The Doctor of Aleppo: A Novel
Syria’s civil war may best be chronicled as a novel. Not simply because the atrocities beggar belief and gain nothing from their nightly graphic screen images on television, but because fiction ultimately delivers facts more intimately. Predictably the names, as the saying goes, may be changed to protect the innocent. But in The Doctor of Aleppo there are no innocents. In 2011, a surgeon must cope with an unceasing stream of hideous war wounds, becoming a hero to his patients and his family. His heroism is matched by Hannah, a young American woman working in Aleppo for an environmental company. Syria is already drawing international censure.
ISIS enters the fray, another front to contend with, and slaughter multiplies and bloodies the pages. Hannah suffers terror and violence, and her Swedish boyfriend is gone. She becomes nanny to the newly widowed doctor’s children, hiding and comforting them while their home, the hospital, and whole districts are bombed. As the years pass and worsen, the chapters integrate two paths. One addresses grisly details of the doctor’s surgery and the lasting enmity caused when a young patient, the son of a military officer, dies. The second involves metaphorical and physical roadblocks to halt attempts as the doctor, Hannah, and the children’s struggle to escape by crossing the border into Turkey.
Perhaps, as the story of the war is sadly familiar, Dan Mayland’s time span could have been reduced without diminishing the impact. The pace is swift and intense, with knowledge of Aleppo’s geography complementing the significant human interaction.
|Page Count||450 pages|
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|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|