o disputing that Ignatieff is a stylish essayist. A brilliant novelist he is not. This Balkans war requiem is sappy and portentous. Its center of gravity — a war correspondent’s driven sense of guilt — is noble enough in theory. In fact, the Charlie of the novel suffers from too much Ignatieff, “defeated by ordinary things, like living in a language that was not his own.” This is a thriller about war crimes and collateral damage that plays false notes from the start.