Thief of Glory
Published by WaterBrook Press
0307446492 (ISBN13: 9780307446497)
…A boy coming of age in a time of war
…the love that inspires him to survive
In the early 1940s, Jeremiah Prins was a 12-year-old living a content life as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). When Holland declared war on the Japanese in 1941, the situation changed swiftly. The Japanese army invaded, and Jeremiah and his family were placed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp-a camp
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.
Jeremiah finally escapes and returns to Holland. Yet wartime complications force him to abandon a marriage engagement with Laura Jensen. The young man flees to California, where he struggles with the lingering anger and war stress he faced as a child.
Determined to find some kind of redemption, a now-elderly Jeremiah tries to make sense of his life by journaling of all that he does not want to reveal to his children about his past, intending to leave his writings as an apology after he is gone.
An online encounter puts Jeremiah in touch with his true love from the war years, Laura, and when they meet again, it triggers the time bomb of long-buried secrets. Even seventy years later, if uncovered, these secrets can harm everyone who matters to Jeremiah.
About the author
Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels, with close to 4 million books in print. Based on his inspiration for Thief of Glory, which Sigmund wrote as a way to learn and honor the his parent’s stories, especially of his father’s boyhood in a Japanese concentration camp, Sigmund leads The Chapters of Our Lives memoir seminars across the United States and Canada. (www.thechaptersofourlives.com). Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.
Find out more at sigmundbrouwer.com.
My review: 4.5/ 5
I love WWII fiction and was looking forward to reading to this book, and read it straight through, but have taken a long while to review it.
The novel is written from Jeremiah, the main character’s point of view, and this made the story very personal.
Jeremiah’s spirit, his intelligence and his ability to take responsibility for his mother and siblings is praise worthy. He displays great bravery in his willingness to risk his life to save his family.
Given the subject, the horrors that the Dutch experienced at the hands of the Japanese, this was not an easy read. However, the way the literary nature of the writing made me smile too.
There were times that Jeremiah had to be cunning and mean and his character and choices made me uncomfortable. Not hero material, you would think? But that’s what such horrible circumstances will do to any one. And the fact that the author chose to include these parts, makes the characters more human and believable.
To quote Jeremiah:
“To tell our story makes us human, and to be human is to tell our story.”
The fact that looking back at the past, he is able to let go of the terrible memories and bad choices and know that something good came out of these experiences, made the story a redemptive one for me.
Disclaimer: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” I would like to state that I received a copy of “Thief of Glory” from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review