I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
In the tradition of Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Zion Chronicles and history-meets-contemporary mysteries like those of bestseller Kate Morton, this WWII drama is both exciting in its revelations and heart-rending in its truth about human nature and forgiveness.
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 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.
The things that made Thief of Glory stand out amongst other WWII novels are the characters and the story. These characters are incredibly well made; to the point that many readers feel as if they made friends rather than just read a book. And the storyline is flawless. There is not a single thing that was overdone nor was it lacking in anything; the subplots were extremely well presented and solved and the main plot never failed to present surprises.
Because this book is set in WWII, there is plenty of violence and sexual content. The violence is not entirely war-related as you would expect, there aren’t bombings and things of this nature. The violence is in the beatings that the women receive in the camp that they are being held as prisoners. The young boys of the camp also get into fist fights that often result in broken bones, lots of blood, and name calling. All violence is fairly detailed and some scenes get very detailed to emphasis a certain point. The sexual content however, is hardly detailed at all because the book is written in first person through a 10 year old boy, thus the sexual content is what he overhears and sometimes even sees, though he doesn’t understand what is going on. He relates it in an innocent boyish way but you clearly get the true message of what happened.
Thief of Glory will pull at your heart-strings a bit with all of the heartache that happened to women and children during WWII. Because the story is told through the eyes of a young boy trying to be strong for his family, it is that much more emotional, but in addition to being emotional, it also has its funny moments. There is rivalry amongst the children, games to entertain them, and their innocent reasoning gives the book a lightness that keeps the book from totally depressing you.
All in all, Thief of Glory is a phenomenally written book that it is well worth the buy. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.