Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six [Kindle Edition]

Jessica Buchanan , Erik Landemalm , Anthony Flacco
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $11.89
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $11.89  
Hardcover $18.14  
Paperback $11.64  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $20.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Life with Harper Lee
Invited to live as her neighbor, Marja Mills offer unprecedented insight into the reclusive author's life in The Mockingbird Next Door. Learn more.

Book Description

A New York Times bestseller!

In 2006, twenty-seven-year-old Jessica Buchanan stepped off a plane in Nairobi, Kenya, with a teaching degree and long-held dreams of helping to educate African children. By 2009, she had met and married a native Swede named Erik Landemalm, who worked to coordinate humanitarian aid with authorities in Africa. Together the two moved from Nairobi to Somalia, and with hopes of starting a family, their future couldn’t have been brighter. . . .

But on October 25, 2011, Jessica and a colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by a band of Somali pirates. For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters, held outdoors in filthy conditions, and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated. Negotiations for ransom dragged on, and as the ordeal stretched into its third month, the captors grew increasingly impatient. Every terrifying moment Jessica Buchanan spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors. After ninety-three days of fruitless negotiations, and with Jessica’s medical state becoming a life-or-death issue, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to attempt a rescue operation. On January 25, 2012, just before the president delivered his State of the Union speech, the team of twenty-four SEALs, under the cover of darkness, attacked the heavily armed hostiles. They killed all nine with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.

In riveting detail, this book chronicles Jessica and Erik’s mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica’s fight to stay alive, and Erik’s efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government. Both a testament to two people’s courage and a nail-biting look at a life-or-death struggle, this is a harrowing and deeply personal story about their triumph over impossible odds.

Editorial Reviews Review

Author Q&A with Jessica Buchanan

Jessica Buchanan

Q. The descriptions of both Jessica’s captivity and Erik’s ordeal waiting are so vivid. Was it difficult to revisit that point in your lives?

It was difficult to revisit such traumatic incidents in our lives, but we also found the process incredibly therapeutic in some ways. We felt fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a fantastic writer such as Anthony Flacco, and in doing so, Erik and I soon discovered, that through the writing process, we were able to have conversations with each other that maybe we never would have had before. The hardest things to do, are often the most healing and healthy things, in the long run.

The writing process for Impossible Odds was a bit unconventional—as Anthony remained in Seattle writing, and Erik and I were still living in Nairobi during the writing of the book. I was too far along in my pregnancy to travel, so we decided the only way to move forward on our collaboration was to talk over video Skype. Throughout power outages, Internet connections going down, and an 11-hour time difference (as well as a brand new baby!) The three of us somehow were able to connect and lay to paper detail upon detail, of our lives, the kidnapping and captivity, as well as the rescue. It was difficult to stir up all those memories, but Anthony was so kind, intuitive and understanding, we both found ourselves looking forward to our sessions with him. We found that we were able to process through all the past events in a safe environment with Anthony. He was committed with us, to produce a technically accurate and emotional account of our experience. We couldn’t have asked for a more sensitive and respectful writer to work with.

Q. What made you decide to write Impossible Odds? And, why now?

When I first came out of captivity, so many people were encouraging me to record and relay the experiences I had been through—but I knew it was not the right time for me. I knew that I would know when the time was right, if it was ever right, to share my story. Our main objective in writing Impossible Odds was to relay our gratitude to those involved in securing my freedom, and also to friends and family all around the world. As for the time frame—I can’t explain it, other than that I knew it was the right time.

Q. What do you hope readers take away from Impossible Odds?

Our hope for readers who read Impossible Odds is that they will be inspired to help those in need, and also to be reminded that the human spirit is impenetrable—we are so strong, capable and possess such fortitude, no matter what our situations we may be experiencing. It’s our responsibility to pass on the message that no matter what kind of impossible situation you may be facing, there is help along the way.

Through this experience, I learned that the human spirit is indeed indomitable. It’s amazing how you can manage to find strength in such small happenings, no matter how hopeless your situation may seem—you just have to choose to look for them. Every night, before I would go to sleep, I would try to list five good things from that day. Oftentimes more than not, it was an extreme challenge to find something good, but it gave me something to do. My colleague often said “Optimism is what makes us sleep at night.” And I added to the thought that “Negativity keeps us up at night.” So we needed to stay positive, hopeful, and above all else, without despair.

To those who find themselves in a hopeless situation, I encourage you to remain hopeful in something. When you need it the most, life, God, love, will give you that extra measure of strength to dig a little deeper, even when you feel you are completely empty of any resources or hope. You will be surprised to find that you are able to scrape out just enough to get through that day. It may not be more than enough—but just enough has got to be ok, and as I have experienced day after day after day—just enough will do just fine.


"The book is spellbinding. Fiction cannot come close to the reality of Impossible Odds. The story provides a compelling combination of horror and fascination, written with clarity and compassion." (NY Journal of Books)

“Inspiring…a cinematic sense of drama.” (Bookreporter)

Product Details

  • File Size: 22801 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1476725160
  • Publisher: Atria Books (May 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009G3EPMQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Story, Suspenseful and Well-Told May 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is even better than the media coverage that has surrounded it recently--it is well-written, VERY suspenseful, and dramatic. It is told from the point-of-views of both Jessica Buchanan (an aid worker in Somalia who was held captive by rogue Somali kidnappers) and her husband Erik Landemalm (who also worked to aid the people of Africa). Jessica was working to protect the people of Somalia when she was abducted; the work she was doing was nonpolitical and nonreligious. The reader shares in the experience by imagining what it would have been like to have been held hostage in primitive conditions as well as what it was like for the family members of the captives to languish and negotiate for her release for months. There is also quite a bit in the book--fascinating--regarding the amazing SEAL fighters who rescued Jessica.

An older Danish male colleague of Jessica's, Poul Thisted, was also held captive at the same time. He said that he felt lucky to have been held with an American citizen and attributes his rescue to this fact. Their family members could tell no one to protect the victims and to keep the kidnappers from learning vital information. The conditions of the captivity were arduous and they are described in detail--they were kept out in the open exposed to the weather, almost starved, deprived of water, not allowed to bathe--only infrequently permitted to wipe themselves off with diesel water, had to ask permission to go to relieve themselves, had no access to basic sanitary practices, and were often separated and not allowed to interact for the most part. They were kept alive, but that was all.

How does it feel to fear rape, torture, and death daily? To have your life reduced to trying to make it from one moment to the next? How does it change you?
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Story of Heroism and Hope May 14, 2013
This book wastes no time throwing you into desert of Somalia with Jessica and empathetically wondering, "Will she make it?" It is a unique story of someone who has endured so much at the hands of a ruthless enemy, but it is also the story of a family fighting for her from afar. The descriptions of her father in this book make me think of a character I saw once, played by Jeff Bridges, he's loving, tender hearted, and faithful to God to the very end. But the story isn't overtly about faith or heroism - it's about something we should all know and care about, but few of us do. There is a profession overseas that is nothing like what you see in Disney movies, they are drugged up, ruthless, soulless killers - and they are adding children to their numbers daily. I finished the book wanting to parachute into Somalia and do something about it. What will you do about it?

Buy this book and read it, you won't be able to put it down - and you may never be quite the same afterwards.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational story of miraculous possibilities May 14, 2013
By Fox
This is a beautiful story of miraculous possibilities, and recounts the real and personal impact on individual's lives from the sacrifice of U.S. military personnel. The book does a wonderful job of keeping your interest by telling this story from numerous perspectives and emphasizing the inter-connectedness of the lives that came together in making this journey and rescue possible. You can't help but feel inspired after a read of Impossible Odds!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mission: Impossible Rescue June 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Jessica Buchanan and Erik Landemalm were humanitarian aid workers in Somalia. Jessica had a deep desire to help educate the African children. Erik worked to help coordinate humanitarian aid with authorities in Africa.

On October 25, 2011, Jessica and a colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by a band of Somali pirates. For the next three months, Jessica was held outdoors in filthy conditions and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated.

After 93 days of negotiations, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to attempt a rescue mission. On January 25, 2012, a team of 24 SEALS attacked the heavily armed pirates. They killed all the pirates (nine were in the camp at the time of the rescue) with no harm to the hostages.

This is a story of courage, perseverance and faith.

I first heard about this book when Jessica Buchanan was a guest on the Dr. Phil Show. I remember Dr. Phil saying to Jessica, "I read your is very well written." I was touched by Jessica's story and decided this was a book worth reading.

Jessica was a dedicated teacher and was deeply concerned about the child soldiers in Africa. These children are often kidnapped, drugged and forced to kill their entire families so they will have no place to go home to. Jessica was doing the work she loved when she became a victim of the very child soldiers that she was trying to help.

This book provides a detailed account about what it is like to be a victim of cruel and savage kidnappers. It also shares all the behind-the-scenes events that were taking place with her family, her employer and the U.S. government.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner May 20, 2013
By Kiwi
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a page turner. It is really well written. This book does not disappoint. The book does not have even one page that is boring. A good author can write about anything. Here the author has a great story also to tell to the world.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Give this one a miss.
The information given in the book is somewhat interesting; however, the text is so poorly written that it was very hard to get interested in the story. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Toni Eastwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Also gives a great appreciation for our special forces in the rescue
Interesting read concerning people trying to assist/aid in foreign country and then being taken hostage. Also gives a great appreciation for our special forces in the rescue.
Published 13 days ago by books galore
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 17 days ago by Connie Werhanowicz
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a pretty good book and certainly demonstrated what the Seal...
This was a pretty good book and certainly demonstrated what the Seal Teams are capable of. Made one proud to be an American. Read more
Published 18 days ago by bOOKWORM
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Rescue
Very well written, Jessica & Erik are amazing in what they do. Glad The President sent the Navy Seals for the rescue. Awesome
Published 22 days ago by Rusty B
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of a real situation.
a well written description of a hostage experience. one woman's determination to make a difference in life. Survival under impossible odds.
Published 24 days ago by Lena Carol Searcy
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible Odds
I really couldn't put this one down, it was just too emotional. I read it right through once I started it, it was that gripping. Read more
Published 28 days ago by GA buyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
She was very brave through out her ordeal. I don't know if I could have held up. It was well written I would recommend this book
Published 29 days ago by Linda H.
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all worth it.
This is one of those most intense books that cannot be put aside until it's reading is complete. From beginning to end, it is plausibly ironic to say, I was held captive. Read more
Published 1 month ago by PAULETTE RIDDLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the 300+ pages...a great read
Initially I looked at this book and sighed after seeing it was over 300 pages, and yes, there were times reading this book that I felt like Jessica Buchanan as a captive in Africa:... Read more
Published 1 month ago by BlacKnight28
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Topic From this Discussion
I would like someone to compare "The House in the Sky" with "Impossible...
Maybe we could start the compare/contrast and others could add/correct as wanted.

Amanda is Canadian, Jessica is American

Amanda was on an adventure as a freelance journalist, Jessica was on a humanatarian mission

Amanda figures out early that it would help her to "convert" to Islam,... Read More
Feb 12, 2014 by MNGram |  See all 2 posts
Kindle vs Hardcover Be the first to reply
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category