The world as he knows it is crumbling around him. Marc Bravo has just seen the twin towers in New York City fall and terrorism is on the minds of every American and dominates conversations across the globe. September 11, 2001 marks the beginning of a string of events that will change Marc’s life in a way he could never have predicted. When his parents go missing from their volunteer work with Doctors Without Borders, Marc drops everything to find them and bring them home safely. What Marc can never predict is what he will learn about their kidnappers, their true intentions, and how the entire world may ultimately be affected.
Alice Sandoval’s The New Holy Warriors is a timely piece detailing the events following the September 11th attack on the United States. Sandoval takes the story beyond the accounts that we have all seen and heard and breaks down the symbolism of the event itself. In addition, the author lays out for readers a story like no other as she follows Marc Bravo on a quest to find his missing parents who are assumed to have been kidnapped. Marc’s story and his journey for answers is based on true events and is stunning in every way.
One of the most striking elements included in Sandoval’s work is the way in which Islamophobia is addressed. In a very straightforward manner, the author reminds us all of the horrific treatment of anyone appearing to be of Middle Eastern descent. Via her main character, Marc, she drives home the fact that stereotyping immediately following September 11th was rampant and a danger to countless numbers of innocent people.
Another aspect of Sandoval’s story, which might go unnoticed by many, is the description she gives of the strange incidents in the skies above Mexico. Marc is treated to an elaborate explanation of the event and is informed that UFO sightings above Mexico are fairly commonplace. As this book reads as primarily nonfiction, it is almost chilling to listen in on the characters’ conversation about these “cigar-shaped” ships. As an added bonus to the already curious events, Sandoval includes the story of a suspected relationship between the Mayans, the pyramids, and Martians. The casual conversation included in this story inspired by real events is not in the least out of place, but it is truly fascinating.
Sandoval does not shy away from sharing the abject horror involved in terrorism and the groups involved. With color photographs and blatant captions, Sandoval openly shows readers the brutality carried out by organizations like Al Qaeda. If there was ever any doubt in the reader’s mind about the capabilities and intentions of terrorist organizations, Sandoval wipes it completely away with one swift stroke of the pen.
The New Holy Warriors is a fascinating and eye-opening account of terrorism as viewed through the lives of ordinary citizens. Marc, his brother, and best friend are the vessels by which Sandoval delivers an amazing story readers will wish was just that–simply a story.
Pages: 373 | ASIN: B0784QR76B
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It is easy to forget that war torn countries are actually homes to some people. All I ever hear is of the fighters. I never hear of the people who watch beheadings happen so close to home. People who have gotten used to the smell of gunpowder. People who are no longer fazed by the sound of bullets cutting through the air. People whose mere presence amidst the chaos has made them parties in the war.
The Incidental Jihadi is a story about Len who later becomes Naim. Len is a geologist working at an oil exploration company. All is well with his family until he is sent on a risky exploration mission. A mission that will forever change the trajectory of his life and that of his family. He must liberate his family and therefore joins the war. He manages to sneak Omarm, his son, to safety. He cannot live in bliss though as he has to go back in for another try. Will he succeed in an endeavor that has little hope of success?
This is a very well told story full of excellent detail. You can almost smell the desperation and hatred in the air. You can feel the aggression. Samrat Mitra tells such a vivid account of events that the reader finds themselves plunged deep into the heart of war torn Middle Eastern locations. The reader will find themselves lost in a fight that very few understand anymore. A war whose collateral damage seems to be worsening with every line they read. It flows easily. In the author’s note at the back, Samrat says that this book is a depiction of actual events. The reader will be able to feel the air of reality, however unbelievable, in this story.
The author also seems to have a sober political mind. There is understanding of the political element of the events that take place. However, emotion seems to get away from him as he essentially calls some parties ignorant. Though somewhat truthful, it brings out the author’s passion and gives the book character.
This book may need some polishing but the passion and compelling plot overshadow whatever writing errors one might encounter. You will experience a cornucopia of emotions as this book delivers an alternative view that will urge you to think about a different aspect of the wars.
Pages: 333 | ASIN: B073R5GQTV
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Sanctuary is a fast paces post apocalyptic thriller where war envelopes the world and cities fall apart as anarchy reins and people start killing each other in the streets. What was your inspiration for the initial carnage and war that takes over the world and how does that push the development of the two main characters?
The inspiration was to write something that seemed plausible. The aim was to create a world where the reader would look at the news and wonder if what they were reading was fiction. So instead of having an easily detected outbreak of monsters or aliens, I wanted the process to be very insidious and start from the time that our characters figure out that something is going on. That’s also why there isn’t an omnipotent viewpoint and told from the character’s perspective. The goal was to have the reader right next to the characters and have the reader empathize with their decisions. The model I used was, unfortunately, modern civil war. Enemies are identified and rounded up. People cohere to the social structure that is still intact, put themselves in danger and go to work or school and cling to those they love. So I tried to make my characters realistic and let you see who they really are.
What I like about Sanctuary, and what sets it apart from other novels of it’s type, is that the main characters are minority women. Why did you feel that these characters were a better vehicle to move the story along in a post apocalyptic world?
To tell you the truth, that was probably subconscious. The original idea was just around JJ. I think I was frustrated seeing superficial formulaic women in the action genres. So I glued a few of my friends together and came up with her. Many of her lines are direct quotes. So imaging them in the story allowed me stay within character. Deeta was a logical choice because of the dietary issue, I actually didn’t come up with her until I started writing the opening sequence. I just decided to make her Kashmiri Hindu with a Muslim name. By doing this, she and her family had been marginalized even in their own country. As the story developed, I used her situation as I thought it would play out. When the characters took me into the story, I discovered they were just a little more cautious, more observant, suspicious than an average hero and that gave everything a lot more depth. Sadly, it also allowed me to realistically illustrate how our societies divide themselves along racial and predetermined prejudice under times of stress. That was not intentional when I started it, but if I wanted it to be believable, it had to go in.
There are a lot of modern issues weaved throughout the story, like; terrorism, internment camps, war in the middle east and Korea. What were some thing in the headlines today that made you think it would be a good fit for your story?
There is no shortage of headlines that could make it into the book. I could go to any of the news outlets and write five chapters. The Orlando shooting is probably the easiest, the the coup in Turkey, the stories coming out of the ISIS held territories, all of them could find a way in. But when I wrote this, I really tried to stay away from actual accounts. So instead of referencing a particular shooting or war crime, I wrote a scenario in a real setting where tensions are high. Then someone or a group of people would act out on those “what I’d really like to do” impulses. Then there would be the retaliation. Then I added random acts that would happen unpredictably without explanation. The scary part was that I really wasn’t that inaccurate.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be out?
I was asked to write a novella for a possible series about an assassin. This one was tough but turned out to be a lot of fun. This character is more imagination than anything else, but she was a ball to conjure up. After reading Sanctuary, a publisher asked me to write the story and for a minority woman to be the lead. And, as these things go, the people that asked for it may be getting out of the publishing business. So I’m shopping it around. The title is Siibay.
Deeta Nakshband, a Connecticut physician is attacked by a local surgeon while on duty in the hospital. Her friend, Janelle Jefferson, has similar experiences in Miami. Both of them become aware of an increasingly violent world as acts of isolated brutality escalate into civil unrest. They grapple with their paranoia as family members and coworkers become dangerously unpredictable. Worldwide, military units go rogue, war begins in Korea and cities implode as people slaughter each other in the streets. Martial law is declared in an attempt to maintain order. People are arrested, detainment camps are set up and interrogations end with tragic consequences as modern civilization crumbles. Deeta and Janelle band together with family friends and coworkers to save each other and find sanctuary.
Posted in Interviews
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