Much of this story revolves around the practice and personal life of Bagdad lawyer, Sameh el-Jacobi. Many things set him apart—his Christian faith, his exemplary record and his reputation as being the most honest man in the city. When a child goes missing, something far too common in the war ravaged country, it’s Sameh who receives the call for help.
Sameh is as humble as he is honest, so when his work catches the attention of some of the most powerful men around, he doesn’t know what to do other than use these new influences to help the families he serves.
Marc Royce has his own wounds from the past, still healing from the loss of his wife. But when called upon to pick up and go to Iraq to find a close friend, he doesn’t hesitate. Focused and intelligent, few things escape Marc’s attention, and he thrives on the adrenaline rush in the middle of the action. And that’s where Marc finds himself from the moment he lands in the oppressive heat of Iraq.
When Marc Royce is dropped in his lap, Sameh finds not only an incredibly capable ally from another world, he also finds a friend. Together, they form an unstoppable team in the search for three missing Americans, a wealthy young Iraqi, and a host of kidnapped children.
There are many reasons I loved this book. It’s not a light read, but was well worth taking the effort to slow down and absorb truly masterful writing. The descriptions and look at the Iraqi culture alone left me wanting to read it again. And characters? Each unique and with a realness hard to find in fiction.
What blew me away more than anything, though, is the sheer amount of research Davis Bunn must have conducted before attempting to write this tale. Not only Iraqi history and culture, but international relationships and policies, military operations, the Saddam regime, and every detail of post war Bagdad itself, complete with the varying attitudes and feelings of the Iraqi people and US soldiers. Incredible work.
I loved Sameh and his family. He’s portrayed as a man of great knowledge, yet keeps things simple, and has a remarkable love for his country.
Another reason to love this book is the seamless way Davis Bunn wove the Christian theme in. All the main characters are Christians, but not stereotype. Each reaches a new depth in their faith as they face buried truths about themselves.
Marc and Sameh rise to super hero status in an almost unbelievable way, but isn’t that how it comes to all true super heroes?
An incredible read, I highly recommend Lion of Babylon.
Note: Bethany House provided my review copy, but I was not required to write a positive review