“Theif of Glory”, raw and real, a book review

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theif of glory

Book Review: Thief of Glory
Author: Sigmund Brouwer

I received this book, Thief of Glory, from the Blogging For Books program, in exchange for this review.
Favorite line from Thief of Glory: “A banyan tree begins when its seeds germinate in the crevices of a host tree. It sends to the ground tendrils that become prop roots with enough room for children to crawl beneath, prop roots that grown into thick, woody trunks and make it look like the tree is standing above the ground. The roots, given time, look no different than the tree it has begun to strangle. Eventually, when the original support tree dies and rots, the banyan develops a hollow central core.” –Thief of Glory, pg. 1

The Thief of Glory takes us to the Dutch East Indies in 1942 and into the home and lives of a wealthy Dutch family, the Prins. The story’s hero, the 10 year old marble enthusiast and closet romantic, Jeremiah, finds his world stolen from him as the Japanese invade the East Indies and separate his family. Jeremiah, his Mother, younger brother and twin sisters are thrown into a concentration camp where Jeremiah’s goal, and promise he made to his father, is to take care of his family…and survive. In the book, we see Jeremiah as he is forced into adulthood, falls in love, and sees the darkest sides of the human heart.  Will Jeremiah and his family survive? And if he does, at the end of it all, who will he be?

Thief of Glory was not a book written for the feint of heart. It wasn’t fields of flowers and sunshine. It was written realistically with characters that were real and flawed, like us all.  Ultimately, Thief of Glory is about the choices we must make in life- to do good or evil; to take revenge or to forgive; how far we would go to survive. This book was deep, making its reader think.

A truly good book is about its characters. When you feel what the character feels, when your heart breaks when something bad happens to them, or when you feel happy when the character gets the girl,  the writer has accomplished his goal. When Jeremiah first enters the book, I didn’t like him. I was like, this kid is a total brat! And…a little on the violent side, in a scary way. As I kept reading, the author started to reveal more and more of who Jeremiah was and what his family was like. As I read, I felt like I knew Jeremiah, I felt like he was a real person. He seemed like he was someone I played with in the dirt when I was a little kid. As Jeremiah is forced into an unimaginable and horrible situation,  I saw Jeremiah as a fighter, someone who had courage, someone who would do anything for his family, and someone who was thrust into becoming a parent when all he really wants is for his parent (his Mother) to take action and be the parent, and someone who struggles (like us all) against the darkness lurking in his own heart. I commend Sigmund Brouwer on his characters! At one point in the book I paused and wondered, “Is this a TRUE story?” I swore I had found it in the fiction section! I even had to double check the back of the book to find that little word “Fiction”. By the final chapters of the book I was completely involved in the characters, my heart filling with pain as Jeremiah endured one horror after the next, begging him, “don’t do it! Pleasssseee don’t do it!” As I read those final chapters, I felt almost depressed. When things started looking up, those last few pages, I read in horror. I don’t want to give too much away, but the end I read over twice, just to make sure I read it right. I was shocked and horrified by the ending. For hours after finishing the book, I couldn’t sleep…and I shed a few tears.   I literally felt like shouting, “Jeremiah, NOOOOO!!”. The book was so real, so raw.Yet, for being shocking and horrifying, the Thief of Glory ended in hope, because with God, there is always hope.

Final thoughts: This book was very realistic and very well written, totally making me become involved emotionally. I was glad a book that was filled with so much darkness, offered a rays of sunshine, throughout it. There were moments of true courage and motivating compassion and kindness. And in the end,  it offered hope. I don’t really have any bad comments about Thief of Glory, the writing was superb, the research fantastic, the story moving and tragic all at once. Be warned: this book is hard to read, knowing that this story was inspired from true events, that many things Jeremiah went through actually happened to people. But, I would call it a good read, with a good message.

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The young boy, Han Velsing, stood frozen in fear. The snow covered world around him suddenly filled with an unholy presence. He felt his eyes burn from the evil that permeated the air. He knew what was coming. He heard the thrust of powerful wings bat the air and then the crunch of snow when it landed. Sweat began to trickle down Han’s forehead even though it was bitterly cold. His predator stood towering in front of him. The Vampire’s skin was white as a porcelain picture. His cheeks were sucked in and hollow. He smiled wickedly, showing off his sharp teeth. Han dashed away knowing it was pointless. In seconds the vampire thrust Han brutally into the snow. Han’s trembling fingers gripped the item in his pocket. It was something his Mother always told him to carry with him for good luck. As the Vampire’s fangs lunged towards him, Han screamed and shoved the pungent “good luck” charm in the beast’s face. The Vampire screamed like a mountain lion and his body began to convulse violently. He thrashed and jerked and then was still. Han had killed the monster. Amazed, Han stared at the object that saved his life….a clove of garlic.


 

Garlic…the ancient herb

This bulb which is  bursting with flavor, is probably one of the most usedGArlic spices around the world…or at least in my kitchen. I am a garlic fanatic!It is one of those staple ingredients that is a MUST in every kitchen and for every cook. Just take one whiff of a garlic bulb and you will know that it is a strong cooking ingredient when used raw, however when you cook it the garlic sweetens.

  Garlic has been used by people all over the world for ages. Not just centuries; we’re talking THOUSANDS of years.  The exact time garlic was cultivated isn’t certain, but it was grown in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. Culturally, garlic has been a prized spice.

In Egypt,  “Garlic bulbs were fed to the Egyptians who built the pyramids 583px-037_1941_-_Great_Pyramid_at_Giza_Egypt_by_Tom_Beazley_03and were placed in Tutankhamen tomb.” -from Spice Islands Website.

In the works of Hippocrates, Pliny the Elder, the Bible, Homer and several other famous historic documents have noted garlic in their writings used as medication.

Garlic was given to the ancient Greek athletes when they were competing in the Olympics.

Garlic was believed by many cultures to increase strength and endurance.

In many countries, garlic was a staple food for soldiers.

Henry IV of France was baptized in water with cloves of garlic.

Garlic was hung on door posts and around necks to ward off evil spirits. In Europe it was believed it would ward off werewolves , demons and evil spirits, The Plague, and rabid animals (probably how the werewolf legend was born).

According to a Korean legend garlic was considered to be sacred food.

China is the largest producer of garlic…23 billion pounds are grown annually. WOW!

Garlic is full of vitamin C and research shows it is a cholesterol fighter, cancer fighter, fights infections and has anti-aging properties.

It has been referred to as “The Stinking Rose”.

Different cultures all over the world seemed to believe that garlic was good for pulmonary disorders and respiratory disorders as well as being beneficial to the cardiovascular system.

The only thing I don’t quite enjoy about garlic is the way it makes your hands and breathe REEK. There have been times when I have chopped garlic and scrubbed my hands 10 times and still the smell remains. And when it’s in my mouth? No toothpaste, no mouthwash, no liquid can seem to rid that horrid smell. During my garlic research I found that parsley is something that will kill garlic breath. I haven’t tried it but I will! One thing I have tried is swishing my mouth out with organic, unrefined coconut oil; it seems to get rid of the smell/flavor for the most part.

Garlic is really good for you and it is so easy to add this ancient ingredient to practically all of your cooking. Sprinkle garlic into your pasta, dice it and add it to vegetables, put it in your marinades (always turns out good), make homemade ranch dressing (That’s what I do! you need 1 clove of garlic, lots of dill, chives, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, a little bit of milk

This stuff is from heaven!

This stuff is from heaven!

and salt and pepper. Toss is a blender and walla! Ranch Dressing goodness!). Use in olive oil with Parmesan and Italian Spices for bread dipping oil.  Basically, garlic is what’s for dinner!

Are there any special ways you use garlic?

 

Sources:

The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, “Historical Perspective on the Use of Garlic”; Wikipedia; Spice Islands; Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy.

While we don’t know the exact date garlic was first cultivated, we know it was grown in Mesopotamia in 3,000 BC. Garlic bulbs were fed to the Egyptians who built the pyramids and were placed in King Tutankhamun’s tomb – See more at: http://www.spiceislands.com/Adjustable_Grinders/Garlic_and_Herb_Adjustable_Grinder#sthash.WcfwA8iF.dpuf
While we don’t know the exact date garlic was first cultivated, we know it was grown in Mesopotamia in 3,000 BC. Garlic bulbs were fed to the Egyptians who built the pyramids and were placed in King Tutankhamun’s tomb – See more at: http://www.spiceislands.com/Adjustable_Grinders/Garlic_and_Herb_Adjustable_Grinder#sthash.WcfwA8iF.dpuf