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Thief of Glory: A Novel Paperback – August 19, 2014


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Q&A with Sigmund Brouwer, author of Thief of Glory
What was the catalyst behind writing this book? How do you see the need for people to record family history or write a memoir play out today?

My own father was seven, living in the Dutch East Indies, when he too, lost his father and was forced into a similar concentration camp. Like Jeremiah, he talks little about his boyhood and what he endured during the war. I wanted to understand the events that formed him, and my research of this relatively little known part of World War II inspired me to write a fictional memoir from the view point of a man my father’s age. I want to help others who want to preserve family memories, not necessarily for an audience beyond the family. My approach is that by focusing on learning how to write one chapter of a life story, a person will be equipped to write an entire memoir.

What are the main historical events that take place in Thief of Glory? Could you explain more about the jappenkamps?

The Pacific War theatre serves as backdrop to the novel, and the bulk of the story takes place over the years that the main character is a boy, in one of the hundreds of concentration camps where the Japanese army held the Dutch prisoners. The conditions, as I discovered from reading accounts of survivors, were horrible and life threatening.

Can you share some of your father’s story? Is your mother’s story in anyway part of the novel? How did she experience WWII?

My father’s story is very similar to most of the other survivors. As the war continued, more and more families were crowded into the camps, and the Japanese commanders had a policy of starvation that some believe was deliberate. He was liberated into danger, for rebels seeking independence engaged in terrorist acts against the women and children; it wasn’t until Allied forces arrived on the island that he was finally safe. (My father, for example, remembers waking up to grenades tossed into his camp by rebels. ) My mother grew up in the Netherlands. Her most distinct memory is of the black boots of the German soldiers who took away her father for hiding a Jew in their home. She was five years old at the time.

How do you see the need for people to record family history or write a memoir play out today?

I viewed Thief of Glory as a fictionalized memoir, and it was inspired by the stories of both my parents, stories that I didn’t want to disappear. Because of this, I want to help others who want to preserve family memories, not necessarily for an audience beyond the family. My approach is that by focusing on learning how to write one chapter of a life story, a person will be equipped to write an entire memoir.


Review

Praise for Thief of Glory

“Emotionally riveting and exquisitely raw, Thief of Glory is an unforgettable
tale about survival, not just of the body, but of the heart and soul, with an ending
that will echo in your mind long after you’ve closed the book. Brouwer is a
master storyteller.”
Susan Meissner, author of A Fall of Marigolds
 
“In Thief of Glory Sigmund Brouwer plunges readers into the mysterious embrace
of the Dutch East Indies during the convulsions of the Second World
War. Few authors have such an ability to immerse an audience in the sights,
sounds, smells…and horrors! Brouwer makes you live it…sharing each moment
of an exotic and terrifying time and place in a gripping, personal way.”
Bodie and Brock Thoene, authors of Take This Cup
 
“Sigmund Brouwer’s Thief of Glory is a powerful story, richly told. Young Jeremiah
Prins is a complex and fascinating hero, blessed with great gifts and
challenged by choices to use them for good or evil. The details of life in a Japanese
civilian prison camp are revealed in unflinching but compassionate realism,
and the characters depict the human capacity for both great selfishness
and great heroism. This is truly one of the best books I’ve read this year.”
—Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of On Distant Shores and In Perfect Time
 
“I’ve been a fan of Sigmound Brower’s books for ages, but Thief of Glory cocooned
me in rich words, vivid descriptions, and true-to-life characters, making
this book hard to put down. A fan of World War II, I’ve read countless
tales, but World War II in the Dutch Indies was new to me, fresh and heartwrenching at the same time. A true glimpse of light amongst darkness, made even more special due to the inspiration of Sigmund’s parents’ story. Thief of
Glory is going on my keeper shelf!”
Tricia Goyer, USA Today best-selling author of over forty books,
including Chasing Mona Lisa
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307446492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307446497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Whether writing youth or adult fiction, Sigmund Brouwer is a best-selling author of more than 40 fast-paced novels. He loves going to schools to get kids excited about reading, reaching roughly 80,000 students a year through his Rock&Roll Literacy Show.

Sigmund is married to songwriter recording artist Cindy Morgan. The couple and their two young daughters divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee.

Customer Reviews

Like me, you may be surprised how the book ends.
Beverly Lynnt
The story is very fascinating with a well developed plot and characters that are intriguing.
B. Dempsey
The untold stories of this time are vividly shared in this beautifully crafted novel.
Selena

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Raya on August 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
Focusing on the Pacific theater of WWII, Sigmund Brouwer tells the coming-of-age story of a boy whose life is forever tainted by war. Ten-year-old Jeremiah Prin's life of privilege crashes to a halt the day the Japanese take over the Dutch East Indies. With his father and older brothers taken away by the Japanese, Jeremiah becomes head of the family, taking care of his fragile mother and younger siblings as they are forced into an internment camp. Amidst starvation, disease, and death, Jeremiah uses all his cunning to keep his family alive and together, but he cannot control their futures. The war marks everyone, hardening some and breaking others. But how hard can a child become before it hardens him forever?

As in most instances when an author has a tangible connection to their story, this tale exudes passion. Like Jeremiah's father, Brouwer's grandfather became one of over ten thousand of victims of the Burma railway, while the rest of the family was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp. Though the tales diverge from there, one can feel the author's heart for those who endured the atrocities.

This book takes place in an interment camp - a place of abuse, death, and little hope. To balance the moments of horror, there are moments of true inspiration - inspiration to be strong and fight, regardless of the consequences - not for personal gain or safety, but to protect those weaker than oneself. To be able to stand on the judgement day, knowing one chose right. Sophie Jansen is a brilliant example of this selflessness - would that we could all be like her!

Thief of Glory is a unique piece of christian historical fiction in more ways than one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TheophilusFarrell4 on August 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is one of those stories that you wish wasn't true, yet you know that it was, for so many people.

Jeremiah Prins, an old man now telling his boyhood story, is a true character.
He was the kind of boy that we don't write about anymore, and he sounds just like the youngsters who lived in the 1940's.
He's respectful to adults- but he certainly has his own mind.
He's a scrapper who fights often, but always fights clean.
He never expected to fall hard for a golden haired little girl, but he has a secretly romantic heart.
He's got too much individuality, too much integrity, too much honesty, and too much intelligence to ever cheat or ever give in.

Jeremiah's narrating voice is perfect.
He guides us back first to a banyan tree and a marble game, and then to a girl, and an enemy invasion, and the loss of his father and all of life as he knew it. He takes us into a camp with his mother and sisters and brother. He shows us how women and children were stripped of their dignity by captors who had renounced their own humanity.
First he tells us about imperfect-but-kindly innocence, then he opens our eyes to cruelty.
His descriptions of the Japennkamp are chilling, and the history level is high.

This is one of the few Christian fiction books I can actually recommend to a man. Despite the beautiful girl's face on the cover, the "romance" was properly reserved. This is a story of survival, of trying to keep "soul and body together." Fighting for food and medicine and shelter and sanity and strength for one more day. Some people had more strength, others had far less. You'll want to cry as you read.
I think my father would treasure this story. I did.

Thank you Waterbrook for my review copy.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alisha L. on August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
**Note: I do not recommend this book for anyone who is not an adult due to some gruesome and graphic scenes/descriptions and mature themes.**

First off I would like say that I chose this book because I love reading books about World War II (both fiction and non-fiction) and I was excited to see a new realistic Christian historical novel based on that time in history being published. When I chose this book to read I was expecting a realistic look at what happened in the Dutch East Indies during World War II which is what this book was. I didn’t chose this book because I wanted to read a Christian romance novel and I wasn’t expecting it to be a feel good book with a happy ending. I’ve read enough books about World War II to know about a lot of the gruesome, brutal, and horrific things that happened from all different sides of the war. That being said, even though I was expecting this to be a realistic WWII fiction book, I unfortunately didn’t enjoy this book.

For the most part the book was a well written book. After reading it I can tell that Sigmund Brouwer is a talented writer that is knowledgeable about or has done his research about the subjects he has written about. I had only read a couple of Sigmund Brouwer’s juvenile fiction books before, and although I did enjoy them, the writing was more of a simplistic style since the books were written for kids. That’s not the case in this book. The author has done a good job at making me feel like I’m living the events of the story just like the characters. Sometimes it wasn’t always a good thing for this book to be so descriptive though, and one part, although short, actually made me squeamish and that part wasn’t even war related.

This book didn’t really feel like a Christian book to me either.
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