Lebanon was a paradise when I first arrived there as a young man. The golden sun and brilliant sea, the ancient streets, the hubbub of cultures, the food and wines, the tanned and sensual young women, the perfume of many million flowers, the pine hills and cold white peaks, all imbued it with a near-sacred substance. This, I felt, is a place where all peoples come together, vibrant with history, wisdom, lust, and delight.
Civil war soon turned Lebanon into a battlefield of smashed buildings and bloody streets.
Syria was one of the loveliest places on our planet. Damascus, Homs and other cities so old that every handful of dust was thick with centuries of human flesh and blood. Iridescent valleys of stone farms and Roman roads, a vibrant seashore, the roots of agriculture, architecture, and commerce.
Civil war soon turned Lebanon into a battlefield of smashed buildings and bloody streets, its Phoenician treasures blasted, its forests and vineyards burned, its people huddled in bombed-out basements or sniping at each other from shattered windows, hating, killing, raping, pillaging. I survived by luck, by tricks, even in dark places where discovery was death. Everywhere I lived is gone, every good friend is dead. I refuse to let them die, to see it gone, without a testament, a memory.
As the years go by, brokenhearted by Lebanon and now by Syria, and as the bloodbath of religious war spreads from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush and down through Africa, I try to understand – why do we war? After having covered wars on three continents, I can find no answer beyond the experience itself. What I mean is this: only when we have lived war do we hate it enough to make it stop. For in every country, every city, neighborhood and family, war is waiting.
For in every country, every city, neighborhood and family, war is waiting.
If everyone could live Lebanon, I thought, we might war less. If I could tell one small true story, let the reader fear the bullets, crouch beneath the thundering bombs in airless cellars as the concrete floors come crashing down, see loved ones die, grope for passion and belief amid terror and death, it might make a difference.
Today fiction often withers because it is too literary, too ego-centered or escapist, and ceases to be relevant. If we are to learn we must do so through the heart, not through the mind – a book that does not touch the heart conveys no experience at all.
Like many people I still live Lebanon and Syria every day, every night, and will probably continue to live it the rest of my life. I have tried in Holy War to tell their story.
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By Mike Bond
The Battle of Beirut is worse than hell, a maelstrom of implacable hatred and frantic love affairs, of explosions, sniper battles and deadly ambushes. Neill, an American journalist on a secret mission for Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency, is trying to find Mohammed, a Hezbollah terrorist who could stop the slaughter.
André, a French commando, is also hunting Mohammed, to kill him for the death of his brother, blown up with more than 400 US Marines and French paratroopers by Hezbollah. For Rosa, a remorseless and passionate Palestinian guerrilla, Mohammed is one of few hopes for her people and she will die to protect him. And for lovely Anne-Marie, André is the only one who can save her from hell.
Based on the author’s experiences in Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East, HOLY WAR has been praised for its portrayal of civil war, and for its evocation of men and women caught in a deadly crossfire.
“A supercharged thriller set in the hell hole that was Beirut…A story to chill and haunt you.”
– Petersborough Evening Telegraph (UK)
“A fast-paced, beautifully written, heart-breaking thriller … One of the best reads of 2014.” – NetGalley Reviews
“A gripping tale of passion, hostage-taking and war.” – Evening News (UK)
“Action-filled thriller.” − Manchester Evening News (UK)
“A profound tale of war.”− British Armed Forces Broadcasting
“A pacy and convincing thriller.”− Daily Examiner (UK)
“A marvelous book – impossible to put down.”
− London Broadcasting
“A tale of fear, hatred, revenge, and desire, flicking between bloody Beirut and the lesser battles of London and Paris.”− Evening Herald (UK)