Addictive reading: My review of "The Garden of Burning Sand" by Corban Addison


The Garden of Burning Sand


about the book....

Zoe Fleming is an American attorney working with an NGO devoted to combating child sexual assault in Lusaka, Zambia. When an adolescent girl is raped in the dark of night and delivered by strangers to the hospital, Zoe’s organization is called in to help.

Working alongside Zambian police officer Joseph Kabuta, Zoe learns that the girl’s assailant was not a street kid or a pedophile but the son of a powerful industrialist with deep ties to the Zambian government. As the prosecution against him grinds forward, hampered by systemic corruption and bureaucratic inertia, Zoe and Joseph’s search for the truth takes them from Lusaka’s roughest neighborhoods to the wild waters of Victoria Falls, to the AIDS-ridden streets of Johannesburg and the splendour of Cape Town.

As the rape trial builds to a climax and sends shockwaves through Zambian society, Zoe must radically reshape her assumptions about love, loyalty, family—and, especially, the meaning of justice.


my review....


Written with a lyrical beauty and yet also bursting with action-packed drama, The Garden of Burning Sand is a compelling read from start to finish. I'm always drawn to books that take place in Africa, a land filled with beauty and ancient history and yet often gripped in violence and corruption, but this story is particularly unique. The tale is heart-stirring, one focused on the plight of a special needs child who has been raped on the streets of Zambia, serving as a poignant backdrop for the main character Zoe Fleming to come alive with her zeal for justice. I absolutely fell in love with her character, with her passion for the oppressed and her non-stop efforts to thwart evil, no matter the consequences. All of the characters are wonderfully developed and are intriguing in their complexity and heart-break, and I was held spellbound by the suspenseful scenes that they raced through. The farther into the story I went, the more impossible it became to put the book down until I finally resigned myself to getting very little sleep until I had concluded the story!

Corban Addison has woven a masterful tale, and it is hard to believe this is only his second novel. I missed the chance to read his debut, but I will certainly be keeping out my eye for it now, as well as anticipating what the future will hold. I highly recommend The Garden of Burning Sand and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


about the author....

CORBAN ADDISON is a litigation attorney and a supporter of human-rights and social-justice causes around the world. He holds degrees in law and engineering and lives with his wife and children in Virginia.