By Richard North Patterson
Henry Holt and Company
This may be one of the most important books you read this year. Richard North Patterson’s latest novel is a compelling drama that will leave readers stunned. The novel is based upon the life of human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa who was hanged in Nigeria fifteen years ago. May we Americans, who read this and other similar, revealing books, begin immediately to understand and encourage the reduction of our country’s oil demands that create these intolerable situations! May we weep for what our country’s power-hungry people refuse to see! Surely the time has come to stop—surely this novel will help you decide!
Marissa Brand met Damon Pierce in a writing class. While he fell deeply in love with Marissa, she was already involved and committed to Bobby Okari. Indeed, when Bobby went back to his homeland, Luandia, Marissa went as his wife.
However, many years later, as Damon’s wife was divorcing him; and he was considering where his life was going, Marissa contacted Damon and sought his help—for Bobby!
The call for help from Damon was not just because they had remained friends through the years, it was also because Damon was a lawyer and had previously gained extensive experience in human rights trial negotiations. Bobby had begun to speak out against the government and the lack of support to the people. The lands had been ruined by the oil company’s activities, including the damage created by the theft of oil by those within the country, who had no other way to keep from starving. There was no way to grow sufficient crops to maintain the population; worse the leaders were so corrupt they did nothing except work to improve their own interests.
Bobby Okari, following the work of Martin Luther King, had begun a non-violent movement to seek attention of both the oil company leadership as well as the country’s leaders. When his group became large enough and vocal enough to become a problem, everybody turned against him. The only thing that worked in this country was to have sufficient money to bribe those that could be bribed!
By the time Damon reached Africa, Bobby’s village had been totally wiped out, his father had been murdered and beheaded, and three employees of the oil company had been killed and their murder blamed on Bobby. Bobby had been placed in prison; Marissa was under house arrest most of the time.
As Damon and his staff follow the events and try to put together a defense for Okari, the story revealed is not only horrendous, it is representative of true events! This is a must-read! America needs to wake up to what our own greed has created in oil-rich countries!
Patterson has many well-written and thrilling novels in his past; however, in my opinion, this is his best to date! I commend him for addressing such an important issue and in presenting it in what must be considered an exciting drama that will keep readers’ attention not only to the last page, but on into the afterword!
G. A. Bixler
For Amazon Vine