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Extended Audio Sample A Fierce Radiance: A Novel, by Lauren Belfer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,170 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Belfer Narrator: Paula Christensen Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the New York Times bestselling author of City of Light comes a compelling, richly detailed tale of passion and intrigue set in New York City during the tumultuous early days of World War II.

Claire Shipley is a single mother haunted by the death of her young daughter and by her divorce years ago. She is also an ambitious photojournalist, and in the anxious days after Pearl Harbor, the talented Life magazine reporter finds herself on top of one of the nation’s most important stories. In the bustling labs of New York City’s renowned Rockefeller Institute, some of the country’s brightest doctors and researchers are racing to find a cure that will save the lives of thousands of wounded American soldiers and countless others—a miraculous new drug they call penicillin. Little does Claire suspect how much the story will change her own life when the work leads to an intriguing romance.

Though Claire has always managed to keep herself separate from the subjects she covers, this story touches her deeply, stirring memories of her daughter’s sudden illness and death—a loss that might have been prevented by this new “miracle drug.” And there is James Stanton, the shy and brilliant physician who coordinates the institute’s top secret research for the military. Drawn to this dedicated, attractive man and his work, Claire unexpectedly finds herself falling in love. But Claire isn’t the only one interested in the secret development of this medicine. Her long-estranged father, Edward Rutherford, a self-made millionaire, understands just how profitable a new drug like penicillin could be. When a researcher at the institute dies under suspicious circumstances, the stakes become starkly clear: a murder has been committed to obtain these lucrative new drugs. With lives and a new love hanging in the balance, Claire will put herself at the center of danger to find a killer—no matter what price she may have to pay.

Lauren Belfer dazzled readers with her debut novel, City of Light, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In this highly anticipated followup, she deftly captures the uncertainty, spirit, dreams, and hopes of a nation at war. A sweeping tale of love, betrayal, intrigue, and idealism, A Fierce Radiance is an ambitious and deeply engaging novel from an author of immense talent.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lauren Belfer’s story of love in the time of penicillin is enthralling. A Fierce Radiance shines with fascinating detail about a moment in American history we have mostly forgotten, when penicillin was new, miraculous, and in short supply. Belfer’s powerful portrayal of how people are changed in pursuit of a miracle makes this book an especially compelling read.”

    Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank

  • “Ambitious, combining medical and military history with commercial rivalry, espionage, and thwarted love. Belfer clearly knows her scientific material. She also knows how to turn esoteric information into an adventure story, and how to tell that story well.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Belfer’s panoramic new novel is a love story wrapped around a spy story with a pivotal medical breakthrough at its center.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Belfer is adept at writing historical fiction that sizzles. Sex, spies, murder, big money, family betrayals, doomed romance, and exotic travel are smoothly braided into her main narrative about the wartime race to make large quantities of penicillin…A Fierce Radiance vividly brings back that time of both terror and eventual triumph.”

    Washington Post

  • “Penicillin operates as the source of romance, murder, and melodrama in Belfer’s evocative WWII-era novel…Belfer handily exploits Claire’s photo shoots to add historical texture to the book, and the well-researched scenes bring war-time New York City to life, capturing the anxiety-ridden period.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Belfer combines life-and-death scenarios, romance, murder, and wartime reality at home and abroad, while satirizing industrialists who profit by dubious means and salve their consciences through philanthropy…An engrossing and ambitious novel that vividly portrays a critical time in American history.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “[An] artful composition…captures the fragility and anxiety of life in wartime New York in crisply developed shades of black, white, and gray.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2010 NPR Best Book: Mystery

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sarah Franjoine | 2/13/2014

    " Great book, awesome look into the development of a drug that is so commonplace now. I love the development of sympathetic characters in a real time. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Megwil | 1/27/2014

    " I wanted to like this but the style is too much like what I imagine a romance novel to be like. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kristen | 1/26/2014

    " Meh. Read it out of allegiance to "City of Light," which, in my memory from 10+ years ago, is still wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sheila | 1/20/2014

    " Loved this rich and complicated story of the government's Manhattan Project-like effort to perfect and mass-produce penicillin during WWII. It is written by the same author who wrote "City of Light" about the electrification of the city of Buffalo, one of my all-time favorites. "

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