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I am an avid reader of historical fiction, and I've always loved reading about World War 2 especially. In many books centered on this time period, the focus is on the Germans and atrocities committed by them. In Thief of Glory, readers are taken to another setting- the areas controlled by the Japanese. The book is set in what was then the Dutch East Indies. It is loosely based on stories from the author's grandparents.
The book is told as a story in first person. Jeremiah Prins is ten and lives in the Dutch East Indies as it's controlled by the Dutch. His father and older brothers are forced into conscripted labor when the Japanese take over, and he and his mother and younger siblings are taken to a concentration camp, a Jappenkamp. Jeremiah relates his story of life in the camp and the horrors that he witnesses on a daily basis. The book is a coming of age story set in a very harsh environment.
Thief of Glory is an excellent read. It's one of those that I just didn't want to stop reading, but I also didn't want to come to the end. It's hard to say that a book like this is "good." The terrible things that went on in the camps and that the reader knows are based on real things make the book a difficult one to come to terms with. But the book is written so well that readers truly get to know the characters, to feel a part of what's going on.
I finished Thief of Glory with a sense of loss. It was so well written, so compelling, so moving that I found it difficult to step away and breathe again. I don't often "gush" over the books I review, but Thief of Glory is one I truly can't help gushing over.
I give this one 5 strong stars (can I give it more?) and a PG-13 for content.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.