Sarah Saffian
October 17, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Journalist and Booker Prize nominee Ignatieff (”Scar Tissue”) tells a riveting tale that takes on the prickly ethical issue of when, if ever, a journalist should get involved. The drama centers on the quest of the title character, a seasoned but reckless war correspondent who, after trying to save a local woman set on fire on the Kosovo-Serbia border, becomes obsessed with finding the culprit. The physical details are cinematic in their visceral precision — the burning woman possesses ”a complex aroma of womanhood, sweat, urine and the sweetness of meat.” Ignatieff never rushes, making his deliberate, philosophical way from the adrenaline-surged first chapter to the chilling, poignant conclusion.

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