The title of this third volume of Paul Park’s Roumania series has multiple meanings. The White Tiger is the hereditary role and spiritual alter-ego of the protagonist Miranda. But the political dimension of this role has been usurped by the Baroness Ceausescu, who is at the center of the palace intrigue that makes up the meat of this book. And she is at work throughout on the autobiographical music opera named The White Tyger, often allowing its themes and speeches to eclipse her perceptions of her immediate circumstance. The play-within-a-play theme exhibits self-similarity in parallel to the relationships between Roumania and our own secondary universe as created by Aegypta Schenck, as well as the material world and the “hidden world” of sorcery.
A process continues here, whereby the central three characters regain their Roumanian identities in priority over those they had been given during their sojourn in the Massachusetts of our abolished constructed world–but not without some complications and regressions. Also, the political conditions in Roumania change as relations alter among the European powers, and a new and ugly form of nationalism is ascendant in Miranda’s country, facilitated by the Baroness but not under her control.
This third book resolved in a manner very similar to that of the second one, The Tourmaline, but with a sense that the fourth and final volume must have a very different outcome.