VGC.HarperCollins,1993.First US edition-first printing(10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1).Pink hardback with dark purple borders(gilt lettering to the spine,small nicks and crease on the edges of the cover) with Dj(small nicks,scratch and crease on the edges of the Dj cover),both in VGC.Nice and clean pages with a couple ink marks and nick on the outer edges,small mark on the edge of page 11,rough cut pages on the outer edges,small colour/stain marks on the edges of the last blank page of the book and back cover,a couple of creases and small nicks on the edges of the pages.The book ois in VGC with light shelf wear.282pp.Price un-clipped.A collectable first edition-first printing. This is another paragraph From Publishers Weekly:Surely this authoritatively controlled, highly accomplished novel, British author Lively's 10th (her Moon Tiger won the Booker), will increase her audience of discriminating readers here. Written with grace and clarity, and luminous with insights about the human condition, it is as timely as the evening news and as eternal as the most classic love story. Lively's subtext, the strange conjunction of likelihood and contingency that determines one's life, is convincing; she orchestrates a fateful mix of chance encounters, determined by character as well as coincidence. In alternating chapters, she depicts the lives of paleontologist Howard Beamish and crusading journalist Lucy Faulkner, both successful in their careers but unfulfilled because they have not established enduring relationships. They meet when the plane they are taking to Cairo makes a forced landing in Callimbia, a fictional country in the throes of a bloody revolution led by a lunatic dictator. Lively's witty, ironic construction of Callimbia's history ranges from its establishment by Cleopatra's sister Berenice through the rise of the moral renegade who orders the plane's British passengers taken hostage. Through the eyes of Howard and Lucy, and in counterpoint to their growing love for each other, Lively depicts the passengers' responses to their plight: from annoyance to growing unease and to terror, as their captors grow more hostile and threatening and the situation turns more bizarre. Lively keeps the narrative deliberately low key while escalating the tension, which culminates when one of the group is singled out to be executed. Against all the conventions of contemporary fiction, Lucy and Howard's mature romance is fresh and convincing--though entirely without scenes of sexual union--and the wonder of love is made all the more clear in contrast to the precarious nature of human existence. nCopyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. n nFrom Library Journal nHoward Beamish, hero of Booker Award winner Lively's ingratiating new work, becomes a paleontologist because he is fascinated by the strange conjunction of likelihood and contingency which is the root of life. Heroine Lucy, determined to avoid her mother's dreary fate, works hard to become a journalist--but she gets her first important job after she runs into a friend after falling off a bus. Eventually, Lucy lands an assignment in Nairobi, where Howard is also heading, having run across a friend who tells him that the museum there has some choice finds. When the plane carrying both Howard and Lucy makes an emergency landing in Callimbia--an imaginary African country supposedly founded by Cleopatra's sister--the passengers are held hostage by Callimbia's maniacal leader. The crisis is fortunate in one respect: Howard and Lucy meet and fall in love. Perhaps the capriciousness of fate is made too obvious, but Lively handles her story with skill, grace, and invigorating charm; with an economy of words, the terror of the hostages is made palpable. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/92. n- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal nCopyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.