The US Review of Books:

“Paul promptly recovered his documents… Feeling uncomfortable, Paul moved away before looking back to see the contempt on the face of the officer turning into a smirk.”

Since the suicide of his twin brother, Paul Desilets has been in a state of limbo. He can’t shake his grief or his accompanying lethargy. His emotional turmoil leads to the belief his brother is trying to contact him. Paul makes the decision to pull himself from his grief by embarking on a two-year mission trip to work with the Foreign Mission Society in Guatemala. Though he is faced with hints of underlying societal problems upon his arrival in the city, he puts those aside when he reaches Concepción and begins his work with the teenagers of the village and assisting a medical student from the University of Quetzaltenango to establish a health clinic. As time passes, Paul settles into a routine and makes friends among the native villagers, learning their dialect and way of life. Soon, however, it becomes evident that unrest over the exploitation of the natives is growing, and that resistance factions and Guatemala’s military government are on a collision course.

Piché’s novel is the familiar tale of exploitative imperial power. Set in 1979, descendants of both the Spanish and Germans hold power in major cities, while the native Mayan population lives much as they have for centuries, producing enough to sustain themselves on small plots of land and selling hand-made crafts. The author does a brilliant job of portraying the lifestyle and mindset of the native population, painting a picture of a life lived with very little hope of material improvement, and it is easy to understand Paul’s deep commitment to the cause of his new friends. This is one of those novels that reveals the darkness underneath the façade presented to tourists and visitors of third-world countries. It shows a mastery of storytelling as well as an all-too-common tragedy of life.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Team Golfwell Review:

“I liked Blood for Freedom by Jean-Pierre Piche, a very talented and brilliant writer.

The book begins with a poignant quote concerning the theology of liberation which fits well with this dramatic story.

“When social, economic and political structures are violating human rights, reducing each other’s humanity, or forcing people to live in inhumane conditions, the Church has an obligation to denounce and condemn those structures and it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them.”

What follows is a well-written and very engaging story of a man searching for new meaning in his life and the political struggles in Guatemala.

The author writes extremely well. An excerpt:

“The Land Rover’s headlights pierced the thick, dark veil of a starless night. Since their departure from Quetzaltenango, Paul and Mireya had remained silent, lost in their thoughts. With their eyes wide open, they looked like two owls, their gaze fixed on the little they could see of the Pan-American Highway. They emerged from their torpor only when the glow of the capital city lights appeared in the distance.”

This well-paced exciting story begins with Paul leaving for Guatemala and saying goodbye to his family. Paul is searching for a new chapter in his life and the story continues at a good pace bringing you in deeper as you read each page.

This is not your usual story of typical political struggles but the exact opposite as it brings out strong feelings of basic fairness and a basic love for humanity which is something current society desperately needs to fight off jaded feelings and callousness brought on with the volume of information in today’s news about the tremendous amount of inhumane actions in the world.

From the first page to the last, the author shows consideration, compassion, clarity and very strong emotions for humanity as he writes with just the proper amount of detail to catch and keep your interest describing well what the oppressed in the world go through in great detail.

Finally, I loved the exciting and dramatic surprise ending of the book. This is the author’s first novel and I sincerely hope it won’t be his last and encourage him to share more stories like this. Highly recommended!

The Moving Words Review:

What happens when you realize that the path you’re taking seems to be a dead and lonely end? Will you stand up and make a change? Or, do you keep wallowing in your own misery?

Slowly falling into a deep dark hole, Paul Desilets struggles to find his light after the suicide of his twin brother. Determined to find his purpose, he volunteered to become a humanitarian aid worker and went on a mission to use his knowledge and skills to aid the Mayas in Guatemala. However, during this journey, Paul would realize that he had grown attached to the Mayas more so than he would have ever expected.

Blood for Freedom by J.P. Piche is an astounding piece of historical fiction set in Guatemala, moving to the events of the new guerilla war in Central America of the late 1970s. Aiming to help the youth, Paul finds himself in challenging and even traumatic experiences that compel him to become more involved with the Mayans’ cause.

Through this book, the author has allowed me to experience the enlightenment on the Mayan culture and their dark political issues that transpired years ago, which may be evident until now. The story talks about the fight for justice and freedom of the oppressed. Compendiously written with exquisite details, the book is a must-read for all ages! The story is easy enough for everyone to understand, although the main focus of the tale is an unfamiliar culture. It lends a feel to the story when the author arranges the flow of the narrative to reflect its structure which makes it easier to read. With every intense chapter comes, an even more captivating chapter follows, making it harder to stop reading.

The book highlights a bible verse quoting, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). With Paul finding himself in a dumbfounding journey between life and death, is putting his life at risk for the people dear to him who are suffering under the hands of powerful men his true calling?

Enjoy this journey through the Guatemalan highlands and the Peten jungle and find out what the future ultimately holds for Paul.

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