Damascus, 1980. Holding his feverish baby, a man watches from the upper story window as his wife gets into his car, on her way to get something for the baby’s fever. He knows that he will have to leave soon, especially after what he has seen, but the baby’s fever has delayed him. It is no longer safe and an escape route has already been prepared for him but it means he must abandon his child and his wife since they cannot come with him. He knows he is on borrowed time. He watches as she gets in the car and hears her turn the key. The car reluctantly turns over but does not start. He hears her try again and in that moment, he knows that it is already too late. The blast knocks him down and when he comes too he is lying on shards of glass, his body protecting the baby, his hands covering her ears.
Klara Waldeen grew up on a small island in an archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Raised by her grandparents she left their small community and now works for Eva-Karin Boman, a member of the European Parliament in Brussels. Like so many politicians Eva-Karin has no sense of boundaries regarding Klara’s time and has interrupted her weekend by demanding that she complete a summary regarding an IT security report by 5:00 Sunday evening. So much for any time off! Hurriedly, leaving her grandparents and returning to Brussels, Klara rushes to finish her summary, completely ignoring an email from someone she thought she would never hear from again.
Mahmoud has finally gotten a glimpse of success. It has been a long journey for him and his family. Beginning with his parent’s immigration from Lebanon to Sweden in 1980 and then his own the long academic climb, he was finally admitted into a Ph.D. program at the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University. He is just about to finish his book entitled, The Privatization of War, excerpts of which have been published in academic journals garnering notice and praise. In fact he has been invited to speak at a symposium at the EU regarding the use of security firms and other private service providers in the conduct of war. It feels like his life is finally coming together, and maybe he might even be able to reach out to Klara to apologize for what he did to her. And then come the puzzling anonymous emails which end with, “Determination, Courage and Endurance.”
Sweeping form Damascus, Brussels, Sweden and the United States from the early 1980s to the present day this fast paced thriller keeps you guessing until the very end. Writing like a John le Carré or Gerald Seymour, Zander evokes a time and a place through carefully chosen words and descriptions. His character development is good but sometimes the reader is inhibited from fully appreciating their development by his choice to tell this story by jumping back and forth between characters and time lines. All in all, however, Zander’s first book is a joy to read and I hope that we hear from him again!
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 Stars out of 5)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Marian and Ken.
Book Study Worthy? Not really.
Read in ebook format.