| Book Review |
Absolution – P.A. Davies

 

From the atrocities during the Sudan’s second Civil War, a man whose family has been slaughtered save for his sister is on a desperate quest to find her

ABSOLUTION is a cleverly plotted thriller in which we are witness to the atrocities of civil war in the Sudan in the nineties – and go even further back in time to the horrors of WWII which prove to be the ideal foundation for a man’s pure evilness. The various storylines culminate in modern day London, but in what way, we do not know until the very last pages…

| Introduction |

Jada Artoli witnesses the slaughter of almost everyone in his Kuku village in South Sudan. From his hiding place, he saw how his father and mother were brutally murdered and his sister taken away by a cruel militia under General Ode Tombura. Feeling desperate for not having done anything to stop the vicious murderers, Jada knows only of one way to gain absolution: to rescue his sister. That one horrible event caused the sixteen-year-old boy to become an adult in a matter of hours, leaving behind the innocence of his youth forever. His life is not worth living except for finding his sister and bringing her to safety. Absolution. Will Jada ever receive it? Will he find his sister – is she still alive?

| Storyline |

After the militia is gone, leaving the village a smoking ruin, Jada is in total shock. As much as he is terrified, he is also angry with himself for having done nothing, having watched in hiding even as his little sister was taken away by those cruel men. Jada is determined to make amends, to receive absolution and the only way absolution will be granted is when he can bring his sister into safety. He walks and walks until he arrives at another devastated village. The horrors he encounters will lead him to his prison cell. Is it fate that he meets Inspector Deng? Inspector Deng had been forced to accept a position, far away from his family, when his wife and children were tragically killed in an accident. The outbreak of the second Sudanese Civil War caused Deng to have to work with the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) militia in command and he knows, to survive he must “keep his head down … jumping when told to jump.’ He feels torn as the atrocities the SPLA accuses others of are, in fact, committed by themselves. Again, fate intervenes when Deng crosses paths with Jada…

Years later, a man is attacked in London. An old man by the name of Alfred Harris whose ‘native German tongue’ hints at a German past – a dark and sordid past. Another World War, the second and Alfred, or Ernst, his given name, rises to fame within Hitler’s elite army. Unspeakable acts that never must be forgotten – innocent lives that never should have been lost. Now, in 1993 London, Alfred seems a frail old man, attacked by a vicious black youth. His rescuer is a man yet unknown but soon to be the hero of the papers: Martin Bryson. Later, he wished he would not have intervened. But he did and now, he is caught in the middle of sinister games, people who tell him opposite sides of a poignant life story filled with tragedy, horrific events and dark criminals who find ways to profit amidst wars, who are utterly devoid of empathy and have lost their moral compass a long time ago. Who to believe and who to help? What to uncover and who to hold responsible? Is it even possible to undo such cruelty or make any kind of amends to those who have suffered? How to find absolution?

| My Thoughts | 

The intriguing title of this thriller, Absolution, seems to refer to a theological concept but Sudan’s violent history, the topic of civil war and boy soldiers, and the cruelty inflicted on so many innocent victims show us that this is about the despicable acts of mankind – religion is only used as a miserable excuse to enable torture and murder. Young boys drilled to become boy soldiers, killers with no will of their own, no sense of right and wrong. How can a society condone this – stand by and do nothing? How can we find these boys guilty when their youth is brutally taken from them when they had no choice whatsoever in what they become in life? Jada is an exceptional character, he feels he has disappointed his father. His guilt determines his actions and his life and the only way to find absolution is to save his sister.

After the shocking events in the Prologue, the story developed from a novel within a historical setting to a fast-paced thriller where no one is who he seems and the truth is always lurking somewhere in the shadows. That makes Absolution a multi-layered powerful thriller exploring the harrowing consequences of the atrocities of war and despicable actions, of innocent people finding themselves in situations beyond their control, of keeping your moral integrity whilst in history’s darkest hour. If we keep silent when crimes against humanity are committed, are we not all in need of absolution? If we refuse to interfere when innocent lives are at stake, what does that say about us? This intriguing and compelling novel makes you ponder these issues long after you have closed the book.

| About the Author |

P.A. Davies Author Image

P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester and lives there still as he loves the multi-cultural, modern city. After having “dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories” the author started his writing career in 2009 resulting in his first novel Letterbox  (2012), a fictional tale on the 1996 IRA bombing of Manchester. In the author’s words thus “the writing bug became firmly embedded” within him. A memorable encounter with one of Manchester’s homeless resulted in this book, George: a Gentleman of the Road (my review). The author’s third novel The Good in Mister Philips (2014) is something completely different, an erotic novel, and Nobody Heard Me Cry (2015) tells the story based on facts, of Manchester’s darker side.

| Book Info |

Buy from Amazon US Icon  Buy from Amazon UK Icon

Paperback  355 pages
 Publisher  MJD Publishing (24 Oct 2017)
 ISBN  978-0957263987
 eBook  1363 KB
 ASIN  B075W8KLZ9

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