Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is historical fiction centered around WWII. The blurb talks about love amidst the internment camp, and it sounds like this really good story. But trust me, it's not... Buyer beware this shouldn't be considered a Christian book in any sense of the word. It's different but not in a good way.
When Jeremiah Prins is ten, the Japanese take over the Dutch East Indies. They force Jeremiah, his mother, and his three younger siblings into a camp where they have to learn how to survive with limited food and medicine. The Japanese control the camp with an iron grip leaving it's prisoners scared for their lives. But the Dutch don't give up easily....
Later Jeremiah finds his first love, Laura, in the camps. Life seems better with her as his friend and together they do daring things to help their families survive. Life takes a drastic turn when Jeremiah starts noticing something wrong with his mother.
This is my first read from this author, and I was impressed by his writing skill, but the story wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. Usually you cheer with and like the main character, but I didn't like him at all. He was detached, mean, vindictive, and superior. I felt for all they went through at the Japanese internment camp, but for supposedly being a Christian story there was nothing Christian except for mentioning the Bible and hymns. Plus, there were a lot of thematic elements like some cursing, vulgarity, sensual topics, and violence especially at the beginning where it shocks you and makes you immediately dislike him.
I am used to reading WWII, nonfiction and fiction, so I know the evilness surrounding these places, but this story was just so dark with no redemptiveness to it at all. Even the ending was so strange and weird. The last chapters were poorly written, confusing, and made you dislike Jeremiah even more if possible. In my opinion, Jeremiah was just evil. They try to say he did it all for "good" reasons, but doing bad for a good end result is just as bad as doing wrong all the way. The story ends with him asking for mercy, but I would rather hear the author come right out and say he got saved. This book felt like such a waste. I will not be reading any of his books again.
I was given this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Jeremiah Prims' world was ordered and predictable until war came. His life in the Dutch East Indies was one of privilege until Japan invaded. When his father and older brothers were taken away, ten year old Jeremiah is left with the responsibility of caring for and protecting his mother, two younger sisters, and his little brother.
But the true test comes when the family is taken to one of the Jappenkamps... As they struggle to survive the harsh conditions of living in a concentration camp they manage to find some small joys and friendships to sustain and support them. But all too soon choices have to be made, choices that have consequences that must be lived with.
This is Jeremiah's story. A story of pain and suffering. A story of courage and fear. A story of survival. This story will move you to tears. And it is time for Jeremiah to share it and the horrifying truths that have shaped him into the man he has become. Take a look back as Jeremiah shares a childhood lost...
Thief of Glory looks at a period of history during World War II that many are unfamiliar with. This is history that was barely acknowledged much less taught in history class. I have to be honest I did a little internet research and was shocked at the number of Jappenkamps that were listed as having been in existence.
Humanity's lust for power and supremacy is not a virtue and is, in fact, often the catalyst for even greater evils against those who share this world. Some of the incidents in this book are disturbing and not appropriate for younger readers in my opinion.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.
Thief of Glory, by Sigmund Brouwer, tells the story of a ten-year-old Dutch boy growing up in the Dutch East Indies during World War II. Brower vividly describes life in this part of the world through this novel, most of which is set in one of the Jappenkamps, where civilian women and children were held during the war.
Jeremiah Prins spent the first ten years of his life as the son of the school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies. But when the Japanese invade the Southeast Pacific in 1942, his life changes drastically. After watching his father and older brothers being taken away by the soldiers, he finds himself caring for his younger siblings and devastated mother. At the camp, he forms a strong friendship with Laura, and together they find creative ways to survive the starvation and sickness.
I found this book interesting. I did not know that the Japanese had this type of camp before I read this book. It began as the story of a happy, privileged boy. The remainder was filled with vivid descriptions of life in the camp and Jeremiahs fight to help his family and friends survive. I would recommend this book for older teens or adults with an interest in World War II events.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is a novel but very much based on factual events that happened in the author's grandpa's life and others who lived with him or helped the people survive as a Japanese concentration camp survivor during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies now know as the Island of Java. The story is also told of the heroics which happened as every day life in the Jappenkamp. It tells of those who were thought of as traitors who it is later found were actually saviors of the many Dutch and American women and children forced to live and many to die in the camp. The men and older male children had already been taken into forced labor and many died in that fashion either worked or starved to death. The story follows the life of Jeremiah and his family. Jeremiah and his little brother Pietje were the only survivors of this very large Dutch family. This story does not tell a pretty story. The survivors had to do many things for which they were later ashamed in order to survive. This book tells of great sacrifice as well as the corruption that happens during war. It is a difficult read but one must know history or we will be descended to repeat it.
Most of history and even novels tell the story of World War II as if the entire war was fought in Europe. This novel tells the story of the war fought in Burma. I am grateful to this author for telling this story. My father in law fought in the Burma part of World War II and he says that most don't even know of all that happened there. It is the forgotten part of the war. This story needs to be read by all. Most of us do not know why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and this tells in part of why it was so important to them to destroy our military.
This book was provided for this review by Waterbrook Press.
The only thing I knew to expect when diving into Thief of Glory was that I knew the story telling was going to be superb and the writing would capture me up. What I didn't know much about were the prison camps that were set up in the Dutch East Indies during WW2. I got a bit of a history lesson and a desire to look up more. I will admit, I focused a lot of attention to the issues of Europe and hadn't thought about what else was going on in the world at this time. My goodness, how this story brought the view around.
I just have to say right off, if I had a son like Jeremiah, I would be the proudest mother ever. Talk about a smart kid! He knew how things worked and could make them work to his advantage. As it said in the book, he was a kid who would never lose a fight. He didn't win them, but he didn't lose, because he never gave up. Jeremiah was a kid with guts and he needed it for everything he faced in this book.
The prison camps that the Japanese set up weren't the death camps that the Nazi's built, but they were rough. Women were on their own with their children to take care of, while the men and their older sons were taken to build railways until they fell over dead. It was a depressing time, but how Jeremiah figures out to survive and help his family was brilliant. His friendship with Laura was also a bright spot in this book. Jeremiah was a young boy in love and he and Laura had the same desire, to help those that they love. Sadly though, Jeremiah and Laura's adversary's weren't just the Japanese guards, it was also another kid about their age, Georgie, who was bound and determined to ruin Jeremiah. He was a rat of a kid who loved to have power. I hate to say it, but the kid got what was coming to him in the book. He was a selfish boy that didn't seem to care that the world was at war.
This book brought out the emotions, mainly anger (not the bad kind) and sadness and also that of disbelief. The twist at the end left me speechless. I didn't see it coming. I was floored, but as I thought about everything leading up, their were signs.
There is a realness to Sigmund Brouwer's writing. He brings you in and lets you see what is going on. He doesn't tell you. I was forced to set this book down a couple of times by things going on, but I could pick it right back up and be dropped back in without missing a beat.
Thank you to Blogging For Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.