Paperback: 432 pages ( I read the ebook version on My Kindle)
Genre: Christian contemporary fiction
Publisher: May 20th 2009 by Tyndale House Publishers
Source: Kindle purchase.
First Sentences: Prologue Kabul 13,2001. "Land of the free and home of the brave" The radio's static-spattered fanfare filtered through the compound wall. Beyond its shattered gate, a trio of small boys kicked a bundle of knotted rags around the dirt courtyard. Had they any idea those foreign harmonies were paying homage to their country's latest invaders?
My opinion: It was certainly the characters and the place rather than any plot that held my interest.
A Christian novel set in present-day Afghanistan which will give you plenty to think about, in particular the plight of women. I felt that this novel was a well researched believable portrayal of life in Afghanistan and how religion both Christian and Muslim plays a big part in the problems facing aid organisations working there. The story deals with the critical issues that the people of Afghanistan are dealing with on a day to day basis, that we really cannot afford to ignore, but are probably not fully aware of. Also it may not be an accurate picture, after all this is fiction, but I fear it is horribly close to the truth although not a particularly exciting novel it will transport you to Kabul whilst you are reading. For me it was certainly the characters and the place rather than any plot that held my interest.
The novel tells the story of three main protagonists, Amy Mallory a young American and devout Christian who has just arrived in Kabul to work for an aid organisation helping women and children. Amy is desperate to be able to share her faith but knows she would be putting the life's of others in danger if she is over zealous in pushing her beliefs in her story telling. A difficult path she trod, especially as one of the conditions of her position was that she should not share her faith with the locals and which did in fact have unexpected repercussions, not to be given away here.
The other two protagonists are male firstly we meet Steve Wilson, an ex special forces soldier now chief of security for the Afghanistan Minister of the Interior who just happens to be Amy's landlord. Originally part of the force that liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, he has become very cynical about the continued violence and lack of freedom. He finds Amy very naive and seems to be always having to rescue her from dangerous situations.
The final protagonist is Jamil a young man recently returned to his homeland from exile in Pakistan, well educated Amy employs him as a translator to help in her aid work. He has a harrowing past and as a devout Muslim, finds it very difficult to accept the kindness that Amy seems to show to everyone. He questions how her faith can motivate her to do so, dangerous and complicated.
Basically the interaction between the characters and the dramas that link them is the story and to say more about them would spoil it for those of you that may want to read this. Be warned there is a strong religious influence which may put some readers off, but I can recommend this to anyone who likes to learn more about the world we live in whilst they are reading.
A daughter of American missionaries, Jeanette Windle grew up in the jungles and small towns of Colombia, now guerilla hot zones. In 1981, Jeanette graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies and Theology from Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, Alberta. In 1985, Jeanette and her husband Martin moved to Bolivia to work with a non-denominational Christian mission. While her husband served as director, Jeanette worked with women and children at risk in varied regions of Bolivia.
Jeanette began her publishing/writing career producing Spanish-language educational and inspirational material for women and children at risk as well as writing articles for a variety of international publications. Her first major adult novel, Crossfire, set against background of the counter-narcotics war in Bolivia that she was witnessing first hand. This was followed by The DMZ, set in the guerilla zones of Colombia where she grew up. There have been other novels which can found by following the links below. Veiled Freedom, set in Afghanistan, has been followed by the sequel last year Freedom's Stand.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Jeanette Windle - Author's Official Website.
I have chosen to read this title as the letter V for The A - Z Book Challenge which I decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I had a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, so am pleased that it now looks as I have achieved my aim. You can follow my progress here.