A Josh Radley Suspense Novel
Captives of Minara — The Story:
Journalist Josh Radley reluctantly travels to Pakistan—scene of a childhood trauma—at a time when its fragile democracy faces enormous challenges from militant Islamism. Instead of covering terrorism, Josh is commissioned to write about the glories of Pakistan’s ancient past. He arrives at the excavation of a 4500 year old Indus civilization city in the desert between India and Pakistan. Josh, his daughter Janice and wife Stephanie expect heat and dust but are unprepared to deal with sabotage, theft, kidnapping, and murder.
Josh’s investigations expose a brutal gang willing to smuggle anything for money, including women and children whom they consign to a life of slavery. Josh must first put to rest nightmares from a trauma experienced during his childhood as a missionary kid in Pakistan. Then he must restore intimacy to his marriage and come to grips with the criminal mastermind who threatens his family.
The book immerses the reader in Pakistani culture at a time when we all desperately need to understand that country. The action races from the site of an ancient city buried in the desert, along canals that crisscross the countryside, through the bazaars of a Pakistani town, onto a first class carriage on the fabled Khyber Mail express train to Lahore.
“Eric writes with such exceptional clarity that the reader feels immersed in the action and characters.” Jan Cox, freelance writer
“Captives of Minara, a modern epic adventure, will grip you from start to finish. Wright will skillfully carry you through the Pakistan desert landscape, the muddled landscape of Josh Radley’s failing marriage, and the sometimes treacherous landscape of local and Muslim culture. Enjoy the roller coaster journey.” Richard Grove, publisher, editor, author
“It hooked me from the very beginning…fast-paced. I didn’t want it to finish. I just wanted to keep reading.” Roni Glenn, Brighton Arts Council
“Captives of Minara had a great story line with continuous chapter by chapter flow, without any multiple and distracting sub-plots with numerous characters to remember. I loved the short chapters. It made the book flow faster and the read was accelerated with no boring dialogue or non-essential detail. It was a great sequel to the Lightning File and at the same time was still a great stand-alone novel.” Loren Sawatsky, Cobourg
“Captives of Minara is not just another well written adventure novel; it is a thoughtful and well delivered exposé of modern Pakistan. As such, we can place Captives of Minara in the same class as The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré. (For full review, see below.)” Francine Diot-Layton
“A bittersweet brew of archaeological discovery, faltering family relations, cross-cultural interaction, and the tragedies of modern slavery. Lots of action laced with delicious and sometimes heartbreaking details of Pakistani life.” Elma Schemenauer, author, editor
“Eric Wright’s tale of kidnapping unfolds with page turning suspense and honest heart wrenching. The characters and landscape come alive in our imaginations with Wright’s energetic and efficient prose…We follow as the magic of an exotic culture lures the hero into the mystery of loss in a foreign land.” Pat Calder, author
“Captives of Minara doesn’t just entertain; it educates. Through the experience of the hero, Josh Radley, the reader witnesses the splendour of a foreign country while being challenged by an underlying insecurity about how best to act within a different culture. The suspense takes the reader to the very edge … Much of the world is looking to Pakistan these days, with some discomfort on what it might be hiding. Eric Wright exposes one of the darker secrets that has not received enough media attention.” Kim Grove, editor, writer
“A well-wrought suspense novel ― timely and intelligent; a real page-turner.” Sheila Wright, author
“I enjoyed this book more than any other I have read in 2009 Tonight I just ordered two more books to give to friends…Eric Wright has written a moving book with plots and sub plots, that include human trafficking, political and police corruption, archaeology, accurate ancient history and descriptive life in rural Pakistan.” Allyn Huntzinger, Affinity Director, Christar, North America
“I couldn’t put the book down.” George Delaney
“What an excellent novel –great characters and plot , and I really enjoyed learning & absorbing the Pakistani culture.” Denise Courtin
“I loved the book! I was so busy but I started reading it on Monday and finished it on Wednesday! Such wonderful insights into Pakistan …I couldn’t wait until the next chapter.” Audrey Ogier
“It is a cliff-hanger.” Joan Bell
“I was held captive by Captives of Minara… Very good read! Your experience living in Pakistan really came into play, and I liked the glossary at the back. Lots of serious issues. I liked how food was everywhere. From chai to samosas to curried goat to cows chewing their cud! This book would make a good movie.” Diane Taylor, Spirit of the Hills writer
“Eric E. Wright’s second novel, Captives of Minara is a fast-moving adventure and mystery novel. Josh Radley returns to Pakistan, on a freelance assignment for a 4500 year old Indus excavation in an ancient river bed. In his second adventure, don’t expect Josh to run into suicide bombers, presidential candidate assassins or runaway Al Qaeda members. Instead, Josh and his accompanying family, wife Stephanie and daughter Janice discover a realistic Pakistan split between warm and humane people and a well organised gang involved in corruption, murder and human trafficking.
“The day of his arrival, Josh’s gracious and powerful host is implicated in the kidnapping of a young woman from a poor nomad tribe. Recent thefts and suspicious deaths greet him at the excavation dig. The suspense escalates when the fabled Khyber Mail Express train to Lahore is violently attacked. The race to rescue the kidnapped young women is on, and with it, the social and political fabric of Pakistani’s society unravels. Will the involvement of the military save her? Will the corrupt local police keep the military away from the investigation? When is enough corruption, torture and killing enough? Will the family recover from its ordeal?
“Superb characters supplement the breathtaking and page-turning suspense that makes Captives such a great read. Strong, intelligent and credible, the major characters are realistic with fears, doubts and flaws. Their occasional poor judgement helps the intrigue. Josh, our protagonist who narrates the tale, is riddled with personal problems: marriage, financial, and he is haunted with a personal childhood trauma. Regardless, Josh and his family seem to recover amazingly well from their adventures. All is well that ends – maybe a little too – well. Or does it really?
“The true tour de force in Captives is in the handling of the many contrasting aspects of the ancient and modern Pakistanis social, political, cultural and religious fabric against the Western world. The juxtaposition of extreme wealth and extreme poverty exposes the stark reality of the status of women and the poor. Yet, Eric shows us that, in a country founded on religious fundamentalism, people from different religion can help each other out with tolerance, warmth, and humanity. Eric knows Pakistan well, as he lived there as a young missionary.
“Captives of Minara is not just another well written adventure novel; it is a thoughful and well delivered exposé of modern Pakistan. As such, we can place Captives of Minara in the same class as The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré. In Eric’s own words: “Pakistan is a key ‘character’ in the book; the good and the bad. I wanted to leave the reader with a sense that Pakistanis, as people, have real empathy for those who suffer as Janice did.[…] And I wanted her, like many of those I have known, to really want to give Pakistan a second chance. Eric accomplished his goal remarkably well. Suicide bombers, presidential candidate assassins and runaway Al Qaeda members are only specs in a complex society.” Francine Diot-Layton