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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Monsoon in the Making by Clive Radford, in the spring of 2009, Glyn Sumner and his new crewmates had been onboard the Poseiden for six weeks and were all looking forward to experiencing new cultures and adventures. As the Poseiden pulls into Tunis, they are approached by Saleh, an Ethiopian refugee, who pleads for passage to the safety of England and the hope of political asylum. Saleh confesses he is trying to escape both the Tunisian police who want to deport him but also a group of Muslim fundamentalists who want him dead after he refused to carry out an act of terrorism. As the crew decides whether or not to believe Saleh, they become entangled in the police investigation and the target of the Tunis Chief of Police's watchful eye. As Saleh escapes to Sicily, Glyn and his crew are left wondering if Saleh ever found refuge in the arms of the coast guard or met his fate in the unforgiving ocean. As Glyn and his comrades ponder Saleh's destiny, they learn more about mankind, themselves, and each other than they ever could have imagined.
Monsoon in the Making by Clive Radford is an incredibly well-written story that has the most comprehensive backstories I have ever experienced in a novel. The author has painstakingly outlined each main character's personality, background, and view of the world in such amazing detail. The conversations between the crew members highlight their morals, political and socio-economic views very powerfully. I thought the debates between them were extremely compelling. Subjects such as Anglo-American interventionism in the Middle East, the Crusades, asylum seekers, and religious indoctrination were covered in depth from many perspectives. The background of Salem and his mother Gabra was particularly hard to read because of the upsetting content but it did explain Saleh's distorted view of the world to some extent. I absolutely loved Ed's response regarding Saleh's accusations that the British were indirectly responsible for acts of terrorism; “The English have suffered multiple defeats over more than 2,000 years. Worse still, we have lost tens of millions in two world wars. In cosmic terms, that happened just yesterday.” I found the scene between the crew and the Chief of Police nail-biting and filled with great suspense. The ending was truly gripping and left you with much to ponder. If you love historical and political suspense, then I highly recommend this novel.