Friday, May 21, 2010

Tea & Read: Blood Ransom

Title: Blood Ransom
Author: Lisa Harris
Rating: Two cups of tea

Natalie Sinclair is working to eradicate the diseases decimating whole villages in the Republic of Dhambizao when she meets Dr. Chad Talcott, a surgeon on sabbatical from a lucrative medical practice now volunteering at a small clinic.

Meanwhile, things are unraveling in Dhambizao. Joseph Komboli returns to his village to discover rebel soldiers abducting his family and friends. Those that were too old or weak to work lay motionless in the African soil. When Chad and Natalie decide to help Joseph expose this modern-day slave trade—and a high-ranking political figure involved in it—disaster nips at their heels.

Where is God in the chaos? Will Chad, Natalie, and Joseph win their race against time?

It’s not everyday that you find a CBA book about such difficult subject. The human slave trade is a real occurrence and so this book gets cool points simply for tackling such a horrific subject. Harris doesn’t give us the sugary, dressed-up version of the slave trade. She makes it realistic and I appreciate that.

The novel introduces us to Chad and Natalie, both doing humanitarian work in Dhambizao. Both struck me as authentic, God-fearing people. I like the way they struggled with their decisions to do humanitarian work, and their feelings of being overwhelmed with the needs they witnessed. But I did have a problem seeing them swept up into such a huge adventure like they had. I had to suspend my disbelief, but once I did, the story swept me away.

Harris does a wonderful job of drawing you into the setting of the story. I felt like I’d been transported to Africa. Harris’ descriptions of the landscape are incredible. She also does a great job of portraying the helplessness and fear of the citizens of Dhambizao. Their plight definitely tugged on my heart strings even though they are not real people.

The reason this book did not receive the top rating is that I lost track of the characters several times. I had a hard time remembering which person did what and often had to go back and reread sections of the book. I’m not sure how Harris could have clarified who did what, but that fact did slow down the reading a bit. Flow is very important to me as a reader, so I have a hard time enjoying novels that cause me to go backwards. But for those who don’t mind that fact, this novel is for you.

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