4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Drawn Into Danger: Living on the Edge in the Sahara by Keith Costelloe is a fictional story that follows David Graham. The year is 1978, and David wants more out of life since his work life in England isn't much to write home about. He gets an English teaching job in Algeria, and he sees it as an opportunity to not only make more money but also experience something different. Nevertheless, going to Algeria would change his life completely, as what starts as a fairly good experience quickly throws him into the middle of a secret police investigation. With his freedom and life at stake, how will he survive being drawn into a dangerous situation that he knows little to nothing about?
The story is told from the first-person perspective, as David takes charge of narrating the events that happened forty years ago through his own eyes. Besides the infusion of action and thrilling scenes, David's story also explores themes of love and friendship by introducing key characters that David would meet during his time in Algeria, including Moussa, Liz, and Sue. They not only looked out for each other fiercely, which was ultimately one of the reasons they found themselves involved with the secret police, but they also loved each other romantically, even to the point of exploring these feelings at some point in the story. I loved how much they loved and cared for each other and how they came out of their shells to express this love beyond sexual relations, especially Liz who was more reserved initially.
Another aspect of the book that stood out for me was the author's noticeable effort to make this fiction story as real as possible. Almost throughout the story, I was convinced that the events actually occurred in real life. Keith Costelloe's extensive knowledge of Algeria was on full display while he took us through the culture and numerous intriguing places, like Tipaza, Assekrem, Ghardaïa, and Bou Saâda. Even more fascinating was how well he incorporated true-life happenings into the story, bringing into focus the struggle Algeria was facing against rebels that aimed to disrupt the country's independence. The author's descriptive writing also shone through in these areas, as he never missed the chance to fully immerse readers into the environment David experienced, even down to the smell.
Furthermore, telling the story through David's eyes masterfully puts you into his shoes, and you will get to feel the same anxiety and suspense he felt from not knowing anything about why the police wanted his services or the extent of the threat to his life. He gradually learned the truth while the story went on, and each step of the way, the stakes continued to get higher since thwarting rebel activities depended on his success at times. I was always on the edge of my seat while I read this story.
Also, Drawn Into Danger: Living on the Edge in the Sahara was a professionally well-edited book since I found very few minor errors while reading. I cannot think of any aspect of this book that requires an improvement, and I enjoyed every part of it. Therefore, I rate this novel four out of four stars. The author is a brilliant writer, and I can't wait to read his next book, which promises to channel his knowledge of Malaysia. Readers who enjoy thrillers that involve espionage will enjoy this book. Historical fiction lovers will also be entertained by several aspects of this novel.
Drawn Into Danger
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon