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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Widow’

“The Widow” arrives from England recommended as “twisty psychological suspense” and “an electrifying debut thriller.” It’s not either of these. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle. From the get-go you know how the final picture looks: in this case, you soon realize that Glen Taylor is the villain who abducted two-year old Bella Elliott.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master’

At the age of 11, Daphne Park was living in a tin-roofed shack with no lights or running water in the British protectorate of Tanganyika when a letter arrived from London that changed her life forever. It was from her aunts, who were offering to provide her with a home and an education and in the end, it would lead to her becoming one of the first women spies.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raide on Entebbe Airport’

Since the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, it has been fashionable in some circles to express nostalgia for the good old days of hijacking back in the 1970s. It is certainly true that nothing back then was even remotely comparable to Sept. 11, where the vicious destruction and sheer number of lives lost both in aircraft and on the ground would have seemed inconceivable in what were more innocent times in such matters.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates’

As a scholarly truism holds, “every generation rewrites history to suit itself,” the same might be said for every historian, and every news anchor who wants to be one. Brian Kilmeade of “Fox and Friends” (with ghostwriter Don Yaeger), gave us “George Washington’s Secret Six” and now has penned another look at our Republic’s early years through a lens ground to his own prescription.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Unspeakable Things’

By definition you cannot speak about unspeakable things, so writing about them in a novel called “Unspeakable Things” presents significant problems. Author Kathleen Spivack solves these by letting some things get lost in the haze of time, while obscuring others behind the curtains and closed doors that are so common in this novel. Some scenes she merely sketches, but others appear in brilliant color: vivid, entertaining, and often quite frightening.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious than Ever’

In “The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious than Ever,” Rodney Stark challenges the popular notion that the world is becoming increasingly secular. Marshalling ample facts and figures, Mr. Stark, who serves as distinguished professor of the social sciences at Baylor University, dismantles what “everyone knows” in the “confines of the faculty lounge.”

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BOOK REVIEW: 'Fault Lines'

It does not surprise me that the British author David Pryce-Jones titled his amazing memoir as he did. To him, his long life (he will turn 80 in February), has involved a series of attempts to bridge the contradictions in his heritage and in the eclectic consistently admirable distinctive career he has pursued as novelist, biographer and journalist.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Relic Master'

It isn't easy being the only son of a celebrated author or actor, especially if you go into the same line of work. An old friend, the late Douglas Fairbanks Jr., with countless film and stage triumphs to his credit, went to his grave still referred to as the son of the "great" Douglas Fairbanks Sr., even though the son's acting career lasted far longer and included highly intelligent acting, scripting and directing far beyond his father's capabilities.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter'

Princess Louise was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and turned out to be a woman who marched to the beat of her own drummer in an era when such independence was far in the future, especially in a royal family.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Coventry: November 14, 1940'

The English Midlands city of Coventry has a rich architectural and governmental history and for centuries its name was indelibly linked with Lady Godiva, who in the 11th century reputedly rode naked through its streets in support of a tax rebellion. After the first British automobile was produced there in 1897, it soon became the manufacturing center not just for it but for bicycle, motorcycle, aircraft, as well as machine tools.

BOOK REVIEW: 'No More Champagne: Churchill and his Money'

As the scion of a prominent British family, Winston Churchill nonetheless entered life with two handicaps. Spendthrift elders, notably his father, had squandered what was left of the fortune accumulated by his forebear, the Duke of Marlborough, the 18th-century military hero. And he had not the slightest notion of how to balance his income and spending.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Cellar'

Kidnapped from a London orphanage by a sadistic couple who want to use her as a slave, eight-year-old Muna descends into a version of hell. She is locked in a cellar, beaten unconscious with a steel rod by her alleged mother and raped by her foster father.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Dictator: A Novel (Ancient Rome Trilogy)

"Dictator" is the final volume in Robert Harris' trilogy about the life of Cicero, the Roman statesman and philosopher, whose political theories and prose style remained influential until at least the 19th century. "Imperium" (2006), the first volume, focused on Cicero's rise to power.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush'

At a time when an aloof, unengaged president seems to spend most of his time on vacation, on the putting course -- or puttering around the Oval Office -- it is pleasant to be reminded of a chief executive who was energetic, conscientious and unashamedly patriotic without being a chauvinist or a demagogue.