Congo Dawn, by Jeanette Windle

Congo Dawn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: While former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption or conspiracy, she has always been able to tell the good guys from the bad, and the Congo jungle at first seems no different. But as her security team tries to track down an insurgent killer, Robin has to face a man who broke her trust years ago, and she discovers the gray areas extend farther in this jungle wilderness than she anticipated.

A ruthless global conspiracy begins to surface, run by powerful men who can’t afford to leave any witnesses. Her life at stake, Robin doesn’t know who to trust and wonders how she can help protect innocent people. Why is God silent amid all the pain and injustice? And how do these people of faith continue to rejoice in their suffering?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (From her webpage) As daughter of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty on five continents.  Jeanette mentors developing nation writers in both English and Spanish on all five continents.

MY THOUGHTS:  This suspenseful story of international intrigue centers around a former Marine whose seen her share of personal tragedies.   Robin now works as a hired mercenary in order to provide for her sickly niece's medical care.  Although she is a tender-hearted, sincere person, we see glimpses of the bitterness that has taken root inside her as the story unfolds.  She must finally decide if she is able to let these walls down and trust in the One who has brought her this far, or if she will remain fiercely self-reliant.

I was most impressed with how well this book will appeal to all sorts of readers.  Of course, the missionary story line appealed to me. Missionaries in the area where Robin is working are taking care of refugees and sharing God's love with the natives as well as those soldiers wreaking havoc on the area.  A mild love plot is also lurking in the background as Robin sorts out the past and evaluates the possibility of a future with one of the men who's hurt her.  Intrigue and betrayal surround the hired team's mission to restore mining operations in the African rain forest.  I went from crying to laughing to biting my nails to crying again as I worked my way through these pages.  This is an edge-of-your-seat kind of book.

Congo Dawn a complicated tale, so don't expect an easy vacation read on this one.  I had to really focus on the first few paragraphs, and even as the story unfolded, to keep straight the corporations and governments and good guys and bad guys.  So did Robin.

The themes of forgiveness and vengeance are weaved throughout the book, with real questions about injustice, suffering, and discernment.  I found myself noting the scriptures referenced in several places, as they applied directly to my life right now.

It's obvious that Ms. Windle really did her homework on this one, and she made the people of the rain forest come alive.  I would love to see this turned into a movie.  Excellent writing!

PARENTAL RATING (May contain spoilers):  If this were a movie, it would have a PG-13 rating for violence.  None of it was grotesque, and any torture or assaults were spoken about in the past tense in semi-vague retellings of stories.   There are some pretty tense moments, but I didn't have to skip any pages or deal with nightmares afterwards.  :)  I'm not sure this is my girls' cup of tea, but I'd let them read this if they asked.

NOTE:  This title will be released on February 1, 2013.  I was provided an advance-release copy by in exchange for my honest opinions.

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