Safari Turned Hostage Drama

The Lioness is an enthralling tale of glamor, danger, and survival. Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Serengeti in 1964, the novel follows Hollywood elite Katie Barstow and her new husband, David Hill, as they embark on a honeymoon safari with their closest friends. What starts as an idyllic adventure quickly spirals into a horrifying ordeal when Russian mercenaries hijack their camp.

Author Chris Bohjalian masterfully intertwines the allure of 1960s Hollywood with the raw beauty of Africa, crafting a narrative rich in historical detail and description. The African scenes are so vividly portrayed you can almost feel the oppressive heat and see the majestic wildlife. However, the true heart of the story lies in its exploration of human nature under duress, depicted through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters.

While the novel excels in action and descriptive prowess, its structure may not appeal to all. The multiple narrators and frequent shifts between past and present sometimes slow the pacing and lessen the suspense. The detailed backstories set in Los Angeles, although essential, drag.

Readers should also be prepared for intense scenes of violence and carnage that are as gripping as they are gruesome. This book might keep you on the edge of your seat, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Despite these hitches, The Lioness offers a potent blend of history, suspense, and drama, making it a satisfying read and a potential hit as a movie or miniseries. A 4-star rating for its ambitious scope and vivid storytelling.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a comp of this book. The opinions are my own.

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