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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Hornets' Nest

Edyr Augusto

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To purchase Hornets' Nest

Title: Hornets' Nest
Author: Edyr Augusto
Genre: Novel
Written: 2004 (Eng. 2007)
Length: 109 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: Hornets' Nest - US
Hornets' Nest - UK
Hornets' Nest - Canada
  • Portuguese title: Casa de caba
  • Translated by Richard Bartlett

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Our Assessment:

B : fast, fairly effective thriller

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       "This was a real hornets' nest", one of the character thinks to himself, and he ain't kidding. Many years earlier an incident with the Pastri family was a stepping-stone in the brutal rise of Wlamir Turvel: he attacked them on a summer outing, beating Alfredo, raping wife Maria in front of the two children, Alfredo (Fred) and Isabela, forcing Alfredo to sign over his sawmill and warning him never to make a fuss about it. Broken, Alfredo and his family settled in Bélem, with two more children born not too long after the attack.
       Fred is now living in New York, where he lucked into a relationship with a famous rock star, Pat. Isabela, meanwhile, has not forgiven or forgotten, and it becomes clear she has devoted her life to exacting revenge on the ruthless Turvel -- now a rich and powerful (and incredibly corrupt) man, governor of the state. As the novel opens, however, the revenge comes at a high cost: the Pastri family is brutally murdered -- a hit so important to the man that ordered it that he has the hitmen taken out too. Fred and Isabela aren't present, and so they escape the carnage, and Fred comes back to Bélem from New York to help his sister.
       With fast and constant cuts, short sentences, and constant shifts of perspective, Hornets' Nest speeds along. Augusto complicates matters by filling in details from earlier years as the story moves along, so even in this respect it's not a linear narrative. No matter, it's clear enough, and builds up fairly nicely -- and the sheer momentum of the narrative, barreling ahead, make it easier to forgive the unlikelier parts. It is quite convoluted, with even rock-star Pat flying in to help her boyfriend. At least given the widespread corruption and Turvel's immense local power (and his ruthless approach to anything that threatens him) there's some suspense as to whether Isabela will be able to exact all her revenge (exposing Turvel being only the half of it).
       Yes, it's a bit excessive and over-the-top, but Augusto's clipped style and the elaborate plans in the novel -- both Turvel's rise to the top and attempts to stay there, as well as Isabela's approach to getting her revenge -- make for a decent, if very bloody thriller.
       There's a careless feel to some of the plot-twists, but it's almost in keeping with the rapid-fire style of the book: the details don't matter that much, as long as the feel of the book remains consistent, and that it does. Not very believable, maybe, but for the most part a good -- and well-told -- story.

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Hornets' Nest: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Brazilian author Edyr Augusto was born in 1954.

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© 2007-2009 the complete review

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