“I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway.”
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to “let the dirt fly” and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats.
It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Hold begins to protect a mulatto girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires, sins, and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course–or bring an end to it.
A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire brings to life the most impressive–and embattled–engineering achievement of the twentieth century.
The world building was well done enough that I had no trouble jumping into 1909 Panama. Where this novel truly shines is in the character building. There are a few characters I have trouble understanding but they are minor characters from a culture and time very different from my own. The characters who spend the most time in the forefront are so well developed that I could easily see them in existence, though this is a work of fiction and many of them likely don’t exist.
The story is very drawn out, making this a slow read for me. Even around half way through, the story hadn’t quite picked up into the storyline promised in the blurb. It was difficult for me to be interested in finishing this book because it feels as though additional questions are forthcoming while any answers are drawn out or withheld entirely. Overall, I rate Saffire 1 out of 5 bookworms.
For more information about Sigmund Brouwer and his work, visit his website.
I received a proof of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for this honest review.