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The Peace by Laury Silvers

Book Review: ‘The Peace’ by Laury Silvers

A Sufi Mystery Series

The Peace, the fourth and final book in Laury Silvers“The Sufi Mystery Quartet,” returns readers to the streets of 10th-century Baghdad. Amid the dust and the noise of the city’s streets we rejoin Silvers’ now familiar cast of characters as they attempt to solve the mystery of a disappearing student.

But this book, like the others in the series, is more than just a mystery story. First, Silvers has done a remarkable job of recreating medieval Baghdad – the environment, the people, the living conditions and the social/political environment. We are immersed in both the day-to-day lives of the city’s people and the political and religious struggles occupying the minds of rulers, academics, and mystics in the city’s palaces and mosques.

The divisions among academics and religious leaders are at the heart of the mystery Silvers’ characters are attempting to solve. Interpretations of various religious texts, down to vowel sounds, are contentious and in some cases dangerous. The young man who disappeared claimed to have a rare manuscript showing a different interpretation of an important text, one would challenge a number of accepted teachings.

This of course creates a rather deep pool of suspects for Silvers’ investigators. Zaytuna, her brother Tein, and his former colleague from the Grave Crimes Section, Ammar, are convinced to take on the case – even though the latter two have supposedly retired from investigations – at the behest of Zaytuna’s old friend Mustafa.

This One’s Personal

While the case is complex enough, with twists and turns leading in a variety of directions, the forces driving the individual characters are just as tumultuous as the disruptions the disappearance is causing in the mosques and temples of Baghdad. 

Mustafa and Zaytuna have a history. Even though both are settled in marriages of their choice, Mustafa now yearns to be with Zaytuna. His intentions in bringing the case to Tein and Ammar were not exactly honourable – he wanted the means of bringing Zaytuna back into his life.

His disruption of the “peace” in both their lives through his actions is not the only turmoil being suffered by the characters. Tein is disturbed to discover he has inherited some of his mystic mother’s abilities, and he no longer really wants to live the life of a criminal investigator. On the other hand Ammar can’t settle. He longs to return to the world of solving crimes and is deadly afraid of being tied down to his family business.

While these four are doing their best to solve the mystery of what happened to the disappeared student, they are also working on solving their own personal quests for balance. Each must find a way to reconcile themself to their current situations or risk ruining their personal peace.

Silvers has done a great job combining the intertwined stories of both the mystery and her characters’ quest for contentment. While her attention to historical detail would make The Peace fascinating in its own right, the care she takes in creating her characters and detailing their lives gives it a texture that goes beyond what you’d normally expect from a mystery story.

The Peace is a fitting and wonderful conclusion to Silvers’ “The Sufi Mystery Quartet.” Take a step onto the dusty streets of Baghdad and be swept away by an amazing storyteller. You won’t regret it.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to Qantara.de and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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