The Kitchen Brigade


DYSTOPIAN:  The United States of America has crumbled on the world stage and is occupied by countries who at one time were her arch-enemies. New terrorists, a motley crew of citizen soldiers, must infiltrate and take down their invading hosts if any semblance of freedom is to return to America’s shores.  But every powerful occupying force must eat. Enter Valerie Kapplander, a culinary chef and the daughter of a high-ranking cabinet official. It is Valerie’s often-underestimated culinary skill which gives the resistance a fighting chance.

Laurie Boris’ “The Kitchen Brigade,” a dystopian novel, portrays a world where little can be trusted, and friends should never be confidants. Valerie, trained in the culinary arts, is forced to assist General Grigori Alexandrov’s kitchen staff. But in a world where squirrel and rabbit dishes are common, the General can delight his fellow comrades and dignitaries with delicacies; if you can eat like a king, you can be one.  Ms. Boris has crafted a delicious espionage tale, filled with twists and turns. She has artfully taken something as banal as meal preparation and turned it into a high “steak” conspiracy double-cross, seasoned with romance and murder, and marinated in political intrigue.  Her characters are believable; the dialogue is peppered with wit and levity, and the characters’ evolution demands the type of climax Ms. Boris has delivered. While at times she could have drawn us deeper into her characters’ back stories, there is not enough missing to distract from the adventure she has served up. All in all, readers will enjoy this dystopian smorgasbord and no doubt clamor for another helping from the literary buffet Ms. Boris has to offer.

Kimberly Gunvaldson