June 8, 2014 12:00 AM

‘Imperfectionists’ author balances a thin plot with an intriguing supporting cast in his new novel.

Tom Rachman’s second novel is compulsively readable despite its thin plot and needlessly nonlinear narrative, attributes recalling his charming yet overrated debut, The Imperfectionists. In The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, Rachman creates a smaller cast of characters and focuses on a single protagonist.

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