Thief of Glory: A Novel (Fictionchristianhistorical)

Written by Sigmund Brouwer

“As seemingly inconsequential as a banyan tree taking root in the bark of an unsuspecting tree… became a journey,” says 81-year-old Jeremiah about his life’s path. At only 10, he is interned, along with his family and other Dutch residents of Java Island, in a “Japencamp” following the 1942 Japanese invasion. His father and older brothers are sent off to labor camps, and Jeremiah has to devise ingenious ways to provide for his sick mother and younger siblings. While he falls in love with the fair-haired Laura, he has to win marble games and fight a jealous and bigger boy, with whom he must settle a vendetta later in life.

Somewhat like Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Sigmund Brouwer has penned this novel based on his parents’ experiences in the Japanese concentration camps. The narrative is nearly as vivid and terrifying, although the experiences of 10-year-old Jeremiah sound more like an older boy’s cunning and connivance for survival. Toward the end, the leap in the story from WWII to present-day is jolting, and it’s also irritating to read about the in-between critical periods in brief flashbacks. Although the closing is drawn out, it is captivating and satisfying nonetheless.