Archive for May 5th, 2007

The Vengeance Trap
By A.L. Hansen
Ophir Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9787658-1-1
Copyright May 2007
Hardcover, 403 pages, $24.00

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

The Vengeance Trap is an action-filled, entertaining novel with an interesting twist—controversial protagonists.

The story revolves around two main characters—IRA ammunitions-buyer Kathleen O’Toole and modern-day pirate Omar Jabri. In spite of their cultural differences, several elements bond them—their painful pasts filled with family tragedy, their dreams of revenge, and their passion for dangerous adventure.

The story encompasses over a decade as we see Kathleen and Omar trying to maintain a ‘normal’ family life while dealing with their secret—and very deadly—careers, and see their sons grow into two very different individuals—one close to his Irish origins, the other to his Muslim ones. Bank robberies, stolen diamonds, secret arms deals gone wrong, bombings, and crossing the Zimbabwe forests are some of the struggles endured by the protagonists. But how far will they go to achieve their goals, and at what expense? Will love conquer in the end?

Because of its mainstream elements and controversial protagonists, this is not your usual James Bond story. The book offers strong characterizations and brings to the surface issues of prejudice and terrorism. At its core, it’s an ambitious attempt to portray people as they really are in their full complexity, making it difficult for the reader to come to terms with some of the scenarios in the story. For instance, is a loving mother capable of killing a teenager and shooting a pregnant woman for the sake of an ideal? Are goodness and justice subjective or ultimate realities? Ultimately, this is not a work which glorifies crime; it is an honest portrayal of the grim—and often contradictory—realities of life. The novel offers readers some interesting topics for group discussions.

Author A.L. Hansen is donating the royalties from all sales of this book to Cuidar for Veterans, a non-profit organization that helps America’s most wounded war heroes receive bedside visits from their families across the US.

The Vengeance Trap is the first book in The Vengeance Trilogy. The story leaves enough unanswered questions to leave you hungering for the sequel. Highly recommended.

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