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Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World [Kindle Edition]

Tom Davis
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Stuart Daniels has hit bottom. Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, he is reeling from debt, a broken marriage, and crippling depression. The source of Stuart's grief is his most famous photo, a snapshot of brutality in the dangerous Congo. A haunting image that indicts him as a passive witness to gross injustice.

Stuart is given a one last chance to redeem his career: A make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country. It is here that Stuart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for survival in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease. But in the face of overwhelming odds, Adanna finds hope in a special dream, where she is visited by an illuminated man and given a precious gift.

Now, in a dark place that's a world away from home, Stuart will once again confront the harsh reality of a suffering people in a forgotten land. And as a chance encounter becomes divine providence, two very different people will find their lives forever changed.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nonfiction author Davis (Fields of the Fatherless) makes his fiction debut with a story about two people worlds apart who help each other find redemption. An orphan girl in Swaziland endures her uncle's abuse through visions of "the illuminated man" who she believes will take her to her dead mother's side. When photographer Stuart Daniels discovers the girl near death, he enlists a pastor and a village chief to help her and her two siblings. Facing floods, confronting and aid agency's fraud, and absorbing a brutal attack by one of many desperate starving people may be the only path toward atonement for Stuart's past life. Davis shows insight into African cultures and his writing is vivid, but the novel is weakened by shifts in tense and point of view and lack of patience for character transformation. The novel is the first of three; the series could become popular if the quality of the writing can improve enough to do justice to the passion with which the author champions his cause.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Although he's written a number of books, Scared is Tom's first novel. Reading it was effortless. What a thrill to see the backdrop of Swaziland, that AIDS-devastated country that I've come to care about so deeply. Similarly, to see many of our experiences in the book gave me that peculiar feeling of art imitating life. There was Pastor Walter, one of the first Swazis I worked with in 2004. There was the familiar Swazi landscape. There was the experience with the large ministry that was, as they say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle." The problem in connecting American readers to Swazi issues has always been the great cultural divide between us. We are individualistic and self-aware. We live complicated lives. Swazis are fortunate to live past 30 - they struggle with basic life issues. Tom bridges this gap by intertwining the lives of an American photographer and a young Swazi orphan girl. Both are confronted with huge life issues and both have something that the other one needs. There is a little bit of all of us in them. All of us confront our mortality with a measure of the fear that the book's title implies. And all of us need someone to pull us into a reality that is larger than ourselves. How is it different from Red Letters or Fields of the Fatherless, Tom's other books about orphans? By placing real issues in the context of a story, it makes them more accessible. One of my friends who read the book even said: "I couldn't put it down. I feel he has a best seller here. It read allot like the book Same Kinda Different as Me which sold millions. Please tell him thanks for putting added fire in my soul to be a part of what God is doing in Swaziland." - Tami Kesling

Well done, Tom. Thanks for daring to put down in novel form the issues that break God's heart" ----Seth Barnes, CEO of AIM (Adventures in Missions) and author of The Art of Listening Prayer

Nonfiction author Davis (Fields of the Fatherless) makes his fiction debut with a story about two people worlds apart who help each other find redemption. An orphan girl in Swaziland endures her uncle's abuse through visions of "the illuminated man" who she believes will take her to her dead mother's side. When photographer Stuart Daniels discovers the girl near death, he enlists a pastor and a village chief to help her and her two siblings. Facing floods, confronting and aid agency's fraud, and absorbing a brutal attack by one of many desperate starving people may be the only path toward atonement for Stuart's past life. Davis shows insight into African cultures and his writing is vivid, but the novel is weakened by shifts in tense and point of view and lack of patience for character transformation. The novel is the first of three; the series could become popular if the quality of the writing can improve enough to do justice to the passion with which the author champions his cause. --Publishers Weekly


Product Details

  • File Size: 2115 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005S9KS3W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,196 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels I've read in 2009! June 1, 2009
Format:Paperback
I don't recommend reading this in public because you'd have a hard time getting past the lump in your throat to explain just what it was that evoked that level of emotion in you. I'm not exaggerating. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be emotionally moved when you read Scared. The entire time I read this book I was in Africa right along with the characters. That's great writing.

While the abuse and poverty were disheartening to experience through the story, the way people who loved God reached out with the little they had was truly uplifting. Evocative and intense, Scared cuts deep into your heart as you read along. Healing fills the pages, yet there are no easy answers given, and it shows how each day is a struggle for the people of Swaziland to even survive. That's why the orphans and the widows need people who care. I loved how Scared showed that many of the sick and dying were truly victims of AIDS through no wrongdoing of their own. This book should be an award winner for the message alone. Seriously.

I've rarely experienced this level of realism in a novel, especially in the CBA. It's so realistic, it's downright edgy - but to the extreme. Like the Holocaust, there are some awful things that happen in this book. Unspeakable things. But it also shows how God holds those who suffer close to His heart. You see that in this book in a way that is rarely portrayed in Christian fiction. All of the ugly stuff is not smoothed over, nor is the God-given compassion. I was moved to tears so many times I lost count.

When the people who were starving literally danced with joy when offered a meager ration of food, it really touched me. We have so much in this country, yet we are so ungrateful.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing June 20, 2009
Format:Paperback
I LOVED this book. It is an incredibly sad story but has beautiful glimpses of hope. I found Davis' writing gripping. I was hooked into this story from page 1... if I could have read it start to finish in one sitting I would have. Unfortunately those pesky parenting duties got in my way ;)

This story made me cry and it made me want to jump up off my chair and DO something... ANYTHING to help the oppressed in our world. I really think every single person in North America should read this book... maybe it would help us all get a little bit of perspective. We are blessed. We should be caring for those less fortunate than ourselves. We should stop being so darn selfish. I'm telling you I was reading this story, weeping and wishing I could scoop up those starving babies and bring them all home.

But please don't misunderstand me- this book is not written in some sort of preachy condescending way. It is also not one of those books that leaves you feeling so overwhelmed that it seems pointless to care. It is a story filled with grim reality, yes, but it is also filled with hope and a do-able call to action. I promise you Scared will move you.

Read this book. By yourself. With your spouse. With your children. With your bible study group. With your entire church. Pass it around to all your neighbours. You really must read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is hope in the midst of pain... June 18, 2009
Format:Paperback
Author, speaker and activist Tom Davis recently released his first novel, Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World. Tom pinned a gripping book that deals with the haunting reality of the life that is lived by those who have been swallowed by extreme poverty. Issues of hunger, aids, and other injustices are all too real in our world, and Tom allows the reader to enter into the narrative and grasp what life is like through the eyes and heart of a Swazi child, the good, the bad and the ugly!

The story is gripping, fast paced and heartbreaking. Yet filled with hope in the midst of tragedy, Tom paints a picture of reality, but also pens a pathway of change and hope.

My prayer for this book is simple, that the rest of the world would somehow realize that if we choose to love and care for those who live in extreme poverty, we can make a difference, life can be better, extreme poverty can be eradicated. I feel like this book is vital as it can help us see humanity beyond the issues the global poor face. These are real people who are desperate and deserve a better life. Hopefully, through this story, it will cause a movement of compassion and service.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and Heart-Stirring June 15, 2009
By Jamie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just like Jesus told stories and parables to illustrate difficult ideas, Scared tells a beautiful story of suffering and redemption that won't leave your heart the same.

Poverty and suffering seems like an abstract concept for so many -- something Jesus tells us we should surround ourselves with -- but that we find elusive. And, when we do find it, it's laden with Sally-Struthers-Style guilt that is difficult to find Jesus in.

Yet, walking with the poor and mourning seems to be a great source of blessing according to Jesus. Matthew 5 tells us things like, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted," and "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

In Scared, Tom Davis takes the real world of suffering away from the abstract and guilt-ridden TV spots, and he makes it real. In fact, you find out in the afterword that many of the characters are based on real people Tom has worked with his work with a Christian orphan relief agency.

The book rings true with the kind of details that make you feel like you are there. The adventure he paints keeps you turning each page, desperate to know what happens next.

Simply, this is the best novel I've read in years. Read it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Emotional
This book is hard to read in places but you can't not finish it. Tears fell often and it touched me deeply
Published 4 months ago by patricia j zachary
5.0 out of 5 stars Right Book, Right Time...
This was the right book at the right time for me. After a fierce dose of Jesus' sermon on the mount, combined with writings by authors like Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, and David... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jason Lilly
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than a Novel
I did not think that I would like this book; it turns out that I love it. Tom Davis' has the unique power of making you truly feel the presence of the characters, especially the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kaitlin Zinkewich
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Great reminder of what it's like over in Africa. We miss being there, but love this great reminder. Thanks Tom
Published 10 months ago by FB
5.0 out of 5 stars Realities of AIDS and God's powerful love
I read this book within a few hours. It was very good!!!

Stuart Daniels is a photographer for The Times and feels lousy about his award for a photo in which he felt... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Justice Pirate
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Story
This is not light reading; it is a horrible story. .. But it is based on real things, horrible things, that happen in our world. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching
A novel well worth your time but be prepared to never be the same again. I live in Africa and know this story is happening in many other places here. Bravo, Tom!
Published 13 months ago by Robyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-paced and thought provoking
The story moves well, presenting several interesting characters whose lives are changed in a few short days by events and significant spiritual experiences. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Alison Briscoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening and powerful book!
This book captured me from the first chapter. Tom Davis" heart for the poor and orphan bleeds out of this book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Laura Shughart
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and calling out
Our world needs more stories like this, I pray that many, many will read and act! Truly captivating story that forces you face to face with a reality we would rather... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Christy Taylor
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More About the Author

I am the President/CEO of CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST (www.hopechest.org), an international child advocacy organization bringing God's hope and love to orphans around the world. Our work is focused in Russia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Swaziland, and South Africa. HopeChest helps churches and corporations around the U.S. adopt an orphanage and make a real difference in the lives of orphans. Before joining CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST, I was a pastor for ten years, serving on the staff of several well-respected churches in Dallas, Texas, including Metroplex Chapel and Hillcrest Church. I have also been a professional trainer in leadership development training Fortune 500 CEO's and their executive staffs. Currently, I've authored four books: Fields of the Fatherless, Red Letters, Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, and Scared - A Novel on the Edge of the world, the first in a three part series. I've been married to my wife, Emily, for 13 years and we have 6 children--including one adopted daughter from Russia. You can keep up with me on my blog: www.cthomasdavis.com

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