and now Julia has two men in her life.

From here on in things start becoming unpleasant, Julia becomes aware of a horrific terrorist plot which, if it goes ahead, will cause widescale death and destruction. Frightened and sure her life is in danger, Julia doesn’t know who to trust and phones home for instruction. 

The reply, ‘Stay put, the cavalry is coming’ reassures Julia, until all hell breaks loose in an action packed conclusion where one false step could lead to annihilation. 

The plot themed around the clash of cultural and religious beliefs in the Middle East, refreshingly, the author, Lydia Crichton, attempts to explain fairly the motives and actions of terrorist groups and the reasons behind the mistakes western countries have made in trying to implement policies that only add fuel to the seemingly never ending conflict.

Grains of Truth, an interesting read is set in a region where truth comes packaged in many different forms, grains are just one of them.

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