Stephen. Walking the Lions. Carroll & Graf. June 2002.
c304p. ISBN 0-7867-1024-1. $25. Fiction.
Burgen’s debut is a well-written contemporary political thriller animated
by a mystery dating back to the Spanish Civil War. Alex Nadal, a musician in
New York, inherits a farm near Barcelona from an aunt he had always been told
had died 60 years earlier. When he arrives to claim his inheritance, Alex finds
that he is an unwelcome intruder, shadowed by his father’s reputation.
His father had left the area at the end of the civil war, suspected of having
betrayed three boys to the Fascists, who then executed them. No one wants to
discuss the past, however, nor what is going on in the present. All Alex knows
for sure is that someone has threatened to kill him if he doesn’t sell
the farm. Determined to find out what really happened in 1938, he enlists the
aid of a journalist named Carmen. They soon find themselves pitted against one
of Catalunya’s heroes, Salvador Oriol, a man whose past is inextricably
tied to that of Alex’s father. This solid thriller, imbued with the atmosphere
of modern Catalunya and peopled by intriguing characters, is recommended for
collections of popular fiction. [Throughout, the text uses the Catalan spelling
for the region known to English speakers as Catalonia.]