A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

By Lauren Belfer

Washington publish Best Novel of the Year

An NPR top secret of the Year

“An engrossing and bold novel that vividly portrays a serious time in American history.” — Booklist (starred overview)

“Enthralling. A Fierce Radiance shines with attention-grabbing detail.... Belfer’s strong portrayal of ways everyone is replaced in pursuit of a miracle makes this publication an extremely compelling read.” — Nancy Horan, writer of Loving Frank

Set through the doubtful early days of global battle II, this suspenseful tale from the New York Times bestselling writer of City of Light follows the paintings of photojournalist Claire Shipley as she captures America’s race to increase life-saving antibiotics—an project that would contain blackmail, espionage, and homicide.

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Sample text

Tia followed with the vial of brownish yellow powder. Claire experienced a satisfying sense that both Dr. Stantons had forgotten her. At the long counter along the wall, the two had a quiet discussion and checked the information in Stanton’s binder. Using the Rolleiflex, Claire went to work. She knelt to make the two scientists look larger and more dramatic in the photos. The distinctive feature of the Rolleiflex was that the viewfinder was on top, and Claire held the camera close to her waist to frame the shots.

Claire photographed every step. Film is the least of our costs, so use it, her photo editor always said. Better to have too much coverage than not enough, to give some choice in the layout meetings. While Claire worked, she recalled reading in the Times some months before about a new medicine made from a fluid given off by green mold…sitting in the garden, the pale leaves feathery on the trees, her son building a model-train village across the flagstones at her feet. Yes, she’d read the article in the spring, May or June.

Emily had died of blood poisoning. In one gliding motion, a stately, straight-backed nurse took the chart from Claire’s hand and reattached it to the end of the bed. CHIEF NURSE BROCKETT, her identification badge read. Beneath her regulation cap, her steel gray hair was pulled into a bun. Her aloof severity reminded Claire of her high school headmistress, the type of woman who could intimidate with a glance. ” Nurse Brockett enunciated each word with precision, as if she suspected that English were not Claire’s native language.

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