Former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption----but she's always been able to tell the "good guys" from the bad. Now she's tracking an insurgent killer through the Congo jungle---and as a ruthless global conspiracy emerges, she doesn't know who to trust. How can she protect innocent people? And where is God in all this? 400 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
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(11 Reviews) 11
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10 out of 1191%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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.
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Review 2 for Congo Dawn
Joy in the midst of suffering
Date:March 27, 2013
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.
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Review 3 for Congo Dawn
Date:March 17, 2013
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?
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.
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 6 for Congo Dawn
Date:February 27, 2013
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.
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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Review 8 for Congo Dawn
Okay read... more conspiracy than faith.
Date:February 11, 2013
Jeanette Windle's Congo Dawn is a fictional story that does a great job pulling you into the atmosphere of the Congo and the attitude of survival against all odds. The main character was easy to relate to and the plot certainly provided suspense as well as some action-packed scenes, not lacking on developing the complex inner relationships, either. If you are "into" action/war/conspiracy theory type books, this is probably a great book for you- lots of discussion of "tactics" and such without going over the head of the average citizen who has no idea what technical terms are really used by armed forces or the like.
If you were hoping, like me, that this book has more emphasis on her journey of faith, you may be reading and reading and reading... and wondering if it's even included. Half way through this book I actually stopped to check the back and front covers again to make sure this IS actually a book including some aspect of the Christian faith. I am sensitive when it comes to graphic imagery (including those conjured up as mental images while I'm reading) and I found a couple parts of this book to be very close to crossing a line and being something I would refuse to read. There isn't extraordinary gore-y detail, but situations and circumstances are portrayed in such a way that I did have nightmares from it. (Yes, I am a full grown adult. Laugh if you want, but I know I'm not the only sensitive soul in the world.)
That said, when faith was brought into the book, it was primarily through dialogue and Windle did tackle some big topics with great articulation such as: if God is loving, why does He permit suffering? and if God hears our prayers why doesn't He always seem to give some indication of response? And I do give her huge brownie points for making a clear statement that mental illness shouldn't be used as a "plea" to escape punishment for committing a horrendous crime. Here's how she delicately but boldly states it (pgs 440-441):
"Some might say Trevor Mulroney was no longer entirely sane as he settled the rocket-propelled grenade launcher to his shoulder and closed his fingers around the firing mechanism. That his desperate grasp for power, wealth, renown, the months spent watching all to which he'd committed his life and future washing inexorably away like sand in an outgoing tide, had left him no longer capable of sound judgement or moral compass. Mulroney knew better. He was completely sane. Entirely Sober. Fully aware of what he was doing."
Don't get me wrong, this book is well-written and it was, as far as fictional writing goes, very captivating, however I just wasn't aware of what I was getting into and I wanted to share my reaction in a review in case others are in the same situation I was. I do think this would be an excellent evangelism tool as by the time the book touches on "preachy" topics, readers will be so enthralled in the unfolding drama and conspiracy that they will have to read on while hoping against hope that the good guys- whoever they end up being- win out in the end.
I was provided a copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions are my own :)
Determined to earn enough money to pay for her niece’s desperately required surgery, Robin Duncan signs on with a private company who is headed into the heart of the Congo to secure a mining site. Robin is a former Marine lieutenant, used to dangerous situations and unknown territory. However, soon after arriving in Africa, she is reconnected with a former Marine she served with, Michael, a man she had been determined to keep hating due to Robin’s belief that he abandoned her. However, as they sift through the truth of their own past relationship, they also realize that the situation at the mine is not as it seems. Robin and her team are focused on finding an insurgent who is causing devastation to the mine and who planted a bomb that resulted in death and injury. But Robin soon realizes that the truth may be far different than she believed as evidence of a conspiracy emerges. Robin’s very life becomes threatened as she must choose who to side with in a fight for survival.
Congo Dawn is a fascinating novel, steeped in rich detail about the history of the Congolese people, filled with the drama of war and an oppressed people, all joined together by an overarching story of suspense and conspiracy. The story is sure to entertain readers who enjoy suspenseful novels set in foreign locales, and stars likable characters readers will soon grow to care about. Robin Duncan is a unique character with her military background, her determination to win her father’s approval, her heart-break over thinking that a person she grew to love had abandoned her. I loved watching her growth over the course of the story, especially the beautiful faith that develops within her. Usually fiction novels don’t leave me in deep thought, but this one did as the author probes questions about suffering and God’s response to it, questions set against a backdrop of the Congolese who have experienced war and abuse and rape and trial after trial. And yet the story also allowed me to reflect on the wonderful gift of hope that Jesus offers to us, hope even in the midst of such suffering. I admire that Robin’s journey of faith is not forced into being part of the story, but naturally fits into the plot and rich setting and the characters who are breathing with life in the pages of the story.
Jeanette Windle continues to impress me with the unique stories that she creates, and Congo Dawn is another winner. It is well-written, with a plot that kept me hooked and with characters I wish I could meet in real life.
I strongly recommend this novel and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Tyndale House, for the purposes of this unbiased review
Congo Dawn may very well be my all-time favorite of Jeanette Windle’s books. But then I say that with each of her books that come out. No one knows modern-day details of weaponry, ammunitions, technology, politics, medicine, in developing countries, better than Jeanette Windle.
Her medical political thrillers are so steeped in authentic detail that you feel as though you really are in a Congo jungle with Doctors without Borders, doing all you can to protect innocent people from mercenary soldiers.
I was captured by the first few chapter, and especially when the female lead, Robin Duncan, former American marine, flips a guy onto his back for taking liberties because of the fact that she is woman.
Windle’s characters are always so real—real people against a very real and harsh world. Congo Dawn is like all of this author’s work, there’s nothing fluffy about it. This is another book that will satisfy the intelligent reader who wants hard-hitting truth, and the stuff that goes on in the hearts of people who will give up their own lives for those who are suffering.
Jeanette Windle always gives a story that is brave and caring. Leading the heart of readers to care for those whom Christ cares about too—the hungry, the hurting, the suffering. And she weaved in a tender romance to please this romantic reader.
I wish I could give this book 8 stars instead of just 5. I’m also proud to say that I received an advanced reader copy of this excellent novel.
Former Marine Lieutenant Robin Duncan is on a mission in the Congo to track down an insurgent killer. This killer is known by the name Jini—which means Ghost because he seems invisible. Robin is the translator with the security team that is tracking down this Jini. She has taken this job because she needs the money to pay her little niece’s surgery.
Five years ago Robin served with the Marines in Afghanistan. Her brother also served there and they became best friends with Michael Stewart—an army medic. During an attack Robin’s brother was wounded, but according to Michael it was not serious and Robin’s brother would be alright. When Robin also got wounded and was in coma her brother died. From that time on she is furious with Michael for letting him die. Five years have passed without a word from Michael. Robin is certain he feels guilty for letting her brother die. Now she’s in the Congo standing eye to eye with Michael again…
Michael got severely wounded in the same attack in Afghanistan—therefore he couldn’t take care of Robin’s brother. While recovering from his injuries Michael didn’t hear anything from Robin. After several attempts to contact her, with disappointing results, he gave up. He thought there was more between him and Robin, but apparently he was wrong. Now Michael is working for Doctors Without Borders in the Congo and after five years he is seeing Robin back again.
When they find out what happened in Afghanistan, will they believe and forgive each other? Will Robin and her team track down Jini in time, before it is too late for her little niece? What obstacles and shocking discoveries lie ahead of Robin? When Robin is seeing all the suffering around her in the village, she can hardly believe that the people put so much trust in God. Their songs of praise are reminding her of her childhood, and make her think of God. Will Robin learn to put her trust in Jesus?
Jeanette Windle is a talented writer. She creates a believable story with a strong mission. A must read for lovers of suspense books that take place in a country with a turbulent political background.