Title: Thief of Glory
Author: Sigmund Brouwer
Story Length: 319 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Jeremiah Prins is a 10-year-old Dutch boy living in the Dutch East Indies with his large family in 1942. His father is the headmaster at the local Dutch school. Then his father and three older step-brothers are taken away forcefully by the Japanese army, leaving young Jeremiah to provide for his remaining three younger siblings, his mother and himself. His mother suffers from a mental illness, though Jeremiah is too young to realize or understand this yet. His father tries to prepare him to take care of the family before he is taken. Jeremiah has a habit of fighting with other boys and is very methodical in doing so. He has been taught to never strike the first physical blow, but that he can respond vehemently once that has been done. He has a very controlled rage at a young age, which the story doesn’t tell us how this came to be. Soon after his father and brothers are taken away, the families’ possessions must be bartered to obtain food. The Dutch colonialist families left hear rumors that the Japanese army will be coming for them to take them to live in camps elsewhere and soon this inevitable event occurs. The remainder, with the exception of the last six chapters of the book, takes place in the Japanese camp.
I learned quite a bit about an aspect of WWII that I knew nothing about with the reading of this book. Even though it is fiction, the life in the Japanese camps was very realistic and horrifying. I never knew about this taking place in the Dutch East Indies. The research is well done and makes the story credible. However, I was expecting more of a Christian theme and more of a focus on the romance between Laura and Jeremiah as that is how the book is promoted and that was absent throughout the book. While the research did make the story realistic, it also made the story depressing and sad. I didn’t like the main character Jeremiah as a 10-year-old boy. He was very manipulative, calculating and cold. His intelligence in reading people, using and manipulating them seemed far above what is realistic in that of a 10-year-old boy. He did protect and provide for his family at a great cost to himself though, which was a positive aspect of his character. So I guess what I learned from this book about this time period and culture was illuminating, it really just wasn’t one of my favorites.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/. Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457