I have just finished Thief of Glory and I am emotionally raw. I will be thinking about this novel for a while. Sigmund Brouwer has opened my eyes to the pain, loss, and suffering of the Dutch prisoners of war during WWII. I'm ashamed to say that I knew absolutely nothing about the Dutch prisoners of the Jappenkamps and the brutality the Dutch endured while being held under cruel conditions by the Japanese in charge of the Jappenkamp. I thank Brouwer for sharing this gut wrenching story of survival, death, and mercy. Brouwer has based this book loosely on his parents childhood and the unforgettable time his family spent in the Jappenkamp. His own grandfather was a Dutch soldier, taken captive as a prisoner of war, and forced in to slave labor on the notorious Death Railway. Brouwer spares the reader nothing as the narrator, a ten year old boy named Jeremiah, describes daily life in camp and the struggles to survive without proper food or much needed medical supplies. I was unable to put this book down. There were a couple of incidents, shared by the book's two main characters, that caused my heart to beat wildly out of control. Seriously!!
I have read other reviews that describe disappointment about the subject matter being so grim and brutal. I can't imagine a story based on life in Jappenkamp, now that I know what a Jappenkamp is, would be anything but. This was during a time of war. A horrifying, murdering war that destroyed so many lives!! However, there were beautiful moments and happy occasions, and moments that made me appreciate the life I have led. I ended this book thinking that Brouwer must have been using GLORY as a metaphor for TIME. It made sense to me once I reached the end, had I replaced one word with the other, THEIF OF TIME would have been just as fitting.
Sigmund Brouwer has written a powerful, phenomenal loving tribute to his parents, a grandfather he never knew, and ALL of the brave Dutch who died and survived in the Jappenkamps of the Dutch East Indies, known today as Indonesia. Respect!!
Thanks to bloggingforbooks.com for sharing this amazing story with me. My review is as honest as they come. Sigmund Brouwer, thank you for opening my eyes and heart.
*If you would like more info about the Jappenkamp, please go to the author's website at www.thiefofglory.com. There you will find books that tell the accounts of true survivors. Other book related info can be found there as well.