Savagery and Saviors by Ken Hollern

Savagery and Saviors by Ken Hollern
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (256 Pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

So tiny is the peak and how sheer the slope when atop the world. The gravity of fate weighs heavier and heavier until all one hears is the incessant echo of a final question: How far will I fall and where shall I land? Belief in self-determination of fate is the most enticing mirage. At one time or another we are all deceived into believing destiny is within control. Live right, do unto to others well, and prosper-the mantra of fools. Fortune is altered a thousand times per second. We face countless choices every day. How much thought do we really give each choice? Cole Newman had a choice to work late or make a date with his wife. Not a big deal? Think again. If he’d chosen wisely she would not be dead. If he hadn’t again succumbed to ambition, he would be with his toddler son. Strewn into the middle of an international child trafficking ring, Cole’s path would lead to Rochelle, an undercover reporter more fearless and capable than any person he’d ever met. Their quest to rescue stolen children would take them from Oakland to Singapore and into the heart of genocidal Sudan. Powerful men, professional killers, could not let them succeed. Their fate and those they vowed to save would eventually rest in the hands of an African boy, a young prodigy leading his village from savagery and slaughter.

A boy avenging the murder of his Sudanese father, a journalist with a heroin addict’s confession, and a man hell-bent on saving people – all three come together in this international child trafficking story.

Rochelle takes center stage in the opening. She is an Oakland journalist hoping to hit the big time by busting a child sex trafficking ring wide open. She is smart. She is beautiful. She is a former helicopter pilot, and she has just finagled her way onto a cargo ship where she suspects children are being smuggled.

But unbeknownst to everyone including himself, the shipyard has another hero. Cole Newman, a former NFL player and all around nice guy, is going about his duties inspecting millions of dollars’ worth of quarantined adhesive when he hears a scream. Cole takes on a gang of thugs and ends up battered, beaten, and locked inside a shipping container headed to Singapore.

On the other side of the world is Abou. A seventeen-year-old boy from the Western Dafur village of Balla in the African country of Sudan. And his world is about to change.

This story moves back and forth between land and sea, each with its own horrible reality. Savagery and Saviors is multiple stories eventually coming together as one. Rochelle, Cole, and Abou are the main characters. Still, knowing the identity of these three protagonists doesn’t always keep the story centered. Add the ship’s captain, who plays a vital role; Dave Martin, the captain’s assistant, with an equally integral part; plus Ismail, a Janjaweed mercenary who is a major driving force … then add thirteen kidnapped kids. Every character has a purpose—there are no wasted parts, but switching from one to another sporadically throughout the story becomes tedious. And although the story was definitely good enough to keep reading, I found myself bothered by the unexpected, and sometimes silly, amorous feelings between Rochelle and Cole. Their unqualified romantic moods did not advance the story, especially in the midst of treacherous, brutal battles and life-threatening circumstances.

The child trafficking portion of the story was fascinating. I don’t know how the horrible deed actually plays out in real life, but Savagery and Saviors likely paints a realistic picture.

If you enjoy stories about mercenaries, terrorism, and human trafficking, this story has a lot to offer. It is several stories all rolled into one and is sure to keep you hooked to the very end.

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