Timothée de Fombelle
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Nov 16, 2015

Vango is a thrilling adventure mystery set in Europe on the cusp of the second World War, focused on the mysterious identity of a young man on the cusp of adulthood. Not even Vango, said young man, knows the mystery of his origins, and no one believes he is constantly watched and hunted by shadowy figures. They consider him paranoid. Talented, pleasant, and promising, but strangely paranoid.

The novel opens with Vango's seminary graduation ceremony, but moments before he is made a priest the police burst onto the scene. Suddenly, Vango is scaling the walls of the cathedral while being shot at, fleeing across the rooftops of Paris. And that begins a chase that ranges across Europe involving all manner of espionage and intrigue, flashbacks and a wide-ranging web of interesting figures: a nameless nanny on a remote Italian isle, a secret "invisible" monastery, a police chief, a German Zeppelin captain, Soviet assassins, pirates, a Parisian street girl, an international arms dealer, and aristocratic Scottish young woman whose interest may or may not be romantic.

I only wish I had known going in that this is the start of a series, because the mysteries are left unanswered at the frustratingly incomplete end. Still, that means I have that much more adventure and excitement to look forward to in the next book. Complicated without being confusing, breathtaking yet deep and rich, fun even while full of loss and sadness, Vango is an intricately pleasant ride.          

Reviewed by Chris K.
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