As the Middle East faces an upheaval of enormous proportions, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. John Balian’s racy book is brilliantly written, with factually accurate renditions of actual events of the 1960’s and 1970’s in the Middle East. Gray Wolves and White Doves is easily a fabulous book that lets you travel to a land steeped in ancient rituals, Middle Eastern traditions and modern intrigue, while just thumbing through its pages. Rising from the ashes of a tumultuous background is a moving, captivating story of a child’s search for his identity.
Sitting in a rugged and ancient corner of the world that is otherwise shrouded in mystery and myth, five-year-old Hanna cannot imagine any other home besides his small village at the edge of the Turkish Plains of Anatolia. His life runs smoothly, or at least appears to, when all of a sudden, a terrible stroke in the form of unfathomable tragedy changes the course of his life. The simple and happy life he knew is no longer around, as he is now sent into exile and on an odyssey of lurking dangers, dashed hopes and thwarted ambitions. These changes spiral out of control as the young lad is forcibly torn from his family and uprooted from his homeland. He is soon dispatched to a seminary in Jerusalem where he is renamed Jonah, and then embarks on a discovery of his true heritage and new identity. Before long, this temporary sanctuary is snatched away. Jonah is still in his early years of adolescence and finds himself caught in the crossfire of the Holy City’s “unholy” wars. From that point on, Jonah walks through a tough life that finds him caught in a web of deceit and factional feuds. He is persecuted, and then narrowly escapes the snares of his nemesis, and then struggles through the spectre of hellish Turkish prisons. As innocence gives way to a life of difficulty and ageing before time, Jonah resorts to a fugitive subsistence in foreign lands. He finds himself recruited by his former foe to join a clandestine group. At this point, Jonah has to make a choice. Should he abandon his principles to carry out a barbaric mission to exact revenge? Or should he carve a new path and pursue an improbable dream in a new world?
Gray Wolves and White Doves is a great read. Replete with real life events and action-packed speeds, the thriller weaves a timeless tale of man’s perseverance. It allows the endurance of hope to bleed, in augmented evidence of the winning ways of the human spirit no matter how bleak the circumstances may be. Read the book for the audacity of hope that it professes, in the face of utmost difficulty.