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The Collection of Heng Souk [Kindle Edition]

S.R. Wilsher
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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  • Length: 242 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

For many, Heng Souk is a hero. To others he is a criminal. For Souk himself he is neither, merely a man seeking to balance what he once was, with what he now is. When the daughter of his estranged brother arrives, with her comes the possibility of atonement.

Sun has come to tell him of the death of her father, and to give him a package. Her frail uncle is a very different man from family legend. Yet when she discovers the notebook of an American POW, detailing his torturous relationship with his captor, she is startled by what she learns.

Meanwhile, Thomas Allen, still reeling from the death of his daughter, learns that the man he called Dad was not his biological father. The tragically unresolved love story his mother tells him, prompts Thomas to find out why her ‘greatest love’ never returned to her after the Vietnam War.

His search leads him to the notorious prison ‘the Citadel’, and to Sun and her uncle. Despite the hostility of her family, Sun and Thomas begin a perilous relationship. Aware that the fate of Thomas’ father is revealed in the notebook, she is torn between helping Thomas, and the damaging affect the notebook’s revelations will have on all of them.

Product Details

  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CMFU3X0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,348 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This lovely book deals with indecent brutality yet never stoops to sensationalism or pathos. Three characters converge in search of a truth buried in The Citadel prison in Thai Binh in Vietnam. All are effectively deeply by a notebook written in captivity by Ephraim Luther. One of the three is a son of a fellow prisoner, hollowed by his own tragedy. Accompanying one of the most feared interrigators, is his niece Sun who has recently learned he may be her father.

The novel beautifully proposes the result if each of us were to be able to leave the citadels of our own minds and observe the soul of other men and women. This construct can easily become maudlin and the temptation must always be to resolve terrifying differences neatly. This author has resisted these traps and crafted a novel that makes me pause deeply. The language is literate and used with elegance. I recommend you read this unknown book and find a truly gifted writer.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riviting tale that grabs you and won't let go March 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
My Review: This book packs quite a punch, it takes some time to build steam but once it gets going there is no stopping. At the beginning I was struggling with the connection between the main characters, but once I found that connection the story really started to come together for me. I fell in love with all of the characters and honestly want the best for each of them, flaws and all. It really hit me on all levels, emotionally and mentally. There really isn't much more to say other than to read this book for yourself and find out how it speaks to you.

My Rating: While it took me a little while to get into this story, once I did it grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I finished (even a little after to be honest). I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life, Death, and the Next Generation May 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ephraim Luther is a young man taken prisoner during the Vietnam War and held in a place called the Citadel where he is interrogated by the prison commandant, Heng Souk. They will each impact the other's life in unexpected and monumental ways. During his confinement Ephraim is given a notebook and a pencil by Souk and told to write. And he does. Decades later this journal will come into the hands of a new generation. This diary, written by a young man who has become convinced that it will contain his last thoughts before death, will have a profound effect on many different lives.

It's interesting that Sun, the niece of Heng Souk, was sickened by what he had done during the war. This will ever be one of the ironies of war; that those who come after reject the brutality of their forefathers. They are blind to a time when the luxury of taking the long view was impossible. People were dying, countries were being invaded, information had to be obtained, and decisions had to be made. As Heng tells his niece when she asks if the words in the journal written by the young American were true, "I did what needed to be done". I think that therein lies the hope for the human race; that generation by successive generation reject things that were done in the past. And although repelled, Sun is either unwilling or unable to stop reading and questioning, demanding to understand.

Meanwhile Thomas Allen is on his way to Vietnam to look for traces of a father he has never known. His path will cross with both Sun and Heng Souk and the results will be both bloody and unexpected.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and Triumph May 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In Hanoi, Sun delivers a package to her uncle Heng Souk. The package was left behind by her father, to be given to her uncle upon her parent's death. Her uncle's indifference to her brother's death enrages her. Yet, Sun struggles to express her rage.

"She tried to catch her anger before it touched her lips, tensing her muscles and blushing with the effort. She could not manage barbed rage like her mother, only silent disappointment, like her father. She wanted to berate him for not caring about his brother, but she knew her words would come out soft and woollen and tame. She always felt like a small girl when she was angry, as if she was only one disagreeable word away from a stamped foot."

Sun follows her rude uncle into his impoverished living quarters. When she notices an old notebook, she picks it up. On the front cover is the name Ephraim Luther. She asks about the man.

Her uncle finally admits Ephraim Luther was an American prisoner of war.

Sun manages to steal the notebook. Within its pages, through the voice of Ephraim Luther, she enters another world.

S. R. Wilsher's The Collection of Heng Souk is a wonderful book. The characters reflect their yearnings and growth across both short and long increments of time, as well as the author's deep knowledge of human nature. Sun wants and needs her freedom, yet she is bound by deep cultural ties, as well as her marriage to a traditional, jealous man. Anh, Sun's mother, presents a façade to the world while guarding her secrets. Thomas' search takes him into Sun's life. He wants to numb himself to his own tragedy and heartbreak, and discovers shocking secrets through his journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected
This book was not at all what I expected. I thought it would be a regular mystery/thriller. I could not put it down. Very well written. Thank you!
Published 2 days ago by missnoo
3.0 out of 5 stars Parallel stories of loss intersect
Intrigued by the independently woven stories and how they would intersect I had to keep reading to learn the connection between the main characters. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Gemmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Novel that explores the Plight of an American POW
I found The Collection of Heng Souk to be a beautifully written novel. The plot and characters held my interest.
Sometimes I had to reread a sentence because it was profound. Read more
Published 3 days ago by GB
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I wavered between a 3 and a 4 star for this one. It is worthy of a 3 1/2, at least. Resolution for lives fraught with questions, pain, and regret happens as one man delves into a... Read more
Published 5 days ago by kargoforth
5.0 out of 5 stars The Collection of Heug SOUK
I choose the book because of the Veitnam war. As hard as the events were to read it is part of history and the story of the people searching for answers was very good. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Patty Paxton
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a difficult story to read, but it ...
This was a difficult story to read, but it was quite compelling--I had trouble putting it down. It was during and post Vietnam War.
Published 16 days ago by Mrs. Spunkmeister
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Love this book thought it was just terrific. A little to Pat an ending, but nonetheless we'll deserved.
Published 28 days ago by Lil Hosman
3.0 out of 5 stars There was more to the book than I waited around to see
The writing was good, I just didn't get into the book. I wanted to follow along, but kept putting the book down and starting other books. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Cynthia Kline
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, deep characters, intriguing story
Great read! The story is told from many angles and is rich in the difference in cultural thinking and expectations. Lots of intrigue and interesting characters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sharen L. Rea
4.0 out of 5 stars I found this book to be a very strong story ...
I found this book to be a very strong story, that follows a man who survived the atrocities and a family who wants to discover the truth, a post war story of what happened to one... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cyberchook
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More About the Author

My three current novels have been published in quick succession because, after years of trying to get past literary agents, I already had a body of work that was almost ready. All I had to do was to take the decision to just get them out there; one that took me a long time to make. In the end it was quite cathartic, and meant that I was finally able to let go of stories that I had been constantly rewriting. It freed me up to concentrate on new ones. Book four will be available towards the end of 2015.
All of my stories are aimed at different audiences, as I've searched for a style and voice, but I feel I've found that voice with The Collection of Heng Souk. It's one I intend to return to with books five and six.
On a personal note, I am married with two children, and live a few minutes' walk from the beach in Dorset, England. The bulk of my career was in Sales Management, but this was cut short by the recession, and compounded by the need for a kidney transplant. I now work as a Data Manager in Clinical Research. I've been writing all my adult life, with my career and my writing each suffering as a result of the other. It's only recently that I've stopped pretending about a career.

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