In this gripping, war-torn epic novel, author Igor Stiks, a nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Award, tells the story of a celebrated writer who travels to Sarajevo to unearth devastating family secrets and the lies that have defined his life.Author Richard Richter's mother and father were always phantoms, both parents having died by the time he was four. His life, now at a crossroads, has been a jumble of invention, elusive memories, and handed-down stories. But when Richard finds his mother's hidden notebook, written by her during World War II, he discovers a confession that was never meant to be read by anyone—least of all, her son., p>Richard's quest for the truth about his life leads him to an embattled Sarajevo. In the chaos of the besieged city, he discovers something more: a transformative romance and unexpected new friendships that will change the course of his search. But fate has been playing with all of them. And just as fate determines the lives of the characters in his novel, a betrayal reaching back half a century has yet to loosen its grip—on Richard, on everyone he has come to love, and on those he has no choice but to try to forgive.