Monday, September 8, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About the Book:
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.
My Thoughts:
It’s the knife-edge moment when life on one side of the blade is most vivid because death on the other side of a razor-thin margin is so near.”  (p. 213)

Jeremiah Prins is only 10-years old when the Japanese usher him into a horrible series of knife-edged moments. In 1942 the Japanese ushered Dutch families into camps that were little more than a holding pen for folks waiting to die.  At least it seemed like every day was lived with a very vivid uncertainty that you would live to see another day.  Jeremiah’s story is told from a young man’s point of view, and most of the story retains the naïve innocence of youth, because the details that were witnessed by the young people simply didn’t have the understanding to process all that was happening around them.

However, Jerimiah’s mother understood only too well, and her existence within the camp was hell on earth as she lost one member of her family after another.  The things families had to do to survive were rather brutal.  What makes this tale painfully poignant is the fact that part of Jeremiah’s story is told from a place in his life where memory is failing and he is trying to make some sort of peace with his childhood memories while he retains enough cognizance to pass those memories on to the next generation.  The process of remembering and setting things right is as brutal  - in many ways – as the experiences of his childhood.

For me, Thief of Glory was a valuable lesson in, what was for me, a little known part of the terrors that were contained within the Second World War.  What really made this story come alive was to know that the story is based upon the lives of the author’s family members (specifically, his father). I will close with a statement that contains a life-truth that we can all carry forward with us:  “Against any horror that we may face in this world, and in the face of knowledge that for each of us time is a thief of glory, what matters most and what gives meaning to our lives and deaths is love and hope, if we are willing to share and accept.”  (p 319)  This is a significant and transformational story that I would recommend to everyone!

About the Author:
Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen novels with nearly three million copies in print. His recent novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC's Good Morning America. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.

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