The Glass Kingdom by Lawrence Osborne is a darkly atmospheric thriller set in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The novel follows the story of Sarah Mullins, an American woman who flees New York with a suitcase full of stolen money. Seeking anonymity and refuge, she finds herself in a high-end apartment complex known as the Kingdom.
The Kingdom, a glass-fronted facade that offers views of the bustling city and glimpses into the lives within, becomes a character in its own right. It’s here that Sarah meets Mali, a fellow tenant who introduces her to a glamorous circle of ex-pat women. Their weekly poker nights become a regular event for Sarah, but as political chaos erupts on the streets below, tensions rise within the gilded compound.
As the narrative unfolds, the Kingdom becomes a hotbed of civil and psychological unrest. Strange disappearances begin to invade the Kingdom, throwing residents into suspicion and paranoia. Sarah’s safe haven soon feels like a trap, and she finds herself targeted by schemers on the other side of the world.
Osborne masterfully weaves themes of karma, human greed, and the consequences of one’s actions throughout the novel. The book is a study of how grandiose plans often don’t go the way they’re anticipated, leading to unexpected and often depraved outcomes.
What I Liked
Everything! I don’t usually read thriller novels, but I picked this one up on a lark at the library. It’s fast-paced, brilliant, twisting, and intriguing. All the characters are well cast and well-rounded. I especially liked the setting, which was beautifully described and reminded me so much of living in 1990s Southeast Asia.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – brilliant novel.