A beautifully made thriller set in Central Asia that evokes a world of subterfuge, potential chaos and nuance hovering just this side of disbelief.
Zack McClintock, an over-the-hill "security consultant," knows he isn't up to traveling to Central Asia in search of his kidnapped son-in-law. A group claiming to be Islamic fundamentalists has first demanded a million-dollar ransom, then suddenly offered to free the son-in-law if a deranged and feral local child, fallen into the hands of an American woman, is flown to the United States. Zack finds himself in a country teetering on the edge of anarchy, wracked by tribal and sectarian violence, but even he is surprised by how quickly things come apart. Threatened on all sides by deceit, betrayal, and random violence, Zack discovers that the greatest jeopardy originates in the human heart as he tries to understand whether he's being confronted with a last chance at salvation or just another enormous loss.
Shelter from the Storm is storytelling at its best. The timely plot, taut writing, and powerful characters make it a rare achievement.
The wolf boy, the wild child, the strange feral creature appeared early one spring as the iced-over streams started to crack and the blown snow on the steppes was melting. In that place whose history, in its most objective rendering, read like a conflation of myth, magic and madness, and where recent events were so turbulent and improbable that any future, or no future, seemed possible, each sign was seen as an omen of potential catastrophe.
The first villagers to spot him kept their distance and watched warily. These were mountain people. They lived with their livestock in huts--dank, cave-like and carved out of rock. Having just wakened from what amounted to months of winter hibernation, they imagined the boy to be a dream-memory or a lingering shade from the spirit world. It was the custom of their clan to butcher animals on feast days and dress the bloody carcasses in human clothing. Then they wrapped themselves in animal hides and cantered about disguised as beasts. ...
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Written with the pace and thrust of a thriller, this is a stunning intellectual adventure, a moral fable bursting with art, poetry, music, and profound philosophical insight.
A burned-out war correspondent hoping for a last hurrah in Afghanistan arrives on the Afghan border just as American bombs begin falling on the ruling Taliban in this fast-paced, timely, and galvanizing novel.
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