Beautifully written, extraordinarily powerful. The ultimate Valentine gift for lovers the world over!
The college-dropout son of an American professor and a Syrian mother who fled her home country, Robert Frost has two primary enemies: the US Army for unfairly dismissing him and the Syrian regime for destroying his mother’s family during the 1982 Hama uprising. Worse still, his wife has left him, taking their two daughters with her.
Frost becomes Iftikar, a mercenary, and accepts a high-paying mission to destabilize Syria and topple its regime. Unaware of the complexity of Syria and the treacherous plots of his mysterious employers, he hopes the money will help him win back his family. As he moves through Syria on a journey of mayhem, he finds himself in Palmyra, the oldest oasis on the Silk Road; the Byzantine citadel in Aleppo; the marijuana fields of Beqaa Valley; the world’s largest restaurant in Damascus; the seafarers’ island of Arwad; and Russia’s only naval base in the Middle East, Tartous. Will Iftikar’s actions pave the way to democracy in Syria or enthrone new masters?
Much more than a serviceable thriller, King Pawn by author Raj Nellooli is one of those rare, all too plausible and engrossing stories that sorely needed telling. Set against the backdrop of the current Syrian war, Nellooli’s source material is so dense and intricate you can’t help but be impressed from the start. With an intricate multi layered plot, he writes in seductive prose that rapidly creates an emotional connection with his characters. Frost in particular benefits from a powerful and engaging backstory whilst his character is thoughtfully nuanced to solicit genuine empathy for him. It doesn’t matter what your world view is, Nellooli simply does a superb job of illustrating how politics and the machinations of power often act against the best interests of the average citizen. On this level it makes for an often harrowing read and there are times when it feels less like fiction and more an astute precise account of world events. Its message is clear and the reader is reminded that all actions have consequences which are often many years in the making.
A highly engaging and unnervingly authentic thriller, King Pawn is sure to find an enthusiastic following amongst fans of this ever popular genre whilst generating much interest in future releases from Nellooli. It is highly recommended.
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