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Intrigue and Architecture

Perhaps the biggest mystery of Marga Jann ’72’s new novel is where the truth ends and the hypothetical begins.

A semiautobigraphical account stemming from her 2017 Fulbright to Sri Lanka and other academic assignments, The Architect: Four Countries, Four Faces (Arrow Gate Publishing) follows Jann as she “unwittingly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous and diplomatically sensitive battle between MI6/CIA operatives and Saudi Intelligence.”

Jann, a French-American research fellow at the University of Cambridge (both in real life and in literary form), devotes a chapter to each of the four “faces” she visits—Sri Lanka, Korea, Cyprus, and Uganda—and the encounters she has in each country, sharing sociocultural and geopolitical insights while also highlighting the power of prayer.

“As I glanced back, there was no longer a vague party in black chasing me but a whole gang,” begins a particularly dramatic moment in Korea.

“I could not imagine what their interest in an architecture professor could be.”

As the chapter concludes, Jann ponders is they were ISIS cell members or random punks.

Though the threat diminishes, the intrigue builds—to be played out over two more novels.