Auguste and The Condition by M. L. Sanford
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Auguste Kensley and his boyhood friend, Raj barely survives their neighborhood in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a fatherless and only child, Auguste and his friend overcome the obstacles that would keep them in their poverty-filled world and dead by the age of 15. A fortunate meeting with a freelance news writer for tabloids provides an opportunity for Auguste to finally escape and become a man and not a statistic. Raj too takes on the family business in the U.S. and manages to survive. After a few years Auguste recognizes that he is in a dead-end job and seeks other opportunities. He selfishly suggests that his friend, Raj go abroad to visit his family while also growing the family business. Raj agrees but only if Auguste joins him.
Both friends face their own brand of terror. While Auguste’s is the focus, Raj experiences a terror much closer to home:
“The big deal? Man, now you don’t understand,” said Raj. The look of puzzlement on his face was comical to Auguste, he was so serious when it came to his problems but for Auguste’s, well, his were just silly. That was how Auguste felt about it anyway. “When you go for a visit to India,” he said, “they don’t expect you to stay a week, or even two. It’s at least a month, even more,” the treble tone in his voice rising as he got more exasperated, it getting shriller the more he talked about it.
Auguste is thrust into a world beyond his realm. He discovers love, loss, desperation, fear and despair. Kidnapped by a “crime boss” Auguste finds himself given over to a terrorist group for ransom. Sequestered into a dark hole, the terrorists break him. They isolate him for 196 days, keeping him in a constant state of the unknown. His girlfriend, Jasmine, along with Raj raise the ransom money required to release him.
His release is on one condition … and Auguste is the only one who can know about the condition. His failure to follow-through with it means Jasmine will die. Faced with yet another ethical dilemma, Auguste must decide alone what to do when that condition arrives.
“Maybe this vacation, this experience of life and death on the other side of the world, actually worked, giving me a new purpose.”
Definitely an action-packed story with a well-developed plot and characters; it demonstrates the psychological damage a victim of kidnapping faces. Furthermore, it outlines what captivity of any kind can do to a person – physically, psychologically and emotionally. Believable and well-executed.
I enjoyed reading Sanford’s book and hope to read more by him. He writes well, keeping the reader hooked throughout!
WordsAPlenty highly recommends this book with 5 stars.
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