The Light in the Ruins

  • by Chris Bohjalian
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Mark Bramhall
  • 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge - set in war-ravaged Tuscany.
It is 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate's gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis' bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.
In 1955 Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case - a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood - Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.
Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.


What the Critics Say

"Thoroughly gripping, beautiful, and astonishingly vengeful, this novel is a heartbreaker. Bohjalian's latest turn to historical fiction is immensely rewarding." (Library Journal)
"A literary thriller... a soulful why-done-it." (Kirkus Reviews)
"An exploration of post-WW II Italy doubles as a murder mystery in this well-crafted novel... an entertaining historical whodunit." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Breathes new life

This is another delectable treat from a proven, master of character development and story telling. I am so amazed that every novel that I read by Chris Bohjalian is a new and fresh treatment of his chosen topic. The Light in the Ruins does not disappoint as it breathes new life into a story of the travesties of war, the aftermath, and human touch that comes through.

The two narrators in this Audiobook edition added to the whole experience with clarity and timing.
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- B. Siemens

Suspenseful but a very sad story

What did you love best about The Light in the Ruins?

The way the story was told, it kept me guessing until the end of the book.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It wasn't who I thought if would be.

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- Shannon Robbins

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-09-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio