Review of ‘Hostage of Islam’

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Hostage of Islam by Phillip Strang is a compelling story of the extremism and violence in Africa brought about by the terrorist group Boko Haram and criminal gangs that prey on foreign workers in Nigeria.

It revolves primarily around the murder of a missionary couple and their friend and co-worker, and the abduction of two young women, an American and a Brit, one of whom is marked for sale to a Saudi prince as a concubine. The book begins rather slowly with historical and biographical background on the murder victims, and then picks up with background on Helen, the British woman who, after leading a trouble life of drug use and prostitution, has decided to redeem herself by devoting her life to missionary work in Africa. It then picks up with the introduction of Kate, a young American woman who is traumatized by the death of her boyfriend in an auto accident.

The overall theme of the book is sound, but it drags in places with the insertion of a lot of background historical, political and personal information that would be better included in smaller amounts or through dialogue. At times, also, because the author has such a large cast of characters, and introduces them with rather fulsome histories, it becomes a bit confusing for the reader to try and keep track of all the comings and goings.

The book does have lots of action and human drama, and is about a subject that is very much currently in the news. It would be a far tauter thriller, though, if it started with the attack on the missionary compound and then all the information on the pages before that was brought out as the story unfolds.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. The theme is definitely five-star quality, but I give it three and a half stars for execution.

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