Source: ARC I requested from the publisher
Back Cover Description:
Land of the Free . . . Home of the Brave
Kabul, 2001—American forces have freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. Kites have returned to the skies. Women have removed their burqas. There is dancing in the streets.
Eight years later, Afghanistan is a far cry from those first images of a country freed from Taliban rule. When Special Forces veteran Steve Wilson returns to Kabul as security chief to the minister of interior, he is disillusioned with the corruption and violence that has overtaken the country he fought to free. Relief worker Amy Mallory arrives in Afghanistan ready to change the world. She soon discovers that as a Western woman, the challenges are monumental. Afghan native Jamil returns to his homeland seeking work, but a painful past continues to haunt him.
All three are searching for truth and freedom when a suicide bombing brings them together on Kabul's dusty streets. But what is the true source of freedom—and its cost?
Veiled Freedom is a Christian contemporary fiction book. It has some romantic elements, but it's not a romance. It has moments of great suspense (and could easily have been a suspense book), but it doesn't fit that genre either. Basically, it's a well-written fiction book that gives the reader an excellent idea of what life is currently like in Afghanistan.
The book was clearly well-researched. The world-building was excellent, making life in Afghanistan come alive in my imagination. The pacing was good though generally a bit slower than most modern novels. The characters were interesting and realistic.
There were three main characters, but I cared the most about Jamil and the secondary native characters. I rarely felt that Amy or Steve personally had much at stake; they generally wouldn't lose much if they failed. I was most engaged by the locals, who could easily lose everything--even their life--if they, Amy, or Steve failed. I wish more of the story had been from Jamil's viewpoint, but that may be a personal preference.
Religion (both Christian and Muslim) played a major role behind how several of the characters acted. Amy was conflicted about wishing to share her Christian faith when she knew anyone she converted could die for it, and many of the Muslim characters' actions came from their religious beliefs.
There were a lot of acronyms and military jargon in the story, but the author continued to remind the reader of what they meant. Any difficulties in remembering what they referred to didn't last for long.
There was no sex, and I don't recall any cussing. Overall, the book was enjoyable and very informative. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to know what's going on in Afghanistan right now. I'd rate this book "good, clean fun."
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
November 13, 2001
"Land of the free and the home of the brave."
The radio's static-spattered fanfare filtered through the compound wall. Beyond its shattered gate, a trio of small boys kicked a bundle of knotted rags around the dirt courtyard. Had they any idea those foreign harmonies were paying homage to their country's latest invaders?
Or liberators, if the rumors and the pirated satellite television broadcasts were true.
Scrambling the final meters to the top of the hill, he stood up against a chill wind that tugged at his light wool vest and baggy tunic and trousers. Bracing himself, he turned in a slow, stunned revolution.
From this windswept knoll, war's demolition stretched as far as his eye could see. Bombs and rockets had left only heaps of mud-brick hovels and compound walls. The front of an apartment complex was sheared off, exposing the cement cubicles of living quarters. The collapse of an office building left its floors layered like a stack of naan bread. Rubble and broken pavement turned the streets into obstacle courses.
But it wasn't the devastation that held him spellbound. So it was all true--the foreign newscasts, the exultant summons that had brought him back, his father's dream. Kabul was free!
Read the rest of chapter one.