Prize For Princes Paperback – Aug 1 1999
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What we have here is that specialty genre: the literary curiosity. Certainly, any previously unpublished novel by the creator of the legendary Nero Wolfe will be of interest to fans, but Stout's name on the title page is all that recommends this potboiler. First serialized in All Story magazine--one can almost imagine the steamy cover with Vargas-like women and leering, bloodthirsty Turks--the tale stars a rich, brave American, Richard Stetton, who rescues the voluptuous Aline Solini from a convent during a Turkish uprising in an unnamed Balkan outpost. He falls madly in love; she exploits his puppylike devotion for her own evil purposes. Encountering intrigue at every turn, they scamper frantically about Asia, always one step ahead of Aline's vengeful ex-husband, Vasili Petrovich. No brief summary can begin to convey the strange twists that litter this plot; keep in mind, though, that the book was published as a serial, requiring Stout to create and resolve crises from the end of one installment to the start of the next. Buy the book for its curiosity value if you must, but don't be fooled about its quality. Wes Lukowsky