"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Walk Across the Sun Exposes Modern Day Slavery in This New Fictional Thriller

A Walk Across the Sun
Author:  Corban Addison
Publisher:  Harper Collins Canada and Sterling Publishing in USA
Publication date:  2012
On Sale 13/01/2012
Pages: 448
Available as an ebook, trade paperback, hardcover (384 pages)
Genre:  legal thriller 
ISBN-13: 978-1402792809

Source:  an ARC was provided by the publisher for staff at the bookstore which in no way influences this review nor my opinion.

"An unforgettable journey into the underworld of modern-day slavery, A Walk Across the Sun begins on December 26, 2004, as seventeen-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her younger sister, Sita, are walking on the beach outside their home in Chennai, India. Suddenly, the unimaginable happens: a devastating tsunami hits the shore, tearing their family apart instantly and leaving them orphaned and alone. As they attempt to travel toward safety inland, they are kidnapped and delivered to a Mumbai brothel, to begin new lives as 
captive prostitutes.

In Washington, DC, a young lawyer, Thomas Clarke, is forced to take a sabbatical from his prestigious law firm. He chooses to serve his time with a non-profit group working in the red-light areas of Mumbai, where his wife, Priya, has returned to live with her family following the tragic loss of their child. Little does he know that his reluctant penance will soon turn into an international quest for the woman he has lost and a child he has never met.

Though separated by half a world, the destinies of Thomas and the Ghai sisters become intertwined as Sita is trafficked to Paris and then New York. Before long, Thomas is navigating the brutal system of international human trafficking in an effort to reunite the sisters and save Sita’s life. Unflinchingly gritty yet ultimately hopeful, A Walk Across the Sun is an eye-opening tale of family and survival." (from Harper Collins)

''We’re taught in history class that slavery ended with the Civil War,” says author Corban Addison, “when in reality there are more slaves alive in the world today than ever before.” In fact, today there are 27 million slaves in the world. 2 million children are exploited in the global sex trade. Trafficking in persons touches every nation on the globe and reaps $32 billion in profits worldwide each year."

Shocked?  Horrified?  I was stunned by the statistics!  

A Walk Across the Sun is the story of two sisters, Ahalya and Sita, enjoying their teenage years growing up in a loving family in a coastal town in India.  The day of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami is the day their lives change forever.  Lost to the forces of nature, their parents are dead and the girls orphaned.  As they find a ride to take them to a city where an aunt will meet them, they are abducted and sold into a brothel.  

The days ahead will see them sold again and separated.  Sita finds herself in a restaurant in Paris, working as a slave and her sister Ahalya is confined to the prison of a brothel.  

In another land, across the ocean, lawyer Thomas Clarke finds himself a scapegoat in his firm and takes a sabbatical in India, working pro bono with a team, CASE, whose cause it is to break up the human trafficking rings.  When Thomas becomes involved in an operation that frees Ahalia, the cause takes on a human component, one that touches him deeply, and he vows to do all in his power to reunite the sisters.  His promise takes him to three countries, emphasizing the magnitude of the nature of human trafficking, both into slavitude and prostitution.

A Walk Across the Sun is a compelling thriller that will open your eyes to the horrors of modern day slavitude.  It is a story of hope, of love and loyalty.  You will find it beseeching you to not turn a blind eye, but to feel a desire to make a difference yourself, and you can.  In the acknowledgements, author Corban Addison offers links to organizations that make it their lives' work to fight the underground system of human slavery and trafficking.

I have to admit that the endorsement by John Grisham, one of my all-time favourite legal thriller writers, enticed me to read this book.  As Mr. Grisham states he has been approached by others to endorse their novels, never before has he done so.  This is the first time Mr. Grisham has endorsed a novel, and that, in and of itself, made it impossible to resist.  The story and writing of Corban Addison made it impossible to put down!  

If there is one new author in the field of legal thrillers you read in the coming year, make it Corban Addison.  Great things are expected of this writer!

About the Author
Corban Addison holds degrees in law and engineering from the University of Virginia and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. After completing a federal clerkship, Addison began his career specializing in corporate law and litigation. He has an abiding interest in international human rights, and is a supporter of numerous causes, including the abolition of modern slavery.

In researching A Walk Across the Sun, Addison traveled to India and spent a month with a team of investigators, attorneys and social workers from the International Justice Mission. During his visit, he went undercover into the brothels of Mumbai and met trafficking victims face to face. In addition, he spent time with activists in Paris and with a senior official from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Addison lives with his wife and two children in Virginia. This is his first novel. (from the press release)

Rated 4.5/5 (mature themes but no graphic details)

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