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Novel Blends Wine, Travel and Global Conspiracy

View of a Tuscan vineyard at sunset, with grape vine in foreground.

Book review

Root Cause
A Novel by Steven Laine

In this intriguing novel by first-time author Steven Laine, a simple discovery in the vineyards of Italy leads to a possible global conspiracy, and sets the scene for mystery and adventure in the wine world.

Corvina Guerra, is a “flying winemaker” (consultant) working for Universal Wines, a distributor that collaborates with vineyards around the world. In an Italian vineyard, she comes across a new, potentially genetically-engineered species of phylloxera, the louse that nearly destroyed European vineyards in the late 1800s. Authorized by her employer to investigate the infestation, and aided by Bryan Lawless, an “almost” master of wine, and Malcolm Goldberg, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, Corvina must discover the “root cause” of the deadly outbreak, dubbed by the press “Philomena,” as the wine industry teeters, once again, on the brink of disaster.

Fast-paced and global—the action begins in Tuscany and the lead characters jet back and forth to the wine regions of Barcelona, San Francisco, Santiago, Chile, Oporto, and South Africa—the novel erupts with an action-packed climax in Reims, the heart of Champagne country.

Root Cause is an entertaining and gripping read, as it balances murder, adventure and global intrigue while giving readers an insider’s view of the international wine industry. It’s perfect escapist fare for summer beach reading.

Turner Publishing | $19.99

Available on Amazon.

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