Sav­ing Sophie

  • Review
By – May 19, 2015

Sav­ing Sophie reunites the team of Chica­go pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor Liam Tag­gert and attor­ney Cather­ine Lock­hart from Ronald Balson’s pre­vi­ous nov­el, Once We Were Broth­ers. They are joined by a large cast of intrigu­ing and cred­i­ble characters.

Jack Som­mers, a Jew­ish accoun­tant, has trag­i­cal­ly lost his wife Ali­na to a sud­den ill­ness. His father-in-law, Dr. Arif-al-Zahani, fights Jack for cus­tody of his daugh­ter Sophie and even­tu­al­ly kid­naps her. Al-Zahani is a sus­pect­ed Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist and part of the vio­lent Sons of Canaan cell intent on end­ing Jew­ish exis­tence in Israel. He resides in an impen­e­tra­ble com­pound in vio­lent and dan­ger­ous Hebron. It is there he keeps Sophie and tries to turn her against her father and the Amer­i­can way of life.

In Jack’s des­per­a­tion to get Sophie back he aligns him­self with Russ­ian mob­sters who promise him help in res­cu­ing Sophie. Togeth­er they work out an embez­zle­ment scheme to get the ran­som mon­ey. Jack steals $88 mil­lion from his law firm’s client, flees from Chica­go to Hawaii to await word from his cohorts, and runs into a for­mer close friend, Mar­cy. He is the sub­ject of an intense hunt by his firm’s PI, Mosad agents, the CIA, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, and the local police.

Kay­la Cum­mings, an Israeli oper­a­tive work­ing with the Amer­i­cans, has her sights set on Al-Zahani and sees Jack and Liam as her entrée into his clan­des­tine activ­i­ties. The three of them must make their way to Hebron to ran­som Sophie, but also to mon­i­tor and thwart a sus­pect­ed dead­ly plot of large proportions.

The fast-paced intrigue and plot twists seize the read­er from the engross­ing open­ing to the stir­ring end­ing. Bal­son reveals infor­ma­tion bit by bit and drops enough clues for the read­er to steadi­ly read on. The many threads of the nar­ra­tive include kid­nap­ping, mur­ders, embez­zle­ment schemes, real­is­tic court­room scenes, col­lege bas­ket­ball point shav­ing, con­tin­u­ing and new love sto­ries, and inves­tiga­tive and anti-ter­ror­ist techniques.

At the heart of the action is the Arab-Israeli con­flict. His­tor­i­cal, polit­i­cal, and bib­li­cal infor­ma­tion infus­es the char­ac­ters’ sto­ries and quan­daries, encom­pass­ing thou­sands of years of enmi­ty, deep-seat­ed prej­u­dices, and the often dis­put­ed or over­looked facts behind per­son­al and reli­gious tragedies.

Sav­ing Sophie is a page turn­ing read filled with despair and anger but with hope, love, and human­i­ty at its core.

Relat­ed Content:

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

Discussion Questions