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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House Congo Dawn - eBook

Tyndale House Congo Dawn - eBook

Average Customer Rating:
4.417 out of 5
4.4
 out of 
5
(24 Reviews) 24
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Rating Snapshot (24 reviews)
5 stars
16
4 stars
4
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
1
21 out of 2488%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Congo Dawn - eBook
Review 1 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Gripping suspense: betrayal, murder, greed, love

Date:August 21, 2013
Customer Avatar
luvs to cook
Location:Virginia Beach, VA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Robin Duncan agrees to work as a translator on a security team to protect mining operations in the Congo in order to provide money for her niece's operation. She never expected to meet Dr. Michael Stewart whom she had loved in Afghanistan when she and her brother Chris had served there together. It was Michael who had taken Chris in a medivac helicopter to a hospital before she was also hit and airlifted to a hospital. By the time Robin recovered enough to inquire, she learned her brother was dead, Michael had been sent stateside and she never heard from him again. But one of the first friends she made in the Congo on arriving there was Michael's sister, Miriam, who was married to an African doctor. And through Miriam Robin learned that Michael himself had been badly injured as the chopper they were on had been hit as they were lifting off and her brother had died. It was actually her father's fault that she never heard from Michael as he hadn't been allowed to speak to her and her father destroyed his letters. Miriam also heard a voice sounding like Robin who said Michael was never to call again, but it wasn't Robin. Miriam and Robin became close friends. It was Miriam who taught her how to have peace and joy in spite of circumstances and to rely on God for help. Miriam also gave her a Bible that gave her the courage to stand up to her boss and send the messages that would bring crucial help when it looked like evil would destroy Michael. What did Ephraim explain was his deepest prayer? Who was everyone blaming for all the problems and how was he managing to survive? How did they prepare to defend their last stronghold? How was Robin's niece able to have the necessary operation? Who was the real villain and how was he defeated?
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Review 2 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 20, 2013
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Cassandra
Location:Maine
Age:18-24
Gender:female
I loved this book! The story itself was fascinating, and it also served as a reminder that God is always in control, and His plans are so much better than our own.
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Review 3 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Gripping story

Date:August 20, 2013
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Pauline
Location:Muscatine, IA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Congo Dawn is a gripping story set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Good and evil come into conflict in a variety of ways, and one major theme is that it’s not always clear which side is which. Finding the courage to do what is right is another, as well as forgiveness for past wrongs.
The reader also learns some of the history of the Congo, as well as its current political and economic problems. Neither the moral nor history lessons, however, overshadow a well-told story that keeps increasing in suspense.
There is one chapter, in the latter part of the book, where the action slows down briefly for an extended discussion of how God brings good out of suffering. I enjoy books that discuss ideas as well as tell a great story, and it’s a lesson relevant to everyone. I just hope readers with less patience for such discussions won’t rush through it, eager to get on with the action.
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Review 4 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Okay

Date:August 16, 2013
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Virginia
Location:upstate NY
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Robin Duncan, former Marine, works as a translator for an international corporation. Her team is sent to the Congo and she discovers a conspiracy involving a mining operation. She doesn't know who to trust and must rely on God.
I thought the story was good, but had a hard time getting into it. About one third of the way through, the storyline was more interesting to me, and I'm glad I finished the book.
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Review 5 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wow! What a book!

Date:August 16, 2013
Customer Avatar
Kris
Location:Fairfax, VA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wow! What a book! Not for the fainthearted but contains quite a lesson on forgiveness. It did take me a little while to get into the book and figure out what was happening but then I was riveted. A few years ago I would have thought this to be way too far fetched with all the killings and brutalities which occur in the book or are referenced as past events, but I know these things have occurred in Rwanda and Uganda. So, unfortunately, this seems all too real and possible that it could occur in the Congo darkness. Yet, through the events, God's light continues to shine, giving peace to those who allow it. Robin was a great character, immersed in her job, yet wanting to help her family.
+1point
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Review 6 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 8, 2013
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Nancy P
Location:Los Angeles
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The only criticism I might muster for this book would be that I had a hard time not reading all day till I finished the book! There was suspense, mystery, and a touch of romance, as well as a thread of true hope woven throughout. This wasn't a light summer read, but was a very enjoyable book that provided lots to think about. The themes of hope through suffering, and the purpose of trials gave the book more value than just a good story.
+1point
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Review 7 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 6, 2013
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Jessica Bates
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
From the publisher's website: "While former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption or conspiracy, she has always been able to tell the good guys from the bad, and the Congo jungle at first seems no different. But as her security team tries to track down an insurgent killer, Robin has to face a man who broke her trust years ago, and she discovers the gray areas extend farther in this jungle wilderness than she anticipated.
A ruthless global conspiracy begins to surface, run by powerful men who can’t afford to leave any witnesses. Her life at stake, Robin doesn’t know who to trust and wonders how she can help protect innocent people. Why is God silent amid all the pain and injustice? And how do these people of faith continue to rejoice in their suffering?"
I thought that this book was alright. I think that my only real criticism is that the subject matter didn't appeal to me. I felt that it was well written and the character were relatable and well developed. I like the details and I felt like the author set the scenes very well, I just didn't really get that "into" the book because of the subject matter. It just doesn't interest me. I do recommend reading it though. I am glad I did.
0points
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Review 8 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:July 15, 2013
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lcjohnson1988
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Congo Dawn is a thrilling adventure set in the contemporary Congo Rainforest. The author shows her knowledge of the area and people through her real life experience of growing up in a similar setting in Columbia. Her firsthand view adds much to the details of the story. The plot and dialogue are spot-on and very interesting.
Robin Duncan is an ex-marine now under contract to Ares Solutions, Inc., a private security firm. She is employed as a translator. Her new assignment is in the Congo as she grew up there and speaks the language. Ares Solutions is one of the many companies owned by billionaire Trevor Mulroney. In reality, these particular employees are hired guns/mercenaries. Robin believes she is just going to be on location for a month and earn a lot of money she desperately needs for her 4-year-old niece’s life-saving surgery. What she didn’t count on was running into a man she hasn’t seen in five years, a man who she last saw air-lifting her injured Marine brother to the closest hospital. Unfortunately, her brother died and Robin has been blaming this man the whole time. She thought she loved him, but now he is the last man on earth she wants to see. What are the chances of running into him in the Congo? Robin has lost her mother, brother and father to death. She is angry with God and stopped talking to him or depending on him. Robin often wonders why the innocent must suffer so. How can they sing of Jesus’ love amidst so much pain and suffering? She has deep conversations with Michael’s sister that begin to penetrate the hard shell of bitterness and anger she has built around her heart. Can she let herself truly give God control over her life and the lives of those she loves? When this current mission begins to be much more than it originally was explained to her, will she have the nerve to do what is right or do what is easy?
Michael Stewart also grew up in the Congo. His parents and grandparents were missionaries in the Ituri Rain Forest. His sister now lives there too. After his time in the Navy as a med-tech, he went on to become a surgeon and now works for a missionary surgical organization. He also has been deeply hurt for the last 5 years at Robin’s abandonment of him, telling him she hated him for letting her brother die and never wanting to see him again. He sees her with a group of men crossing the Congo border and hops a ride with their air transportation as they are going to the same place. He has a delivery of medicine to make and then will stay for a short while to train some of the medical staff. His faith has been refined through various trials. He sees Robin and realizes he still cares for her. Can she forgive him?
This is a great story of forgiveness, self-sacrifice, showing Jesus to others through action and much more. The characters will draw readers in right away, and the story will pull them in with tension-filled and suspenseful moments, political maneuvering and a conspiracy that must be protected at all costs, including leaving anyone alive that knows the truth. The journey of Robin’s faith and her conversations with Miriam are very well done and will touch the heart. I eagerly look forward to more novels in the future from this great author. I highly recommend this very entertaining novel.
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Review 9 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Book full of Adventure and Scandal

Date:July 13, 2013
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bookworm
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Congo Dawn took you on an adventure in the heart of the Congo. Robin Duncan is a former Marine who is determined to work any job to raise money to help pay for an operation that will save her young niece’s life. She takes a job far from home in the Congo with a company that is at war with some of the local villagers. Michael is a doctor that works in a small medical facility where Robin is sent. The two had a history together that sadly ended up in a grave misunderstanding. However, they find healing and love when they are forced to work together for the good of the people. As the story unfolds, Robin learns something sinister about the company she works for and her boss. As she learns the truth about her boss’s scandal and deceit, she must make a decision: to do what is right or to take her boss’s bribe that would pay for her niece’s operation and save her life. But, you will have to read the book to find out. I really enjoyed Congo Dawn. It had all the elements necessary to hold your attention: mystery, a mysterious past to uncover, scandal, and a little romance.
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Review 10 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Suspense Story

Date:July 11, 2013
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rlighthouse
Location:PA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The story follows Robin Duncan on her quest to earn money for her niece's lifesaving surgery. The new job Robin takes throws her in the middle of the Congo jungle as a language specialist. On her way there she meets up with a person from her past, Michael-the last person she expected or wanted to see. After meeting his sister, Miriam, she cleared up some of the mysteries from 5 years ago and proved to be a real friend to Robin during a time that she needed to "find herself". Robin had to decide for herself who was telling the truth during the deadly jungle fights and get the evidence for the good guys to people who could save them all.
I really enjoyed the book-while you could guess some of the things that would happen there were still plenty of surprises throughout the book.
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Review 11 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Engaging Missionary Fiction/Military Suspense

Date:June 16, 2013
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Chris is an ex-marine turned mercenary, hired for her language skills on a mission to secure a molybdenum mining facility in the heart of Congo. Her goal is to use the sizable bonus to pay for the experimental surgery needed to save her niece's life. But once she lands in the jungle, more and more things begin to go wrong with the mission, threatening Chris' life and the life of her niece. As more details come out regarding the true nature of the mine, Chris is forced to decide where her moral duty lies: to her employer, to her family, to the Congolese, to herself, to the missionary doctor she once loved, or even to the God she thought had abandoned her.
Of the many christian fiction books I've read this summer, this has easily been one of my favorites. Part military suspense, part missionary fiction, the plot line was taut and clean. The writing was engaging, and there were several times when I was unsure where the story was headed.
One of the few books I'd like to see have a sequel.
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Review 12 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

I tried, but could NOT get into this book!

Date:May 30, 2013
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GBCPastorsWife
Location:Knoxville, TN
Age:35-44
Gender:female
There are very few books in life that I just absolutely cannot read. Unfortunately, this was one of them. I struggled and struggled through the first few chapters, putting it down then picking it up again over and over. I finally threw up my hands in defeat. I wanted to like this book, and wanted to read it. The characters fell flat for me--they didn't draw me in and make me care at all. I was fascinated by the idea of the book, I just couldn't make it work for me.
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Review 13 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

congo dawn review

Date:May 28, 2013
Customer Avatar
beckie
Age:35-44
Gender:female
"Congo Dawn" by Jeanette Windle follows Robin, a former marine and present day translator/mercenary for hire who travels to the Congo with a British Billionaire to ensure that he can make money off of his molybdonite mine. He is using forced labor including children. Apparently, in Africa if you have a gun and enough money you can do what you want wherever you want. The government doesn't care as long as you line their pockets as well. Upon arrival in Africa, she meets up with a former friend. The relationship with Michael, a doctor with Doctors without Borders, had ended badly 5 years ago and now you can cut the sexual tension with a knife. Robin also realizes that nothing is as it seems, that she isn't on the "right side", and that God is watching.
This is a hard to read book. The words aren't that hard, but it isn't a book you can read while watching TV and with kids yelling in the house. It also isn't a happy, pass the time, type either. This is a serious book about a serious situation. It was hard for me to get into and I really didn't want to. It starts off with doom and well.....guilt. I have recently read "Rare Earth" another book about the invasion of Africa to the benefit of the rest of the world and yet I still use my cell phone regularly, knowing that Africans are being robbed of their lands for the insides. This book is no different. Well, a little, monlybdinite isn't rare, but the rape of a Continent is. This is a book that should be read, but I warn you, it won't be a picnic. I received this book from Tyndale Publishing.
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Review 14 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

a genuine thriller

Date:April 3, 2013
Customer Avatar
Marianne
Location:Wanham, Alberta
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
i read this while waiting in the airport, sitting in the airplane, all but reading while driving the car! An absolutely riveting, intriguing and intense novel. Just when you think you know where the characters are headed and what's ahead for them, something or someone jumps out of the rain forest at you and screws all your carefully thought out plans and throws them under the canopy of trees and you are in mortal danger. Oh, no, that would be former Marine lieutenant R. Duncan, last in a long line of Marine lieutenant R. Duncans, who is in danger of loosing her life!
Even as I write this, distanced from the reading by a few days, my adrenaline raises a notch.
Experience life in a dense rain forest, where the sun does not reach the forest floor, exotic flowers grow, and guerrilla forces tangle with government armies.
Jeanette is a superb story teller making the reader feel as if they are actually a character in the scene, seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, and even feeling the anxiety, the dread of the situations. She takes the point of view to the next level, with great talent. Jeanette's novels are a must read if you enjoy Suspense fiction.
I received this novel free from Tyndale for the purpose of writing an honest review review. An positive critique was not required, and the opinions expressed are my own.
+2points
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Review 15 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Joy in the midst of suffering

Date:March 27, 2013
Customer Avatar
Patti Shene
Location:Southeastern Colorado
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I’m not a person who follows politics or the international scene very closely, but this book, set in a dark corner of the world, drew me in from page one and held my attention to the very last word. I have never read any previous work by Jeanette Windle, but this book was well worth my time.
Robin Duncan has one goal in mind when she takes an assignment with an international corporation. Drawing on her past experience as a marine lieutenant, she fills the position of interpreter on a security team seeking to safeguard a Congolese region threatened by a ruthless killer. She needs the money to help pay for life-saving surgery for her niece.
The mission finds Robin confronted with situations she had not expected to encounter, both on personal and professional levels. She comes face to face with Dr Michael Stewart, the man she once loved and for whom she still harbors bitterness at his betrayal involving her brother’s death. Just when it seems she and Michael have cleared up their misunderstandings, another situation comes along to make them wary of each other.
Robin begins the mission with complete faith in the good intentions of her superiors. She learns that the people she thought she could trust are embroiled in a deceitful, profit-seeking scheme. The insurgent the team seeks to capture, originally perceived as the evil enemy, may have motivations for his actions that are more justifiable than she could have imagined. All is not as it seems, and the division between good and evil blurs into a mass of confusion.
The author has crafted realistic characters who persevere in the face of adversity, show outstanding courage when confronted with danger, and base their decisions on compassion and love.
The element I liked most about this book is that Miss Windle takes the age old question of why a loving God allows so much human suffering and faces it straight on. She uses scripture in a non-preachy way to guide her reader to a deeper understanding of what human suffering is truly all about.
I felt a degree of shame as the author painted pictures of the stark reality of how people in war torn countries live, survive, and, with so little of what I take for granted, find joy in the midst of their suffering and sacrifice.
+2points
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Review 16 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great story

Date:March 17, 2013
Customer Avatar
teatotaler
Location:Tacoma, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I enjoyed this book because I got to learn so much about a part of the world I'll never see. The plot was interesting, captivating and unpredictable. Most of all, the book had a deep spiritual message that few of us in America would be able to relate to. Hope in the midst of hopelessness. How can this be? How can people believe in a loving God with so much suffering around them?
+2points
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Review 17 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Politics, Intrigue, and Romance

Date:March 13, 2013
Customer Avatar
Anonymous
Location:Willows, CA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A few weeks ago, The Book Club Network offered some free books to people who would be willing to review. That's what I do, so I selected two books. This is one of them. When I informed the author, she warned me it was a thick book and not light reading. Okay, so it's one inch thick plus a teensy, and it's about business, politics, intrigue, and romance in the thick jungles of the Congo. Heavy reading. In approximately three hours of reading I've delved through a little less than half the book.
That being said--So far, so good!
The business? Molybdenum mining, and all is not as the owners portray to the public or to all their employees.
The politics? The Governor of the area, Wamba, wants a finger or two in the prosperous molybdenum pie. How he gets his share isn't all that important.
The intrigue? It's impossible to tell who is out to get whom, although the mysterious Jini is assumed to be the leader of the Congolese people trying to sabotage the mining operations. A highly educated man with the ability to fade unseen into the thick jungle after attacks, the owners of the mine want him dead or alive--preferably dead.
The romance? Sigh. Looks like it's not going any anywhere. Marine Lieutenant turned translator Robin thinks Michael let her brother bleed out after being wounded in Afghanistan. Combat Medic turned doctor Michael thinks Robin wiped him off her list when he had laid injured and in a coma for three months.
Both of them are mistaken, and about more than just each other.
+1point
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Review 18 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Slow Start, but Gripping Finish

Date:March 10, 2013
Customer Avatar
Iola
Location:New Zealand
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Robin Duncan is an ex-marine turned linguist mercenary, hired for a translation job in the Congo with private security firm Ares, a subsidiary of multinational corporation Earth Resources. The operation doesn’t start well: Trevor Mulroney, a self-made billionaire and head of Earth Resources, expected a man. Pieter Krueger, head of the mercenary team, doesn’t like the public rebuff Robin gives him. And she’s on the same plane as Michael, the man she holds responsible for the death of her younger brother.
Dr Michael Stewart is on assignment with Médecins Sans Frontières in the Congalese village his parents also served in before they were brutally murdered. He isn’t pleased when Robin turns up with wounded from the mine her team are based at, and even less pleased when their hunt for a dangerous insurgent leads to the establishment of a large military camp less than a kilometre from the medical mission.
The novel opened with a gripping prologue, but early chapters of the book had a lot of detail about the political history of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and neighbouring countries. It was slow reading, and not her best writing, but I slogged through, thinking it would be important to the plot. Some of it was necessary, but I do think it was far too long and detailed. But I persevered, and was rewarded when the story finally found its feet.
Jeanette Windle doesn’t write typical Christian fiction, and Congo Dawn is no exception. She writes about familiar people in unfamiliar settings, including South America, Afghanistan and now central Africa. While this is fiction, the violence, government corruption and human rights abuses are all too real in this part of the world, and what seems right might, in fact, be wrong.
Windle uses the situation to explore the age-old question: how can a good God allow such evil? As circumstances force Robin to explore this question, her beliefs about Michael, about God and about her role with Ares Solutions are challenged. This is clearly a Christian novel, with a clear gospel message and a depth of understanding of the nature of suffering and character that few authors can demonstrate. Recommended.
Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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Review 19 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

great suspense

Date:February 27, 2013
Customer Avatar
quiltnmama
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Congo Dawn is an international suspense story that takes Former Marine Lieutenant Robin Duncan to the jungles of the Congo as a translator for a private security firm that is being paid to provide security for the mining industry there. Along the way, she runs into an old friend that she had served with in Afghanistan not seen or heard from in the past 5 years. Their parting then had been painful and both carried anger, sorrow and pain from the events that had taken place. Dr. Michael Stewart, has now returned to the Congo to serve in the community where he grew up as a physician at a small hospital that had recently reopened. Meeting again brings back many emotions and much heartache as they must decide who they can trust and what is really happening in the war between the mining industry and the local tribal people.
+1point
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Review 20 for Congo Dawn - eBook
This review is fromCongo Dawn.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

There should be a 6-star review for this book...

Date:February 23, 2013
Customer Avatar
Anonymous
Location:Coffeyville, KS
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Congo Dawn, by Jeanette Windle
This new book has the typical elements you can expect from a fiction novel that takes place in an African conflict zone – abuse and draining of a community due to its natural resources and foreign businessmen blinded by profits and ignoring the devastation their enterprises cause to the people living in their source of wealth, as well as suspense, unbelievable circumstances, romance… However, this novel tells no ordinary story and is far from being typical.
What makes this novel so special is not the common thread it shares with other books, but the wonderful depth that Jeanette Windle imprints in the story through amazingly accurate historical, social, geographical and spiritual depictions, as well as her care and interest for those who have seen their lives threatened again and again. She takes particular interest in describing how the apparent comforts that Western civilization offer do not yield to happiness. True zest for life comes from overcoming what lies ahead and keeping our eyes on heaven; it lies on the certainty that the Creator is good and just, no matter how horrible men’s actions might be.
Robin, formerly in the Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan, is hired as a translator for a security team that would go into the Ituri region of Congo in order to check the actions of Jini, a local insurgent that is threatening the operations of a mining enterprise. Robin’s niece is need of a medical procedure, and this job is Robin’s way of providing for the kid and Robin’s sister. Robin comes across with Michael, a friend whom she holds responsible for her brother’s dead. Michael is a doctor who grew up in the area where the mine is, so he has apparent ties to the local community. The security team sets up at Taraja, the place where Michael’s family lives and have set up a medical clinic.
What Robin never imagined back home, is that this job will imply more than dealing with the living arrangements for some weeks. She needs to face and deal with Michael, his family and the actual loyalties of those around her. Little by little, she finds out that things might not be all what they initially seem to be, and she ends up in the middle of a tangled situation between her employer, the community and the government; her life might be in danger, but after learning about the atrocities Taraja has been through, her eyes start to open and even her faith becomes a challenge. Robin must face a tough decision – whether to follow her instincts or let the military training kick in.
While the intrigues go on, Michael and Robin recognize that they still have feelings for each other, but resentment and pride is in the way. Both of them learn about forgiveness and the awful consequences they have brought to each other’s life by jumping into conclusions. They must decide whom to trust and how to act; ethics fluctuate with interest, self-motivation and self-gratification, but power shines with money’s glow and it will push them to the limit. They can either be part of the solution, stopping that monster from devouring the Congolese or allowing themselves to be deceived…
One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the accurate historical and social description of the Ituri and Taraja. Jeanette Windle’s biographical information states that she is the daughter of a missionary family and that she has lived in six countries and traveled to more than twenty. This fact is apparent in the beautiful, vivid and accurate descriptions of the Congolese country; it is obvious that Mrs. Windle has a profound interest in other cultures and in understanding the facts that have shaped their people’s identity. Not only does the author transport the reader to a luscious green rain forest, but she is also able to share the warmth and richness of life in the simple life of the people living in the Ituri region. I could not get enough of the colors, smiles, drums, singing, rhythmic chores, joy and sense of belonging Mrs. Windle describe of Taraja. I also appreciate the fact that this does not dilute the reality that many African people have to face – the destruction of their home towns and abuse from people seeking to profit from the resources that should benefit them.
What amazed me the most is the way people who have been unimaginably tough situations still have a zest for life and are able to grow closer to God as a result of it; I wonder how we might seek to strengthen our own relationship with God, were we to face such tragedies as the people of Taraja have. For instance, conflict is considered as an opportunity to purify His church (p. 168-169), to refine our character (p.275) and to provide an ideal environment where resourcefulness, strength, resilience, ingenuity and generosity will thrive (p.277).
The author does take a long time to set the story, which makes the start somewhat dreary, but it is well worth putting up with it. A little more into technique and a personal preference, I appreciate the fact that the author takes her time to finish the story and not leave loose ends to it; many books today seem to want to end on a high note (generally a romantic one), without taking the time to resolve the issues that were crucial in determining the turns of the plot. It was refreshing to read a book that respects the reader enough to do so.
I would highly recommend this novel as a gift or reference for a study group. The situations it contains might not be the easiest to cope with, but the richness and sincerity in the Tarajans and their relationship to God is certainly a feature to treasure. Vocabulary is clean, and although the main characters are attracted to each other, there are no improper situations, making it a good option for most audiences, including older teenagers (please make sure to verify the contents first and be ready for questions). As a plus, the author includes a series of questions in the end of the book that invite the reader to reflect and analyze attitudes that could turn into good learning experiences if channeled appropriately. Because of the tough questions it addresses and its harmony with Scripture, this book could definitely be used as an evangelizing tool as well.
It is commendable that in a world where most people prefer reading light stories that just “tickle their ears,” there are authors like Jeanette Windle who care enough to use their talent in order to share the love of God for humans.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange of an honest review. The latter has not influenced my opinion on the book or on the author.
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