Title – The Refugee
Author – S A Tameez
Genre – Thriller
Length – 279 Pages
Publication – August 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars
Aleppo, Syria, 2016 – a country in turmoil. Ahmed, a prominent university professor, is put on the run, narrowly escaping execution from both ISIS and Assad’s government. Ahmed has no choice but to take his wife and 10-year-old son and to flee the country illegally. But instead of finding refuge, Ahmed finds himself in a position far worse than being killed
The Refugee is the tale of Ahmed and his family in war-torn Syria. When the government decides Ahmed’s teachings to be a threat he must flee with his family or risked being killed.
The first part of the story where we get to know Ahmed and his family as they flee is very emotional to say the least. The characters and fears become real.
At one point the author really had the wind knocked from me and made me think back to real life events and the death of Alan Kurdi, who tragically drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
Things for Ahmed don’t go the way he would like, the refugees are looked at as the lowest of the low with only a few people actually being kind. The similarities with views towards refugees these days really made me think about the wider issues the world is facing and I found myself reflecting a lot.
After such an emotional heart punching start the book takes a turn to full thriller as Ahmed’s son disappears. There’s a frantic search but nothing turns up..Ahmed soon learns there’s more going on In this refugee camp than he first noticed and he sets out to right his wrongs.
Ahmed is a man torn, he feels like he’s failed everyone he was supposed to keep safe and he’s powerless to do anything about it.
As the search for his son continues you can see his mind deteriorate as he makes split second decisions with no concern for himself. He’s had his life.. he just needs to be able to give his son a future that’s all that matters,
The thriller aspect of the tale worked well, it was fast and fun with some good twists. Ahmed did get very lucky at times and the bread crumbs were there for him to follow but the actual outcome was never certain until the end and that made it an enjoyable read.
I honestly felt there’s two parts to the story, the emotional and thought-provoking tale of fleeing Syria followed by a fast paced action thriller. Each worked in its own right and mixed well enough but after reading the fast part of the book the second didn’t match my expectations…not so much in a bad way, just the author did so well in the first section of the book to get my emotions on edge and I wanted him to continue on that track to give me a gut wrenching read that would hit hard and make me cry. When you hit the second section your emotions are knocked out of the way with the fast paced and exciting action.
Overall I really enjoyed the book and I’m left in no doubt that the author is capable of writing to different styles. I’d like to see what he comes up with next to see what direction he takes.