The Healer’s Daughters
A complicated, uplifting story of female courage.
After spending the first chapter with a young Galen at the bedside of his dying father in Pergamon, Asia Minor, in 148 CE, we are abruptly dropped into the mind of a suicide bomber in Bergama (modern-day Pergamon) in 2017. The man, an Irishman by birth but converted in prison, drives his truck toward the Aesklepion, the world’s historical center of healing, with the intention of blowing up the Acropolis cable car station and becoming a famous martyr for his cause.
From this terrible moment, we are suddenly on the promontory overlooking the horrific aftermath of the bombing, pacing and crying with Özlem Boroğlu, who until recently was the local director of Archeology and Antiquities. She knows that what occurred was only to cover up the real crime going on: the looting of priceless artifacts by ISIL to sell to international buyers. Soon she is joined by her daughter Elif, artist and worshipper of the old mother goddesses, who joins her weeping.
Tuğçe Iskan, a Turkish Ministry investigator, sits in her office and tries to make the connections between this bombing, Özlem Boroğlu, and the powerful Hamit crime family. An outsider in her own family because she is left-handed and therefore unclean, she does not mind being an outsider in her job. She trusts almost no one.
We are also introduced to other women: Haziz, the mother of Mahmet, the boy fatally injured in the bombing who holds a coin and a clue; the unnamed wife of a suicide bomber whose eleven-year-old son is taken from her and also made a suicide bomber, and who eventually takes her own life rather than be raped by the sheik who took theirs.
There are men, obviously, such as Serkan Boroğlu, son of Özlem, but he, like most of the men in the story, are the cause of the problems, either due to greed or ignorance. Even those who seem harmless cause harm through their rash decisions and inability to reason calmly. There are, however, a few who are truly selfless and literally sacrifice themselves for others.
At its heart, The Healer’s Daughters by Jay Amberg is a story of the healing, necessary power of female relationships and the strength women possess alone and in groups. I was not expecting to discover this theme when I began reading but was beyond satisfied with the direction the author took the story and the sense of hope at the conclusion.
|Page Count||312 pages|
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|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|