Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sigmund Brouwer's Thief of Glory ~ Reviewed

Thief of Glory: A Novel
by Sigmund Brouwer
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307446492


A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.
For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother. 

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength. 

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.



I have a confession. There are books I won't read. My list includes books I think will be sappy or cheesy, or one dimensional. I kind of avoid sci-fi/fantasy because I have enough trouble remembering the important details in the real world. Lastly, I avoid books set in times of war. Now. I also have this bizarre deep vein of melancholy that loves a book that indelibly etches itself on my soul through the characters and writing. That may be one of the reasons I avoid wartime novels. Sometimes those novels are just so painful to read, and without hope. 

Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail and discovered a copy of Sigmund Brouwer's latest novel and set it aside to read. I've read him before and I like his voice and the back cover description compelled me to hang onto it. I cracked the cover and was lost in a world that was brutal beyond understanding. A world that was as foreign to me as sci-fi is but a world that held a minute seed of hope and life in it's clutches. 

Brouwer's tale is inspired from the research he did into the lives of his parents and grandparents in the brutal setting of World War II. Jeremiah, 10 years old, already with an old soul, finds that he needs to grow into a man well before he should. A man who won't cry and will never give up. The conditions of his life are unbearable and horrific. I've always been shocked at how far evil will go. It seems that there should be a limit, some stopping point. But I guess that's the nature of evil and why the good news of Christ's sacrifice and offer of salvation is so very beautiful. 

The characterization in this novel is rich and vivid. Brouwer's writing is powerful. Jeremiah's story is hideously beautiful. War is hell, love is the antidote. Use caution if you are easily disturbed. There is brutality and horror of many kinds in this novel. But if you are on the lookout for a story where love triumphs and changes those it touches, pick up a copy.  

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

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