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5 Stars Out Of 5
Difficult subject but well written...
September 13, 2014
Set during WWII during the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Dutch East Indies, life changes for ten- year-old Jeremiah Prins quickly. When his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the family, Jeremiah finds himself the protector of his mother and younger siblings in the concentration camp. Through fear, faith, love, hope and marbles, Jeremiah must grow up and face coming of age in very difficult situations
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As the author of many, many books, Sigmund Brouwer is still a new author to me. Not an easy read by any means, Thief of Glory was so well written, I found myself cringing, grimacing and cheering for the characters as the pages turned. A mixture of fact and fiction, it was a piece of history I never realized but will now never forget. I found the perspective of first-person writing to be extremely effective in this book as well as the continuation of the marble playing/ collecting throughout the story. Based on the personal relationship of his parents, Sigmund Brouwer drives the story straight to the heart. (Just as a word of cautionsome difficult content may be intense for some readers.)
4.5 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of Thief of Glory from WaterBrook Press/ Blogging for Books for my honest review*
Wow . . . I have no adequate words. Thief of Glory is a powerful read. Its the kind of book that leaves you pondering for days, trying to grasp it all. The last seventy pages, give or take a few, were unexpected. The last five held yet one more heart-wrenching twist. Id have to call this book a triumphant tragedy.
The main character is an elderly man, Jeremiah Prins, recalling the years of his life spent in a Japanese internment camp for Dutch women and children unfortunate enough to be living in the Dutch East Indies during World War II. Separated from his father and older brothers and with an emotionally ill mother, 10-year-old Jeremiah suddenly finds himself the protector of and provider for his family: mother, younger sisters, and youngest brother. Jeremiah turns out to be one feisty and determined kid, a hero to most everyone inhabiting the Jappenkamp.
Like all heroes, he has allies (Sophie, Dr. Eikenboom, and Adi), a nemesis or two or three, and one enduring love. And the Thief of Glory will turn out to be Jeremiahs fiercest enemy. I was alternately captivated and mortified as I read through each scene of this book. Having lived in the Netherlands for a time, I enjoyed learning more about that country's history and role in World War II. I plan to recommend this book to my husband and son; I think theyll both appreciate the quality of this read.
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Thief of Glory for my honest review. I am thankful they gave me the opportunity to read this book.
A gripping heart stopping novel that will leave you breathless by the end!
September 3, 2014
There comes some novels that are so rare and deep that when you finish them, you are left as though you have no breath left in your body. As if you are reliving something so horrible, you wish it were all simply a bad dream. But this is not the case with a different type of christian historical novel from Sigmund Brouwer, Thief of Glory and it is definitely a story of unspeakable horrors that occurred for one boy and his family that lived during the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Dutch East Indies during WWII. For me, it was a story I had never heard nor could never imagine, but know that stories like these have happened and have never been told except to close family members.
I caution the reader, it is not for the faint of heart and the horrors described as a young boy, Jeremiah Prins and his younger brother and sisters, along with his mother are moved to a concentration camp when the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies islands, which is present day Indonesia. When Jeremiah's father and older brothers are taken, his father firmly reminds him that it is his responsibility now to take care of what remains of the family. Jeremiah has grown up a bit unique in never learning to fear anything, never to cry and to always let the first fight be initiated by someone else. They will always need to hit first. But Jeremiah is also smart beyond his years when he is able to converse like someone much older and wiser and that often takes his opponents by surprise, not knowing if he is serious or simply stalling for time.
Jeremiah's passion is marbles, one he takes great pride in adding to his growing collection through his many games with the children in the neighborhood and subsequently in the camp when he is detained there. It is his only connection to a normal life while living someplace that most would simply refer to as hell. Outside the fenced enclosure, life continues on as normal while all the Dutch people are rounded up by the Japanese. The leaders of the camp, known as Jappenkamp, know that in order to maintain a sense of control, certain restrictions are necessary, from keeping people in overcrowded conditions, keeping food rations at the point of keeping the people from starving at first, and convincing them all that anything less than respect for the leaders will result in punishment of their mothers, no matter if the disrespect came from the adult or child.
It is a chilling reminder of the horrors some had to endure just to survive a war in which they were not involved with directly but simply based on their race.
I received Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions here are strictly my own. I can't imagine how far someone would have to be pushed in order to survive and what you would have had to do, just to make it through the next day. By the time you get to the final page of the novel you gain a full understanding that things you witness are not always as they appear and that those who endured spending time in concentration camps are our true survivors and heroes! This is not for younger readers, due to the content of what the novel deals with in very realistic terms, about how one boy and his family had to survive in some of the worst circumstances. If this were a movie, I believe it would be rated R due to the subject matter much like Schindler's List. However with that being said, we can't hide that these things happened simply by refusing to read about them or hear about them and I believe this one deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can help but feel as though you, yourself, were locked behind the fences right alongside Jeremiah and that to me, is an earmark of an exceptional writer.
Focusing on the Pacific theater of WWII, Sigmund Brouwer tells the coming-of-age story of a boy whose life is forever tainted by war. Ten-year-old Jeremiah Prin's life of privilege crashes to a halt the day the Japanese take over the Dutch East Indies. With his father and older brothers taken away by the Japanese, Jeremiah becomes head of the family, taking care of his fragile mother and younger siblings as they are forced into an internment camp. Amidst starvation, disease, and death, Jeremiah uses all his cunning to keep his family alive and together, but he cannot control their futures. The war marks everyone, hardening some and breaking others. But how hard can a child become before it hardens him forever?
As in most instances when an author has a tangible connection to their story, this tale exudes passion. Like Jeremiah's father, Brouwer's grandfather became one of over ten thousand of victims of the Burma railway, while the rest of the family was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp. Though the tales diverge from there, one can feel the author's heart for those who endured the atrocities.
This book takes place in an interment camp - a place of abuse, death, and little hope. To balance the moments of horror, there are moments of true inspiration - inspiration to be strong and fight, regardless of the consequences - not for personal gain or safety, but to protect those weaker than oneself. To be able to stand on the judgement day, knowing one chose right. Sophie Jansen is a brilliant example of this selflessness - would that we could all be like her!
Thief of Glory is a unique piece of christian historical fiction in more ways than one. The majority of the story feels like it is being told from a ten-year-old boy's perspective, although we find out later it is an old man recounting his memories of the war. Though there is a faint touch of romance, it is not remotely the focus of the story. And unlike most christian fiction, it is not a feel-good book. There are moments of humor, triumph, and inspiration, but this bittersweet novel is more haunting than uplifting, leaving the reader aching for the characters and the real people who endured such trials.
So be warned: if you're looking for a romance, a fluffy story to brighten your day, an escape from trials - don't read this book. But if you want a book to challenge you, to paint you an unvarnished picture of what war can do, to warm you yet haunt you for days to come - then yes, absolutely read this book.
Thank you Blogging for Books for providing a free book for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.