Book Review: The Secret of Karabakh

Fidan Bagirova ~ The Secret of Karabakh


You are not who you think you are. Your future is not what you think it will be.
You are in danger…

Alana Fulton, the beloved only child of wealthy American parents, is bookish and passionate about the past. In the final stages of a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge, Alana’s future is bright and assured. Then comes the anonymous note: You are not who you think you are. Suddenly, everything in her life – including her sense of self – is under assault.

As Alana flees unknown pursuers and mounting danger, all that is familiar crumbles away. In time, it becomes clear to Alana why she’s being pursued; and she must ask herself where her loyalties and her future lie.


Azerbaijan is not a country I know a lot about and as someone who loves to travel and experience new cultures, the way authors describe locations is particularly important to me. Bagirova perfectly captures the sights, smells and sounds of the streets and hills really showing where the story takes place.

She conjures up a beautiful place, fraught with violence and tragedy, the harsh realities of war contrasting starkly with the picturesque scenery in my head. It is vivid and terrifying.

Unfortunately, the plot itself doesn’t quite live up to the author’s writing prowess, feeling like a modern Indiana Jones, complete with young archaeologist running away from gunfire, car chases and kidnap.

Parts of it (such as the betrayals and hitman’s identity) are quite predictable, but are still good plot points.

Characters are interesting but apart from Alana we never really get to know them and further exploration would have added an extra dimension.

It is beautifully written and as a whole is a very good book, that will stay with me. However, I would have preferred more of the history, traditions and Alana’s hazy memories, as the unrealistic adventure lets the book down.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thank you to Lume Books and Random Things Tours for my copy. Opinions my own.

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