Praying with the Enemy

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
312 Pages
Reviewed on 09/01/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Steven T. Collis pens an engaging story of war, devotion, and survival in his novel, Praying with the Enemy. On June 11, 1951, Captain Ward Miller flies over Korea in his aircraft. On a bomb mission, napalm is his payload. Being a veteran of WWII, war is nothing new to Ward; in fact, it is rather old. He longs to be back in Oregon with his wife and daughter. He flies over his target and releases the napalm, but nothing happens! Captain Ward Miller is forced to eject over enemy territory. Ward lands, severely injured. He is captured and interrogated daily. Meanwhile, Ward’s wife, Barbara, receives a telegram stating her husband is MIA. Her immediate response was prayer. Thinking of his wife, lost, alone, with both legs broken, Ward finds himself praying for the first time. Little does Ward know there is a young enemy soldier doing the same. As both men desperately pray for a way of escape, something unexpected, something miraculous happens. A trio of prayers is lifted. Unaware, Captain Ward Miller and Kim Jae Pil are on a dangerous, yet divine collision course to discover freedom and each other.

Praying with the Enemy by Steven T. Collis reveals the mysterious power of prayer. The novel is based on a true story, it is apparent Mr. Collis did his homework. I appreciate his devotion to keeping his story as accurate as creatively possible. The photographs included at the end add an extra degree of authenticity. The manuscript is well written and flows with ease from chapter to chapter. The plot unfolds with a trinity of insight, as the three main characters exchange points of view. Collis eloquently shares the characters' feelings, thoughts, and actions, and this writing technique builds a relationship of intimacy between the reader and the characters. The setting shifts along with the point of view, causing the timeline of events to progress simultaneously. As a result, the action moves quickly, making the book hard to put down. The obvious conflict is, of course, man against man; however, the protagonist battles several enemies, not just one. He must survive injury and deprivation in body, heart, and soul. He must conquer doubt and disappointment as well if he is to endure. The reality of this quest is sincere, harsh, and amazingly profound. Steven T. Collis’ Praying with the Enemy reveals the heart and soul of the prisoner of war, portraying the will to survive and the faith to make it possible.

Saifunnissa Hassam

Steven T. Collis's novel Praying with the Enemy is a well-researched work set during the Korean War. The novel is based on the true story of two men, American POW Captain Ward Millar and North Korean soldier Kim Jae Pil. In 1951 Captain Ward Millar is on a bombing mission over North Korea when his plane malfunctioned. Ward ejects from his plane and makes it to the ground, but finds both his ankles are broken. He is captured by Chinese and North Korean soldiers and could face execution at any moment. North Korean soldier Kim Jae Pil was a Christian. When the Communists seized power in North Korea, Kim Jai Pil had to keep his Christian faith a secret or risk execution. His assignments in the army included the delivery of supplies to front-line troops. Both Ward and Jae Pil wanted to escape from North Korea. Faith and prayer were central to each man's hopes for survival and escape. Their paths cross, and the story pivots into a gripping tale of courage, friendship, and a desperate plan to escape.

From start to finish, Steven T. Collis's historical novel Praying with the Enemy is a compelling and riveting story of two extraordinary men. I became immersed in the tale of Ward Millar and Kim Jae Pil and their unflinching courage and fortitude. I think the alternate chapters about each man's life, backstories, and family added great depth to the book. I liked how the novel's crisp prose, realistic dialogue, and evocative descriptions of villages and army encampments captured the perilous wartime situations in which Ward and Jae Pil found themselves. I found the story thought-provoking when Ward's and Jae Pil's thoughts, feelings, and emotions revealed more about their deep, difficult inner journeys. Their beliefs and convictions about faith and freedom are interwoven in the narrative. Ward's inward turning to God and prayer was gradual, while Jae Pil was determined to hold on to his Christian faith. For me, the story's most powerful and intense moments are when Ward and Jae Pil meet and realize they are both desperate to be free again. This is a deeply moving story of two extraordinary men, their steadfast faith, and their friendship under extremely difficult wartime circumstances.

Vincent Dublado

Praying with the Enemy by Steven T. Collis is as engrossing as it is powerful, considering that this is based on factual events. Ward Millar finds himself within enemy territory after ejecting from his plane. Sustaining broken ankles, escape becomes an impossible option as he is held captive by North Korean and Chinese forces. Millar must play his cards right to get medical attention. Providing the enemy with military information is his key to staying alive, especially from the execution-hungry North Koreans. He needs to provide value. He claims to be a special observer, and what he gives them are things that they believe are precious, yet this is information that is unclassified and readily accessible even to the media. Meanwhile, Kim Jae Pil, a North Korean soldier, wants to escape to the democratic South. When these two men encounter each other, hope for salvation becomes renewed for both of them—but they will have to pass through the eye of the needle.

This is a fascinating story that celebrates the indefatigability of the human spirit. It largely reminds me of memorable war films like The Killing Fields and Behind Enemy Lines and novels like Empire of the Sun. It breaks barriers and makes you renew your confidence in humanity. Considering the fact that these two protagonists are largely different in terms of culture and language, they manage to forge a friendship and exhaust all means to find a way out. Steven T. Collis’s simple yet crisp narrative further helps to make this story engaging. You can’t help but put yourself in the shoes of Millar and Jae Pil as you get all the necessary sensory details that give dimension to their respective plights. The role of faith in the storyline is so grounded that it inspires you even if you are a nonbeliever. Praying with the Enemy is a powerful story, a true-to-life tale that I highly recommend.