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Hi there, I am back to reviewing my favourite kind of book, i.e. the thriller, and, as such, this one certainly does not disappoint!
For those of you who would, perhaps, like to have a look at my reading preferences, it is available under my first book review, i.e. "As chilling as the Russian winter". Well, let us get to it, immediately . . .
---- About the author ----
Daniel Easterman was born in Belfast in 1949. He is a well educated man whose early interest in Egyptology led to a passion for the Middle East. He also lived in the region for a year (1979), in the Moroccon town/city of Fez, where he taught English at the university. After his return to England in 1980, he was appointed as lecturer in Arabic and Islamic studies at Newcastle University, and was later promoted to Honorary Fellow in the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, at the same establishment.
He is now the proud author of no less than nine bestselling Easterman titles as well as a collection of essays . . . among the latter, "Reflections on Islam" and "New Jerusalems". He has also written some other works under the name Jonathan Aycliffe.
---- The plot ----
The story starts with the kidnapping of Aryeh and Chaya Levin's young son, Yo-el, from their home in the town of Arzachena in Sardinia. It soon becomes clear to Aryeh that there is a much more sinister motive behind his son's kidnapping than the exhorbitant ransom amount the kidnappers are demanding for his release, when he receives a phone call from a man called Bianco, who informs him that he will pay the whole ransom in exchange for two things, Aryeh's complete silence in the whole affair, and the exact whereabouts of . . . "the shopkeeper".
Bianco's last words to Aryeh before he puts the receiver down, i.e. . . . "Your son's life for the shopkeeper", absolutely terrifies Aryeh, because he has no idea who "the shopkeeper" is. When one of Yo-el's fingernails, and soon thereafter, one of his ears, are delivered to the Levin's home, Aryeh knows that only one man can now get his son back, alive . . . his brother in law, Yosef Abuhatseira, who lives in the Israeli occupied territories, in a town called Kiryat Arba.
Even though the relationship between Aryeh and his brother in law is extremely strained, because of severe disagreements on Israeli - Arab politics, Yosef immediately agrees to come to Sardinia in order to rescue Yo-el from the kidnappers' clutches. It is here that he, with the help of Maryam Shumayyil (an educated Arab woman, who knows the specific Sardinian dialect, and who will act as his interpreter, but who is also from the same people whom he has come to hate in his homeland, Israel), begin to uncover layer upon layer of wickedness, until they, of course, scratch open a little bit too much, and have to flee for their lives.
On the mainland of Italy a desperate battle now ensues between Yosef, Maryam and a handful of, mostly, Jewish helpers, on the one side, and those who are loyal to one Gerhard Weiss, who will stop at nothing to realize the return of the swastika to Europe, on the other side. Now the one side, and then the other side, gains the upper hand, but in the end there is only one winner, and the victory, for the latter, comes at a very high price.
---- My thoughts on this book ----
Daniel Easterman writes a transparent, very readable, English. He has the ability to really involve the reader in all the events of the narrative through the creation of a very believable plot, the fairly fast pace at which the story moves along, built in suspense, clever twists and turns and real (in the sense of . . . human) characters.
Even though the business of modern life barely allows for this kind of luxury any more, The Final Judgement is the kind of book one could finish reading in one, or at the most, two sittings. While I was reading this book, I never once got bored, and I never had the feeling that the narrative was forced (in my understanding . . . an attempt by an author to convince the reader of something or other, which, the latter will, simply, not believe under normal circumstances) or unreal (in the sense of . . . being far removed from the usual realities in our world), in any way.
---- Book details ----
Available from amazon.co.uk, used and new (paperback) from 0.75 British Pounds.
---- Conclusion ----
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I heartily recommend it to anyone who, likewise, enjoys "the thrill" of the good thriller.
Thank you for having taken the time to read this review.