The year was 1909, and “I was living in the prime of human advancement… There had been Kitty Hawk only six years earlier, and the Model T… there was not much left for humans to achieve.”
James Holt is standing at the precipice of all time, the digging of the Panama Canal. As events unfold involving the mysterious girl Saffire, Holt finds himself torn between his assignment from President Teddy Roosevelt and his desire to protect the young woman.
Sigmund Brouwer has taken a history lesson and turned it into a compelling story of people and the times in which they lived. The plot twists are a testament to his ability to create a page turner; Brouwer even saves a mystery for the last page of the author’s notes!
Brouwer contrasts the backdrop of Holt’s ranch in the Dakotas with the humid landscape of Panama. In his description of each, the reader gets a view of two worlds and a look at the cultures that shape them. Brouwer also throws in gems such as these:
“Each person travels his own journey to or away from God. My own belief came at a price that I was still not sure I would have paid if given a choice: the death of my wife, who in leaving this world had shown me the joy that comes with faith and how it strengthens us to endure all circumstances.” p. 258
“I smiled sadly, thinking of the woman I had loved and now mourned. Or maybe the sadness came because for the first time since her death, there was a woman that I wanted to love. I could not escape a sense that love for someone else might lead to the death of my memory of the woman I mourned.” p. 281
“’Saffire.’ I softened my tone. ‘You can’t be responsible for the bad things other people choose to do.’” p. 303
Some things we learn from personal experience, and sometimes we’re spared, and learn from others. That’s the bonus of reading a seasoned author like Sigmund Brouwer. Gain a new appreciation for the marvels of manmade wonders, like the building of the Panama Canal, and the people who masterminded the advance of the modern world!
FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”