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During my career as a paramedic I came face to face with scenes most people would rather not think about. Having experienced life in the most deadly and gut wrenching events, and work alongside the police service, I have the fodder for creating intense novels. My creative DNA ran amok within two months after my first novel, The Guardian's Wildchild, was published. I couldn't believe Forbidden was desperate to be told. I resisted. It was futile.
Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Suspenseful and beguiling, Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket by F. Stone is a thriller that features terrorism and political intrigue, a story with breathtaking intricacies of plot and red herrings that will have readers guessing and leafing through the pages with excitement. After a gruesome terrorist attack, police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor, Eliza MacKay. There is a cover-up and the police captain has to live with the secret, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Can he get the truth from the lying MacKay?
While working to keep the respect that his government requires, the police captain is determined to find out the truth and to uncover the brain behind the terror that has cost the lives of fifteen American volunteers. Things get complicated when he receives orders to kill MacKay, the only person who can lead him to the source of the terror. With a CIA agent on his heels and his life threatened, Hashim Sharif has to choose his path wisely and determine what is worth dying for.
F. Stone’s novel is an engrossing story, a page-turner that is masterfully written to keep the reader turning the pages. The plot is strong and has the potential for great entertainment. I loved the writing that features excellent prose, captivating descriptions, and great dialogues. The characters are rock-solid and the reader will enjoy navigating the complex political setting and the powerful conflict that drives the plot. Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket is swiftly paced and masterfully crafted to offer readers the kind of entertainment they'll enjoy in a thriller. You won’t be able to put it down once started.
When reading FORBIDDEN by Feather Stone I was taken on an exciting journey of sights and sounds, culture and customs of a country I knew nothing about until I read this story.
Her writing was so descriptive I followed in the footprints of the two main characters, Eliza Mackay and Hashim Shariff, as they fought for truth and their lives, amongst endless corruption and deceit. The author pulls you into every detail of the cruel tragedy that brings them together. You experience every moment of anxiety and fear that Eliza and Hashim face and can't help being touched by the feelings they keep locked away fearing rejection.
Throughout this story you are kept on the edge of your seat.
A fast paced story where every word on the page comes to life as if you're watching a film, a film that I would be biting my nails with my heart racing.
I was amazed when reading the acknowledgements to see how much research went into writing this story and although fiction the author has included factual descriptions in her scenes involving weapons, culture and traditions.
After reading The Guardians Wildchild by Feather Stone I had no doubt that Forbidden would be an exceptional story too and I was not dissapointed. Feather Stone is an author I will be following and looking forward to reading her next book.
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an engrossing story that sucks you in from the first pages. It’s intense, living up to the “word” thriller. It was like watching an action-thriller movie in my head, which is the way books play out for me if I can really fall into the pages living the story through the characters. The writing is that good.
The blurb tells you about the story so I am not going to try to do that. It gives you a good idea of the story without giving away the exciting parts that keep you turning the pages.
The thing that fascinated me about the character Eliza MacKay was her PTSD and seeing how the author used it to push the story forward, create conflict, obstacles and weave a character that I cared about. The authors use of deep point of was wonderful giving me enough so I related to the character in some sense as I read.
I did not like Captain Sharif at first but he grew on me, making me care just as Eliza had from the first page. I understood him immediately due to the author’s skillful writing. That beginning feeling of dislike and then changing my feelings made that character arc relatable and powerful for me in the story.
These characters are forced to make choices in situation’s created and orchestrated by others that challenge the very core of who they are, what they believe and their own survival in a political-religious arena that has you holding your breath with all the intrigue surrounding them.
I felt the story tension, the sense of unease that permeated the air. It is that fear you don’t want to acknowledge or admit to yourself. It is when you know, at your core, that things are going get much worse despite the horror you’ve already experienced. It is a sort of self-denial that allows you to act through horrendous, high-stress events, crisis after crisis, despite the deep terror within. That is the feeling that the author captured making Eliza’s PTSD all the more engaging.
I would give this book a five-star rating plus. F. Stone is a skillful writer garnering my admiration and fandom. I received this book as an ARC copy free for an honest review and part of the Mystery Thriller Week. However, I could not resist going back to buy her first book, The Guardian’s Wild Child, craving to experience that same sense of adventure and character development again. (Pssst–the first book is .99 cents, right now!
Forbidden was a gripping, high-stakes, high-tension, outstanding read with a touch of romance. This author just made my top ten authors list. Judy, please write more soon.
What a thrill a minute ride this book takes you on. The characters are futuristic and totally awesome. I loved that times had allowed for more freedom for women. I kept following the story and each time I would think it was getting to the conclusion I drew, it would slam-bang me into another direction.
The love story part was really well told and I was happy with the relationship of these two different people. I found this to be a creative and unique storyline that kept me intrigued and on pins and needles.
The story was very intense l Lots of twist and turns ,a great adventure and love story. Story of corruption in government and people in high places who do harm to hard working people.
This is a story that sucks you in from the first few lines to the very last few. I love a good thriller but this one has surpassed them all. Forbidden is a read that you will not regret trying. Amazing story line, the plot flows together perfectly, nothing lags and the suspense is the best.
One of my favorite things about this book is the dedication. Once you read that you’ll know the heart of Forbidden.
Set in the year 2047, politics and religion combine to create a volatile atmosphere for a coup. Police Captain Hashim Sharif meets a feisty Eliza MacKay, after the brutal murders of her companions. Working to expose the truth becomes a dangerous journey through betrayal, government corruption, and multiple assassination attempts.
The setting, the politics, but especially the principles and faith of the lead character, Captain Sharif is both heartwarming and a breath of fresh air. His Islamic faith, intelligently described, features prominently in the story as Eliza MacKay tests his virtue, and he proves her determination.
Despite fighting PTSD, Eliza MacKay surprises her protector every step of the way. No wilting flower, Eliza starts out fighting and continues the fight all the way to the last page.
If I have any criticism, it’s that I wish a few of the key players had been mentioned earlier in the novel. Still, I highly recommend Forbidden, a novel that is superbly written, with well-crafted characters, a twisting plot, and non-stop action.
James Patterson says to write a novel as if it’s a movie playing out for the reader. Ms. Stone does this beautifully.
Truly suspenseful this intriguing novel tells a sweet love story and has the kind of ending you’ll love. Kudos, Ms. Stone!
Forbidden was one of the most interesting thrillers I've read in a great while. I loved the idea of a joined Muslim nation. The author's description of the created nation was so realistic and the characters so believable, I was utterly absorbed into the book's reality, forgetting my own for hours at a time. I burned with dislike of some of the characters and felt true empathy with and for others.
It's rare for an author to be able to so realistically create such a rich and believable environment outside of a fantasy world. I can still envision the "wall" that was referred to in the book and see the many people that must have been lined up before a firing squad in front of this wall for a speedy execution. This book beautifully portrays a world of corrupt politicians, the dangers of religious (or political) fanaticism, and the efforts of the majority, united under a wise leader, to unite a country by reminding them that its citizens are far more alike than different in their common beliefs.
I am a Muslim and loved this book. It dealt with subject matter that was very sensitive in an amzingly tender way, nothing to object to at all.I am a new fan. Thanks for the way you wrote this book!!!
I love a good thriller, when it grabs my attention. I don't always go for them, but this book definitely peeked my interest. Another thing about this book that intrigued me was Sharif's character. I am always eager to read about multicultural characters. I find them fascinating to read and learn new things.
This book is different from most suspense/thriller books I've read. I take in every aspect and enjoy a good story that gets my blood pumping. (Because I am friggin' lazy and get my share of exercise through the books with active characters.) Page turner. Great plot and characters. First few pages had me wanting to cry. I will be honest. It was those moments alone that gave me insight to where Sharif comes from. I definitely recommend you checking out this book.
FORBIDDEN immediately captured me flak-jacket and all! I could NOT put the book down! I found the action breath-taking. The characterization was strong, plus I LOVED Eliza's mindset and heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
A group of 15 people along with the three policemen guarding the group disappeared. Eliza MacKay Ramsey was to be part of that group, but now she is the only “survivor.” Captain Sharif has been put in the position of guarding Ms. MacKay, and he is to find out what happened to the missing group of people.
There is an extreme political undercurrent taking place between several government agencies that want to know the facts about who is responsible for the missing people and why. The problem is that the Captain does not know who he can trust, and the lives of his family may be at stake.
The twists in the story kept me on the edge of my chair the entire time.
The main character in this book is Captain Hashim Sharif. The year is 2047. The story takes place in Samarra, Iraq. In the Middle East. The Middle East has joined together with one a mission of pease. There is still political unrest in this futuristic Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories.
Eliza Ramsay, her preferred name at this time, is a Canadian Paramedic Supervisor there to join an American Habitat for Life group.
All does not go as planned. Disaster strikes. Leaving Eliza in an advisory relationship with Captain Shatif. Slowly they unite when faced with life or dead.
The CIA becomes involved due because of the disaster that united Eliza and Hashim. The CIA agent is a colorful character. Reminds me of Columbo. All of the characters are well defined.
Two broken people from different countries, each having serious baggage, find each other. I'm not a fan of romance but this is a great one.
Continuously building suspense. A page turner. I miss these characters and this story now that it's over for me.
This is a complex and fast-paced thriller with strong main characters — a female Canadian paramedic with a tragic past who suffers from severe bouts of PTSD and a devout Muslim police captain working in a Middle Eastern city where corruption makes it hard to know whom to trust. The massacre of fifteen American aid workers brings the paramedic and the captain together as reluctant allies when both become targets of a local governmental cover-up of the massacre. The arrival of an American CIA Agent bent on finding out who killed the American volunteers adds another layer of risk, as he believes the captain may have masterminded the whole thing. Despite their differences in background and outlook on life, the paramedic and the captain must work together to find the true perpetrator. Along the way they also (no surprise) find each other.
The author did a lot of research to ensure authenticity in her portrayal of the region and Islam, and her respect for her subject matter is evident. She also consulted with weapons experts, police officers, and cultural experts, and uses her own experience as a paramedic to bring authenticity to her characters’ actions. She does a good job of getting inside the heads of both a woman with heavy emotional issues and a disillusioned and unhappy man struggling with violating Sharia law while protecting that woman.
The story is set in the year 2047 — most likely to allow for creation of a new Middle Eastern entity known as the Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories — but this is not a futuristic tale. Transportation, technology, medicine, etc. remain unchanged from 2017. Also somewhat incongruous is the fact that the paramedic is a “seer,” which pops up now and then, but has very little bearing on the story and, for me at least, compromised a character to whom I could otherwise easily relate.
My major complaint, however, is the book’s need for a good proofreader. While it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, I did find many sentences that were missing articles (the, a, an) or prepositions. Punctuation was funky in places. More distracting were the occasional inappropriate or misused words, including “shoulder” where it should have said “soldier.” I had to read that one sentence more than once to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.
Normally, the issues named above would take an average story down to three stars, but I enjoyed the story itself a great deal and appreciate the author’s careful and extensive preparation to tell it.
It is 2047 and in the City of Samarra which is the capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories (RIPT). Eliza MacKay has come to be part of an American Habitat team. But the team is abused and everyone except Eliza is killed. Captain Hashim Sharif keeps Eliza safe but then finds his family threatened if he doesn’t kill her. Sharif has to walk a balancing line to keep his family safe, Eliza safe, and find those that killed the Habitat team. But the more that Sharif and Eliza are together they find themselves becoming attracted to each other. But Sharif is a devout Muslin and loving this white woman is forbidden.
This story starts out with a bang and just keeps going. Eliza arrive in a different flight from the Habitat team and ends up being questioned. After that things seem odd to her and her sense of danger keeps increasing until she finds herself in the middle of a shootout. Thankfully Sharif is there to protect her but he finds himself in a bad position doing so. I think Sharif is a great character. He wants to protect those that need it and finds himself torn between his love for Eliza and his religion.
This is a great story that is filled with action and a great romance. This is one book that I normally would have just flipped by but it is definitely worth the read.
I received Forbidden from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
This book was absolutely amazing. Action packed, on the edge of your seat kind of book. To watch two people go from hatred to love the way Shariff & MacKay do is just indescribably. MacKay has a lot of issues from her past that get brought up during her capitive time. Her mental illness comes into play. So much happens and just when you think you have figured it out. BAM! This is def a worth while book to get in your hands!
A suspense, action packed thriller that managed to keep me hooked right from the beginning, Forbidden by Feather Stone is one hell of a book. Feather Stone is a paramedic herself, the experiences of which she has duly referenced in the book. I am super excited to share my review, so here goes!
The year is 2047. Eliza Ramsay is a Canadian paramedic, waiting at an airport in The Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories (RIPT), an amalgamation of Arabic nations. Her team from the Habitat office hadn't arrived yet. When they finally do, a couple of hours later, they all take a bus to go into the city of Samarra. But things take an ugly turn when all her colleagues are shot dead by a mysterious group who vanish from the spot soon after the massacre. Eliza is the only survivor, the only witness. Captain Hashim Sharif is furious that a massacre has taken place in his station compound and the inability to catch the killers. After the initial interrogation, he decides to keep Eliza under wraps and hides her in his apartment, as revealing her identity would undoubtedly lead to her execution. But Sharif and Eliza constantly face challenges politically and emotionally that pushes them to form a bond. The devout Muslim that he is, Sharif cannot imagine any relationship with the woman, especially since he is divorced and fathers two children. Eliza, on the other hand, fights her own demons everyday. She is a widower who lost her to children and husband in a car crash. As they fight against the corrupt political establishment, they discover feelings for themselves. Amidst bullets, criminals and inner demons, they decide to take the government head on. But what chance do two common and abandoned people have against the giant, corrupt beast of crime?
I totally loved this book! From the get go, I was hooked because there were no unnecessary details or lengthy explanations. The narrative is to the point, very precise. I love such books that do not waste any time getting into action. The book begins with a short background that is sufficient for an overall idea. The story is fantastic! Loads of action, suspense with romance thrown in always has my vote! The characters of Sharif and Eliza come off as strong and brave but with emotional baggage. I think that's what connects the both of them. All the characters are beautifully written and executed.
Forbidden is a fast paced book that is perfect for a rainy/stormy day when you are stuck inside a room. Actually, even otherwise it is great. The action and suspense will keep the readers on their toes, guaranteed. Overall, it is a fantastic thriller one must not miss, hence the rating!
This book was recommended by Wall-to-Wall Books and she said it was fantastic! I disagree, it was freaking fantastic!
This story has everything! Suspense, love, murder, government intrigue, well-developed characters that the reader wants to be friends with, extraordinary writing, religion with some teachable information, PTSD and so much more. Did I say SUSPENSE?
The story takes place in 2047 when there is peace in Iraq. However, even with peace there will always be some evil. And in this case, a convoy of Americans from Habitat for Humanity are massacred. And thus begins the edge of your seat read.
International intrigue has never been a go-to book for me. But this novel was different. It was exceptional.
I was quite impressed with the research the author did for this book including the Muslim faith, the language, customs, etc but without it being so in depth that it was preachy and exhaustive to the story line. I will admit, however, I did learn quite a bit.
This book is what I call a "transport read", one that I become so engrossed in the story, that I am not cognizant of my surroundings.
The suspense was so riveting that, on one hand, I wanted to find out the conclusion but I also didn't want it to end because it was such a phenomenal read. This was one hell of a nail-biter!!! And then the author throws in one more curve ball on the last page: THE END, or is it? This reader sure hopes there is more to come!!!!!! Either way, F. Stone just ended up on my "authors to read" list.
I highly recommend that you read this! Take the thrilling journey with Eliza and Hashim but be prepared, you won't be able to put it down once you start reading!!
Kudos Ms. Stone!!! This novel will definitely be on my 2017 Top Ten best reads!
October 2047. Eliza Ramsey is a paramedic, and although she has never been to the Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories (RIPT), she is excited when she is asked to accompany a group of Americans traveling for Habitat for Humanity. At first, she doesn’t feel comfortable waiting at Samarra’s International Airport for the others to arrive and, unfortunately, as time passes she catches the attention of Security and spends a nerve-wracking time being questioned. Finally, she is informed that the rest of the team will arrive that evening.
After waiting for hours, she spots fifteen Americans. She introduces herself and they all toss their luggage into the back of a large truck and climb aboard their waiting bus. After her ordeal with Security and her long wait, she is exhausted and looks forward to a relaxing two-hour ride to their camp. She is jolted awake when the bus pulls into a gas station; time for snacks, drinks, and restroom breaks. Knowing this is a break in their expected schedule, Eliza feels uneasy and moves into the truck holding their belongings, hoping to calm her anxiety.
As the vehicles travel through Samarra, Eliza’s nervousness increases, noting they are off track. She is confused when they pull into the local police compound and soon after she hears loud voices and screaming. Deafening gunfire drowns out the screams and just when she thinks it is over, more shouting ensues and she realizes the police are in the middle of a gun fight. Racing from her hiding spot, she notes that none of the Americans have survived. It is in the midst of this chaos and fear that Eliza meets Captain Hashim Shariff, the police commander, and the one person who can ensure she survives her trip to RIPT.
This is a story of a Canadian woman and a Muslim man carefully feeling their way into a relationship in a tale ripe with action, loyalty, love, treason, and murder. I enjoyed this book immensely and it is definitely not a run of the mill romance. I remained on high alert throughout, watching for the next betrayal, murder, or finally the first kiss. The author presents a well-informed story of the morals, beliefs, and dress code of this Arabic society. It was utterly engrossing!
I always love a book with a different premise. A complex plot and characters with complicated lives are of course very attractive. And that’s what we have here.
My own neighborhood is a real cultural mosaic. We have a lot of new immigrants, many of whom are Muslim. I know a lot of Muslim kids because I used to work in our public school. These are kids who learn English at school and then go home to teach it to their parents. They are–almost always–fantastic kids. And of course I meet their parents and grandparents up at the corner plaza. So phobias and prejudices against average people grieve me. Allah, God and Jehovah are the same God and so how could I hate someone who worships Him?
Of course, I’ve never understood people who hate others.
Here’s an interesting novel: a love story between a white woman and a Muslim man who’d give Jason Bourne a run for his money. Wow, the action and suspense are gripping. Ms. Stone has put a ton of research into this so the setting and mindset of the characters are credible. As well, they’re extremely likeable and heroic. Impressive work. I look forward to reading more of this author’s books. Five stars.
This book was absolutely fantastic! I was totally glued to this story every page of the way. Let me start by saying that I love the cover - it draws you in. Once you start reading you will not want to stop until you are finished! This is the very definition of suspense, it was riveting. To be honest I was never all that interested in reading about the middle east. I never would have thought I would have enjoyed one as much as I did this one. It was just so interesting.
Excellent character development. I really loved Eliza. I think I would have really liked her in real life. She was tough, strong, yet real and sensitive. And - Hashim Sharif, holy cow! There is some depth to that man's character. You start out trying desperately not wanting to like him, because of who and what he is, but you just can't help yourself. I mean after all he is only human too and has feelings, and thank God (Allah to him) he does! There is this part I loved where Sharif is trying to get Eliza to drive (she hasn't driven in years because her family died in an accident). She is terrified and he is so good with her -forceful but fun and it was what she so needed. It was a wonderful scene.
Eliza parked and sat back. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She covered her face with her hands and wiped tears from her eyes. “Hashim,” she said softly while her eyes were still closed, “do you have any idea that you’ve performed a miracle this afternoon?” She turned to him. “People who care about me, others who are professionals, failed to do what you did.” Sharif smiled.
I know that the author did extensive research for this novel but seriously! Wow, this was just so expertly written. I felt like I was watching CNN half the time. That's how real it was.
Near the supply truck, she heard the ping, ping of a cell phone, then the trembling voice of a woman crying, "Ralph, pick up the phone. Please. Oh God ...." The woman screamed. With a blast of gunfire, her cries stopped. Bullets pierced the canvas and shattered a suitcase in front of Eliza. Her body trembled violently. In minutes she would be killed.
The luggage offered no protection. Terrified to make any sound, yet frantic to hide, she pressed her backpack to her chest. She gasped as if starved for oxygen. Tears ran down her cheeks as she heard the terrified people and Charlie beg for their lives.
Warning - this book is very graphic! Not for people who can't read about bloodshed.
If you are up for some excellent edge-of-your-seat suspense you will love this book.
I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from the author, F. Stone - Thank You!
One thing about the book you need to know is that it's set in the year 2047 and the Muslim countries in the Middle East with a few exceptions have formed into one large nation. I think of it like the old Soviet Union. Iraq is the center of power and that's where this story takes place.
You quickly forget about the future setting because everything in the story is still very much present day except for the political setting, which doesn't play a huge part in the story.
I really liked the book. There were definite elements that needed to be handled well, especially with CAPTAIN SHARIF'S faith. The author has obviously done her homework and that shows up primarily around how Sharif handles his interactions with ELIZA MACKAY.
But enough about that. This book is action from the beginning to end. A great who is doing what to whom. I'm pretty good at figuring things out but was surprised in the end about who was not involved in the murdering of the 15 Americans.
The writing is fast paced and I read it in a day because of not wanting to put it down. Throw in the romance elements and you have a well balanced story that gives you a chance to breathe between the action moments. The romance part isn't overplayed and doesn't detract from the story at all.
I recommend the book for thrill seekers and action junkies.
This book deserves, five stars! It defiantly left an impression. Fast paced, lots of action, gripping, at times, strong characters..This author has a gift. Feather Stone brings her characters to life and paints such detail. Amazing, action packed story. I would highly recommend this book. Pauline Holyoak.
I loved this story. It was a great non stop roller-coaster ride and defiantly a page turner. The plot was excellent and although it is based in the future I could relate to the corruption, political problems and the every changing who done it ideas. Eliza proves herself over and over again that she is strong woman and a survivor not a trait not often found in suspense/thriller books. And Captain Sharif does his best to protect and help her while sticking to his strong faith. The story is well written and F.Stone makes everything come alive with her writing style. I definitely recommend you checking out this book.
If you’re looking for a story that will transport you, this is it. From the very first chapters, my heart thundered along with Eliza’s—the foreboding in her gut to what becomes an all-out crisis. The characters are well drawn and believable with intriguing depth. I got a clear sense of Eliza’s and Sharif’s backgrounds along the way, but the story stays focused on the moment. It takes talent to achieve that, and I’m sure a LOT of hard work.
Equally impressive is the research that went into this book. I’ve followed the author’s blog, so I know she did her homework and enlisted input from experts to create an authentic world. All that research paid off. The cultural elements as well as the legal intricacies feel so real.
Forbidden has twists and turns that’ll keep your mind whirring. Just when you think you have something figured out, a surprise awaits. The romance between the two leads builds up at a satisfying pace. These are two adults in dire circumstances, not insta-lovey teenagers, and Stone keeps them true to character throughout. There are beautifully written passages along the way to drive their intense emotions home.
Readers who like suspense with a strong element of romance will love this story.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A very different read than what I am use to. I am new to F. Stone ... & will hope to read more from this author in the future. Well done, this had me on the edge of my sit, very suspenseful, entertaining, & the plot thickens, love this style of writing, Sharif is forced to lie to the CIA agent who arrives to find the 5 bodies of the Americans and bring in the killers. Sharif must intensify his efforts to obtain proof of the corruption in his own government, CIA agent holds him under suspicion. I love the cover of the book, looks like a movie trailer cover, you can hear the movie trailer person now. Eliza, is a Canadian paramedic, who has traveled to the City of Samara to work with an American Habitat team. Eliza struggles with crippling PTSD episodes as she tries to recover from a traumatic loss which occurred a few years in her past. Such a great read ... loved the chance to read and would so recommend to you if you would be interested in the sort of books. ( ; "I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review." Have a nice day!
Eliza, a Canadian paramedic, traveled to the City of Samara to work with an American Habitat team. Eliza struggles with crippling PTSD episodes as she tries to recover from a traumatic loss a few years past. The Habitat convoy is diverted to a police compound where they are massacred. The real police engage the terrorists at the last minute, rescuing a terrified Eliza. Captain Sharif, a devout Muslin, takes Eliza into custody, first to confirm she wasn’t part of the attack and then to keep her safe.
Sharif’s superiors threaten his family if he doesn’t cover-up the killings and silence the sole surviving witness. Sharif struggles to find a way to save Eliza, even acting behind her back. Eliza respects Sharif’s dedication to his faith and to his duties as an officer of the law. She knows that he is trying to protect her but she doesn’t appreciate not being privy to the plans to hide her away.
Sharif is forced to lie to the CIA agent who arrives to find the bodies of the Americans and bring in the killers. Sharif must intensify his efforts to obtain proof of the corruption in his own government as the CIA agent holds him under suspicion.
Sharif and Eliza grow in friendship as they share close spaces and learn of each other’s vulnerabilities. Eliza knows that she does not fit in Sharif’s world and any relationship between them is forbidden. Sharif, who has convinced himself that he is not worthy of love, struggles to maintain his strict code of honor even as he is drawn to the brave, impetuous Eliza. Can they find the strength to acknowledge their love, assuming they can survive the multiplying threats to their freedoms and their very lives?
The plot is wonderfully crafted with well-developed characters, nonstop suspense and a good twist to the ending. The setting and political environment make an effective backdrop and I found the Muslim elements very interesting. Ms. Stone adds to this an improbable but beautiful romance.
The primary characters are real, flawed and courageous. It was natural to root for them to beat the enemy and accept their love for one another. I also liked the secondary characters and would like to read more about all of them. There were some typographical errors but the story is well worth reading. I hope to try more of Ms. Stone’s work very soon. I highly recommend this story to readers who like action packed suspense with romance.