"The Garden of Burning Sand", by Corban Addison

The Garden of Burning Sand - Corban Addison

I couldn't help being tied in knots reading this novel although a work of fiction it was inspired by real issues and offered an authentic glimpse into the horrifying world of child sexual assault in the sub-Saharan Africa. This is actually of story of good people struggling to do right in this world.

This novel is a page turner and weaves together romance, family and human rights issues. While exploring a wide range of pressing world topics including the treatment of women in Africa Mr. Addison’s poignant novel takes us from the red light areas of Lusaka, Zambia, to the luxurious rooms of Washington D.C. high ups and to the splendor of Victoria Falls.

“The Garden of Burning Sand” follows the progress in the rape of a young girl with Down’s syndrome and the involvement of human rights lawyer Zoe Fleming who is determined to bring the case to justice. The action is firmly centered on Zoe and is told through her eyes. The plot is well-paced and provides some tension as she teams up with Joseph Zabuta. At every turn the two are thwarted of their investigation and they soon realize the criminals they seek are more corrupt and powerful than they thought. This book is also a riveting mystery.

This story is timely, topical and well- researched and embraces the full sweep of human experience. It deals bluntly with rape, AIDS, superstition and poverty. Zoe is an appealing character. Her interracial romance with Joseph is well handled as is the treatment of his positive HIV status. The story is well- done in setting, dialogues and action.