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Friday 17 April 2020

‘Lotus in the Sand’ by Pete Maroza

Published by Book Guild Publishing Ltd,
28 November 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-91288195-6

Hamish McFarlane is an ex-soldier who previously served in Afghanistan.  He now uses his expertise to make a living as a security expert.  When a terror attack destroys a remote oil field in Iraq, McFarlane is hired to investigate the security breach.  In this most inhospitable of environments, he meets and falls in love with an American aid worker, Claire Denton.  Claire is as determined as he is to make the world a better place.  Iraq’s political and social instability consistently place the couple in jeopardy, although they soon discover that treachery and violence are to be found closer to home than they realise.

In a world in which everyone is a potential enemy and danger lies in every check point and town that they encounter; they must negotiate a variety of terrorist cells and militia groups as well as apparently respectable commercial companies.  Will their relationship survive?  Will they survive?  This is a tale that explores the brutal reality of life in a warzone and the ways in which Western capital invests in some very questionable business deals.  The mix of Kurdish, Iraqi and British politico-economic relationships is both fascinating and terrifying.

The book includes striking descriptions of the Iraqi landscape and reveals the author’s fascination with and empathy for the country, its people and their customs.  McFarlane’s attempts to escape from the horrors of the war in Afghanistan and the atrocities he has witnessed inject the narrative with poignancy as the story builds up to a thrilling climax.

Lotus in the Sand depicts events that are vicious, disturbing and often dark.  The story is hard-hitting and has a sting in its tail.  Pete Maroza has written a fine debut novel that will appeal to those who enjoy action-packed adventure stories that are well-researched and carefully plotted. 
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent

Pete Maroza worked for a Private Security Company in Iraq for several years. He now lives and works in the Middle East, having previously travelled extensively.
Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.     

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