“Soul on Fire” by Tal Bauer

about

A deadly virus burns through the jungle, leaving nothing but corpses in its wake. Everyone flees from the outbreak—except for the terrorists intent on weaponizing the catastrophe.

Lieutenant Elliot Davis, US Navy SEAL, is sent to rescue CIA officers from their clandestine base in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and evacuate them out of the country. What they’ve uncovered sends Elliot back to the Congo, trying to prevent an attack that could spark a global pandemic.

Dr. Ikolo Ngondu runs a refugee hospital caught between the advancing rebels intent on slaughtering everyone in their path and Elliot’s mission to find and capture their leader. In the chaos of a surprise attack, Elliot’s target slips away, and the only way to find him is to plunge into the Congo’s dark, dangerous, and fevered forest with Ikolo as his guide.

Together they track a burning shadow through Africa’s broken heart, and Elliot struggles to reconcile the world he finds with the life he’s lived as a black man in the West. He looks to Ikolo for answers and finds a man with a core so bright and fierce he scorches Elliot’s soul.

Even as they race against time, Elliot and Ikolo have no idea what’s been set in motion with their mission: a dark secret lies at the center, one that leaves billions of lives hovering between life and death.

And through it all, a question burns inside Elliot, one that only Ikolo may hold the answer to. 

review

Ruthless.
Unforgiving.
Haunting. 

This book nearly broke me.
I can’t say I loved it. But I certainly cherished parts.
I can’t say I hated it. But I was definitely distraught a time or ten.
I’m still shaken. Rattled to my core. Once I catch my breath and my pulse settles, I’ll try and string more than a few rambles together.
All I can say for now is, it’s over and Deputy Samuel Gerard said it best…I’m glad. Cuz, damn, I need the rest.

•••
Okay, I’m back and have refreshed my reserves. I was running on fumes and could barely hold my head up before. This book consumed me, day and night for days!
I’ve decided the “mystery book grab” is not something that should be taken lightly. At least for me. Ha! #lessonlearned
This was my first book by Tal. (I know, I know, where have I been?!)
I had no clue what it was about when I requested it. No title. No cover. No blurb.
Now I know why (btw I’m totally awestruck that this was written in a month. Mad respect for Bauer) but at the time, I was clueless.

It was a bit like…playing with fire.
And yes, I was burned.
At the time I was upset. I was unsettled. Yet, for every step backward I took, the story pushed two forward.
It was…in your face.
It was…look at me.
It was…now do you see? Good. Don’t forget.
Oh…I promise I won’t.

Elliot and Ikolo meet under dreadful conditions. It seems impossible to consider romance existing in the middle of an Ebola crisis in the Congo. And I would argue that this is not a romance.
But it IS a love story.
A hauntingly beautiful love story.
Two men face insurmountable challenges.
It’s as if they are tightrope walking blindfolded over a minefield towards an inferno and every precarious step is hotter than the last. The flames lick and singe until the inevitable combustion blows. And accepting the blaze is the only option.
Souls catch fire…and they weren’t alone.
I won’t lie, this book hurts.
But it also gives you hope.
And there’s no greater gift a book can give you than that.

So, Tal, it was nice to meet you. Truly, I’m grateful and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again. But not right away! My battered heart can’t take anything that bites back for awhile.

 

bookisforThis is one of those profound experiences that I don’t quite feel comfortable recommending unless I know you personally. But I will say this extraordinary story touched me deeply and will remain with me forevermore.

 

bookinfo

TITLE: Soul on Fire
AUTHOR: Tal Bauer
PUBLISHER: self-pub
LENGTH: 280 pages
RE-RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2019
BUY LINKS: Amazon

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