"In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar country—Bulgaria—and a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won't want to put down this remarkable book."
—Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
Just after arriving in the elegant East European city of Sofia, Bulgaria, a young American woman named Alexandra Boyd helps an elderly couple into a taxi —and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside, she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician whose life was shattered by oppression —and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.
Elizabeth Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.
"Lyrical and compelling ... a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and, through courage and compassion, defeated."
—Ron Rash, author of The Risen
"Thrilling . . . The central character actually begins this deft novel in an urn, only to emerge as one of the most memorable characters I've encountered in a long time."
—Richard Russo, author of Everybody's Fool