Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Review: Sacred Tears by Roderic Grigson

1982 and Sami is far from home, trapped in war-torn Beirut, a city under siege by the Israelis. All he wants is to go home to his family in Sri Lanka but in order to stay alive he must learn to kill. David, a captain in the Sri Lankan army, is sent to the steamy jungles in the north of the country as punishment for an indiscretion and is thrown into the brutal insurrection by militant separatist Tamil Tigers. As civil war erupts in Sri Lanka and tears this once peaceful nation apart, David's love, the beautiful Priyani makes a difficult choice and the paths of these two men cross on opposing sides of the struggle. They must plumb the depths of their courage and question their beliefs about right and wrong. Sacred Tears, the first in a trilogy, is a powerful and evocative depiction of Sri Lanka's great beauty and recent tumultuous history. It will take you inside the story of this ancient nation and into the heart of a gripping human struggle.

Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 25th 2013 by Authorhouse
Terri's Thoughts:     

I received a copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

Upon initially starting the book I did not know what to think.  I know very little about Lebanon and Sri Lanka and their struggles and this is what the book centralizes around.  I found it difficult to keep track of the individual groups and causes.  I also struggled with the multiple combat scenes.


Good things come to those who wait.  As I progressed through the story I found that it was less about the conflicts and combats and more about the circumstances that cause people to travel down the paths they take.  I liked the fact that Grigson did not focus on whose cause was right or wrong or force the reader to choose a side.  He focused on the personal story of Sami and David and how sometimes their choices are not their own.  Although Sami and David were on opposing sides they were both extremely likeable characters.  I was drawn in to the story and my initial doubts were soon forgotten.

This also gave me an opportunity to learn more about a region that I am not well educated on.  Although the story is fictional it still created a backdrop on which to learn.  I am glad I had the opportunity to read this story and knowing that it is a trilogy I look forward to the next installment.

About the Author

Roderic Grigson was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and lived there until he was twenty-one. Rod’s family were Burghers, descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonials who ruled the island nation for 450 years. His Scottish grandfather worked for the British before independence and was responsible for managing all Government-owned guest houses in the country.

Rod felt he had no prospects in a country which had become a socialist state run by Sinhalese Nationalists. With the help of a distant cousin, he left Sri Lanka and with ten dollars in his pocket entered the United States on a tourist visa. In New York he obtained a short term job at the United Nations Headquarters, processing documents on the night shift for the Annual General Assembly Conference. Later, with his visa about to expire, was offered a permanent job in the UN Department of Conference Services, where he worked for the next twelve years.

After studying at New York University he joined the UN Technological Innovations team developing French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese language programs on computers and implementing office information systems in UN offices around the world. For a two-year period in the late 1970s he volunteered to join the UN Peacekeeping Forces serving on the Suez Canal during the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty and in South Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.

Soon after returning to New York from the Middle East, Rod met and married a Tamil girl from Jaffna who worked for the UN Conference on Trade and Development. In the late 1980s Rod and Menaka left their jobs at the UN in New York to migrate to Australia. The year they arrived in Melbourne, they bought a home in a leafy south-eastern suburb of Melbourne where their son Eric was born and where they still live.


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