Eric Van Lustbader's sixth contribution to the thriller series begun by Robert Ludlum finds the legendary amnesiac superagent Jason Bourne pitted against his former ally Boris Karpov, now head of Russia's secret police unit, FSB-2. Both men are also struggling to bring down Severus Domna, a secret organization bent on controlling rare minerals crucial to U.S. weapon-making efforts in its arms race with China. Critics say Van Lustbader keeps the plot twisting to the end, though the multilayered plot can get complicated, and it helps to have read the last few books in the series.
In addressing general readers about the need to focus on the welfare of humanity as a whole, the Tibetan spiritual leader departs from the details of his life, and the specifically Buddhist spirituality of his popular recent titles. Instead, he looks at how habits such as anger create unhappiness, while treating others with kindness creates contentment. As we become more compassionate, he suggests, our families, friends and neighbors — and even our enemies — will less frequently succumb to anger, jealousy and fear, and become more warm, kind and harmonious within their own circles.
Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose warns that leaders should never go into a military intervention without thinking through the political endgame. But he argues that the U.S. has repeatedly gone into wars focused on the urgency of the need for action without thinking through where it really wants and needs to go. War advocates prefer to focus on the urgency of action, usually minimizing the likely risks and costs of war, exaggerating the likely benefits and discounting the viability of all nonmilitary courses of action. Thinking about the messy endgame would only complicate such advocacy, and so it gets set aside.
This biography of the beloved 20th century Italian friar, who created controversy among Catholics for decades after claiming that his hands, feet and side bled from stigmata during a religious epiphany in September 1918, recently won the prestigious Cundill Prize in History at Canada's McGill University. By 1945, Padre Pio was receiving 45,000 letters per year, while the pope and his bishops subjected him to a battery of psychological tests that proved inconclusive. The Roman Catholic Church debate over whether to debunk his myth or accept it as a miracle lasted until 1968, only to be reignited by author Sergio Luzzatto's discovery of a letter from Padre Pio requesting carbolic acid that could have created his burns.
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.