John Thorndike; A HUNDRED FIRES IN CUBA; Beck and Branch (Fiction: Historical) 15.00 ISBN: 9780997264470
Byline: Joseph S. Pete
John Thorndike's A Hundred Fires in Cuba is a ranging, unflinching story of the Cuban Revolution, focused on the "beautiful commander, the hero of Yaguajay, the wildly famous Camilo Cienfuegos."
One of Castro's most loyal commanders, Cienfuegos was as well known for womanizing, dancing, and drinking as he was for his courage on the battlefield. This compelling novel captures the folk hero, cannily using an outsider's perspective to shine light on matters of great historical import.
While he is in New York City, Cienfuegos falls in love with a young American photographer, Clare Miller. Their affair, which ends when he's deported, results in a daughter whom he fears. Clare romanticizes the beautiful, powerful, rifle-toting comandante, but she harbors no illusions about the revolution or his qualifications as a parent.
The prose is elegantly crafted. It's not flashy, but it is effective. Word choices are lean, taut, and purposeful. Just enough Spanish is sprinkled in to be...