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Looking into the Sun: A Novel of the Syrian Conflict Paperback – February 25, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Looking Into the Sun is an action-packed, engrossing tale that puts a face on the heartbreaking struggle of children caught up in the war in Syria. It's one of those rare books whose story will remain with readers long after they put it down..." - Peter Telep #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Secret Corps "An engrossing and authentic thriller. Remember the name Todd Tavolazzi. You'll be seeing it a lot." - Grant Blackwood New York Times Bestselling Author of the Briggs Tanner series, is also the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Dead or Alive, with Tom Clancy, and The Kill Switch, with James Rollins "Looking into the sun delved into the characters of those most affected by the Syria crisis. This book tells their stories, heartache and trauma. A must read." - Ranya Alkadamani, founder of the Impact Group International --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Todd lived most of his pre-adult life in San Diego, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps out of high school in 1991 and served as an infantry Marine at Camp Pendleton, California, before he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994. After graduation in 1998, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and served onboard a supply ship stationed in Bremerton, Washington, before being accepted into Naval Aviation. He earned his Navy “Wings of Gold” in Pensacola, Florida, in 2002 and flew the MH-53E Sea Dragon while stationed at NAS Sigonella, Italy, and the MH-60S Knighthawk at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Todd married his flight school sweetheart, Bonnie, also a Naval Aviator, in 2003. She also flew the MH-60S in Norfolk, VA.
Todd earned a Bachelor of Science in History from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University where he studied Europe and the Middle East extensively. On his non-flying staff tour, he served with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy, where he was designated a Naval Strategist and spent time traveling and studying international relations throughout Europe and the Middle East on missions for the U.S. Navy.
Todd has had his short fiction published with both Potluck Magazine and The Subtopian e-zine. Looking into the Sun is his first novel. Todd is still serving in the U.S. Navy and is currently working on his second novel in his spare time between spending time with Bonnie and their two children, Isabella and Vincent.
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Top customer reviews
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So, how did this book register with my understanding of the Middle East post-Arab Spring? Read on to learn why I loved Looking Into Tee Sun. (Note, I'm only half way through this book, but just had to share my enthusiasm. Will follow up in a few hours with my final thoughts.
Length: Print, 301 pages.
Target Audience/Genre: This is an Suspenseful Action-Adventure novel.
Q - What was the Amazon Rank on the date this review was published?
A - 284,033
Q - How was this book obtained?
A - Purchased on a pre-order basis.
Q - Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No, not a great number, as this is professionally edited.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – It’s a fast-paced leisure read.
Q - What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made?
A – Adult English with a moderate use of the f-bomb.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A - The gritty insight into the human tragedy that has been unfolding in Syria is poignantly displayed for us all to feel.
I’ve included a small excerpt below, so readers can peruse the style of presentation utilized by the author.
I saw footsteps approaching the door where the light was coming from. It opened and a single figure stood in the doorway, his body dark against the lit up room behind him.
"Abdul Haqq will see you now,” the man said in English. “Get to your feet and kneel before him.”
Jake and I got to our feet, our hands still bound behind our backs. I walked up slowly to a man dressed in all black with a mask that covered his whole face except for his eyes. Those eyes scowled at me from behind his costume.
I knelt down a few feet in front of Abdul Haqq. Jake followed my lead and did the same. I looked around the room as far as I could without moving my head, recognizing a large lion statue and an armored rider atop a majestic horse with a flowing mane that flanked Abdul Haqq’s chair. I recognized the rider from the back of the archeologist’s truck before it was RPGed.
Abdul Haqq caught me looking, smiled, and rubbed the head of the horse rider that sat at eye-level next to him. “Do you recognize my new decorations?” he said in British-accented English.
"These are from Doctor Halabi’s truck,” I said.
"They were never his property to take,” he said in a low and even tone. “They belong to Syrians and they belong in Syria. They definitely do not belong in the hands of Westerners who aim to trade them for weapons to kill Muslims.”
"Are you Syrian? Where did you learn English?”
"Silence!” Abdul Haqq yelled. “You will only speak when you are spoken to. Is that understood?”
Jake and I both said nothing in reply.
The man who ordered us in the room was standing behind us. He came around and kicked me in the ribs and then did the same to Jake. We both fell to the floor, wheezing in pain.
"You both are pathetic. You have the audacity to come here and report lies about things you know nothing about and embroil yourselves in conspiracies that will kill people in my organization, Muslims, and you do not think we will find you and punish...
Highly recommended. Sometimes, the best, most honest view of a crisis is through fiction.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
Looking Into the Sun pays witness to the atrocities occurring in Syria but also acknowledges the possibility for goodness in humans, regardless of the color of the uniform they wear or who they've aligned themselves with.
I will definitely read this one more than once and look forward to more novels from Tavolazzi in the future.