Monday, July 1, 2002

Freedom Trap: "Promise of Zion" Book 5

Robert Elmer's "Promise of Zion" series continues with the recently released 5th book, Freedom Trap. (The author announces in this book that the series will finish with the next book, True Betrayer.)

This book finds Emily on the island of Cypress, visiting the Jews at the refugee camp run by the British. Remembering a promise she made to Dov -- to do anything she could to find his parents -- she continues her search for Dov's mother. Dov, meanwhile, has returned to the Old City Jewish Quarter with his brother Natan. Arabs bomb the area daily, and soon Dov finds himself living in a crowded apartment with a Jewish family and nearly a dozen small girls from a nearby (now destroyed) orphanage. Soon we see a new side of Dov, who now considers others, not just himself. Somehow he must get the orphans to safety.

While the British pull up their final stakes, in a hurry to leave the area, the Arabs mercilessly attack the Jews--who will soon declare their new nation of Israel. Emily, too, sees the harsh reality along a highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: cars and trucks wrecked everywhere along the road, and groups of Arabs from the hillsides above waiting to attack any more non-British vehicles.

As in the previous books, Elmer tells a thrilling action-adventure with great historical detail. This book introduces additional elements of 1948 Palestine, including life in the refugee camp, where the British have detained thousands of Jews who sought a new home in Israel. Though nothing like the Nazi concentration camps, conditions are harsh and many Jews die of diseases such as tuberculosis. Another historical detail, a hanging trolley run by cables above Jerusalem, provides an interesting plot-device (though the author notes that this train did not in fact exist until later that year).

Freedom Trap is another excellent book for young people, and a book that sparks interest in the real historical events of Israel's founding in the late 1940s.

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