Harper Collins, this edition first published May, 2005
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
Helen Kovacs is an historian whose love for her work has caused problems
with her marriage. When she is murdered, her best friend, Faith Lange, is
asked to finish writing a paper Helen was going to present at a
conference. Faith accesses Helenís computer to complete the task and
discovers that Helen had been doing research into the Nazi occupation of
Eastern Europe, shortly before her death.
The son of a right wing extremist is arrested for Helenís murder but Faith
is not convinced of his guilt. Jack Denbigh, a journalist who has been
writing a series of articles about Eastern European refugees, also has his
To complicate matters, Jack has been interviewing Faithís grandfather,
Marek, who is from Belarus, an area particularly affected by atrocities
committed by both Stalinist Russians and the Nazis. Marek has been a
successful businessman in England and Jack claims he is merely doing a
series of interviews about what refugees from the War have made of their
lives, but after talking to Jack, Marek seems to be upset and is living
more and more in a past he refuses to discuss. Is it possible that Marek
is hiding more than a past he finds distressing?
Both Faith and Jake are conducting separate investigations: Faith trying
to find out who murdered her best friend; Jake chasing up information to
complete a series of articles heís writing. They each uncover many pieces
of the puzzle, but whether they are able to put it all together to find
the truth is another question.
Author Carla Banksí father was an Eastern European cavalry officer who
fled to the UK as a wartime refugee. He told his children stories of his
childhood in the forests of Belarus, which Banks has used as a background
for the book, cleverly using childrenís fairy stories from the region as a
device to tell the story of ordinary people caught between two brutal
regimes: the Stalinist Communists and the Nazis.
Many may find THE FOREST OF SOULS difficult to read. It has a number of
threads dealing with terrible events of the past. Banks has created an
absorbing mystery that also informs readers about a part of European
history that is perhaps not well known.
July 2006 review originally posted on Murder and Mayhem
All cover art used at Reviewer's Choice Reviews is copyrighted by the
respective publisher. All reviews and articles found at Reviewer's Choice
Reviews are the sole property of the contributor and are copyrighted by