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Veiled Freedom Paperback – May 20, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Windle—author of the political/suspense thriller CrossFire—taps into current events with her newest novel, set in Afghanistan. Relief worker Amy Mallory had dreamed of working in Kabul for years, yet her first impressions of the dusty, tradition-bound city aren't great. Steve Wilson, leader of the personal security detail for Afghanistan's minister of the interior, carries memories of his last time in the war-torn country. And Jamil, the Afghan whom Amy hires as her interpreter, is haunted by his past. The trio's lives entwine as they struggle to live and work in Kabul, Amy through New Hope—offering protection to women released from prison—and Steve through protecting Khalid Sayef, a leader who promises reform. Windle's writing sings when she compares the teachings of Isa Masih (Jesus Christ) with those of Muhammad, but occasionally clunks with overuse of acronyms and convoluted sentences. Yet readers will be enthralled with this penetrating look at Afghanistan and its many mysteries revealed through the lives of flawed men and women. Windle is a top-notch storyteller. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Amy Mallory is a young and naive Christian relief worker who arrives in Afghanistan ready to take on the world and share her faith. Special Forces veteran Steve Wilson helped drive the Taliban from Kabul, but he’s since signed on with the private security firm tasked with protecting key members of the Afghani government. In Afghanistan, Jamil’s family was once wealthy and respected, but greed and enmity have destroyed Jamil’s hopes of a future; he lives day-to-day and is grateful for any small blessing. Windle builds on her own experience as a missionary in South America, and her sterling reputation for creating thrilling Christian evangelical fiction in her newest novel of international intrigue. Readers familiar with the demands and expectations of life in an Islamic country may find Amy’s behavior unrealistic, but Windle’s vivid descriptions and complex, high-stakes plot make for a fast-paced, intensely political drama that succeeds in bringing a fascinating culture to life. --Lynne Welch
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The clashes and misunderstanding between the characters and cultures weave an intriguing story of living your faith in a world where the price can be high. Jeanette's descriptions of sight sound and smell give her reader's a you-are-there experience. Through dialogue and character interaction we learn so much about the lives of the nationals. Jamil's crisis of faith comes across as genuine and not contrived. The mysterious bomber that is woven throughout the story drives the tension to a surprising conclusion. Because the author has taken the time to educate her readers before that defining scene is played out, it is so believable and satisfying. Can't wait to read the sequel Freedom Stand.
While I agree with some of the sentiments, the faux innocence portraying our country (US) as some kind of well meaning plodding behemoth as opposed to the truth (the military industrial complex, manifest destiny, etc.) is a bit troubling.
The book could have been improved by laying out all the same scenarios and then, instead of pushing Jesus as the answer, allowed the reader to think and reason as to the problems and solutions. The truth is that praying to neither Jesus nor Mohammed is going to solve these problems!
Amy is an aid worker that finds herself alone in Afghanistan trying to make a difference despite what seems an overwelming handicap of cultural and social differences. She is assisted by a young man who realizes that oppression and corruption of the current government is the root of the countries poverty and inequality. In that revelation he finds common ground with Christian teachings.
There is no miracle for Afghanistan but it does show a single person can make an immpact in many lives. Some of them without even realizing it.
The book explains things about Islam that I did not know without being preachy or condemning or overbaringly judgemental. It's stated in a factual way in order to provide a touch and feel of the environment.
All in all it's worth the read.
She's been there, done that, and has a solid grasp of the situation she writes about, with a detail and intimacy that brings it all home. But what impresses me the most is the sensitive way she compares the tenets of Islam to the foundational truths of biblical Christianity. This story deals with critical issues that we cannot afford to ignore, and does it with amazing grace. Its sweet sound is just what this wretched world needs to hear.
Listen closely: This. Is. A. Good. Book. Read it. You'll be better for it.
The Story in the Stars