The Red Wrath

A journey between two destinies

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
474 Pages
Reviewed on 10/21/2012
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Author Biography

Born in Afghanistan, Hatef Mokhtar grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan and is now working as the Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times in Oslo, Norway. “The cries and sorrow of my homeland inspired me to write this book.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bernadette Acocella for Readers' Favorite

"The Red Wrath" is a poignant read highlighting the plight of the people of Afghanistan. Despite the oppression of the Communist Regime the people maintained their bravery and courageously sought their independence. The rule of the communist was harsh but the rule of the Taliban was much worse. The people that resisted the loss of independence were considered dissidents and were imprisoned, tortured and put to death. "The Red Wrath" demonstrates the rich and colorful culture of the Afghans. The women were oppressed by society; they lived under the strict rule of their father until marriage at which time they became the property of their husband. The characters in this tale are fictional but realistic. Their actions demonstrate their strong will and desire for self-rule. In "The Red Wrath" we meet Asif and follow his journey from childhood to adulthood. He witnessed the takeover by the Communist Regime and the Taliban. He experienced the loss of his soul mate early in life. Although his mother attempted to force him into a loveless marriage Asif resisted. After his father’s arrest for protesting the communist takeover, Asif took a change of clothes to his father but was denied access to him. On his final visit he discovered that his father had been executed.

"The Red Wrath" was written by Hatef Mokhtar. I found it impossible to put this book down once I began reading. I was quickly caught up in Asif’s life. Mokhtar is a master at bringing his characters to life. Many books have a strong plot or strong characters but this book is unique in that it has both strong, well-developed characters and an amazing plot.

Jorja Davis

Asif lives in Oslo maintaining a flat subsidized by the government and working hard at unskilled labor every day. He meets, by chance, his old friend Akram from his village in Afghanistan. Being with Akram and his family, Asif remembers and writes. Before the Communist coup of 1979, that brought in thousands of Soviet troops, the village of Shir Abad was a place where Uzbeks, Pushtoons, Hazaras, and Tajiks lived as neighbors in Muslim peace and mutual support. Asif and his friends and neighbors, both boys and girls, attended school. On Saturdays they studied the Quran with the Imaam. Children grew and played and learned and lived in families that honored one another. Everyone, no matter from which caste, tribe, creed, race, color or gender, was always welcomed with open arms. But war and politics, the two carcinogenic ailments, changed everything. Asif’s family lived not only by the Muslim Quran, but also by the ancient Pashtoon law passed orally from father to son. He experienced his first separations at the age of 13 when the Noor (light) of his heart, his hummingbird, was married to a man old enough to be her grandfather. Her stepmother, a divorcee from another village, created this handiwork. Latifa’s purity of heart, soul, and body brought a high bride price from this rich man Qalandar. Asif knew it was something Latifa’s own mother, who was like his aunt, would never have allowed. Latifa, the child scholar, moved out of his life overnight to another village where she was stepmother to children older than she. Then Asif’s father, Zulfikar Khan, stood in the mosque and spoke against the new regime. His father moved his family that night to another village. Then came the tanks. Zulfikar was taken away and was never seen again. The village was bombed. Men with machine guns killed men, women, and children indiscriminately. Suddenly Asif was responsible for the safety and welfare of his family. Separated from his father, he now became separated from his village and friends as he took his mother and younger brother and sister across the mountains to the refugee camps in Pakistan. He struggled to earn enough to provide shelter, food, and education for his brother.

Born in Afghanistan, Hatef Mokhtar, grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan and is now the Editor in Chief of the Oslo Times. More intense than either "The Kite Runner" or "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, Mokhtar’s historical novel describes the sad history of the last thirty years of Afghanistan. This is a book that is written with tears and I hope that the reader will read it the same way. This is not casual reading material. The reader will be researching for the whole story, but will actually get it all here, deeper than the facts. The use of passive voice is inconvenient at first, but becomes necessary to maintain some emotional distance from Asif’s pain and anguish.

Alice DiNizo

Asif is an Afghan refugee living in Oslo, Norway. He meets a childhood friend, Akram Khan, who now lives in Oslo with his wife and children. As boys, Asif and Akram lived in Shir Abad, a town in the province of Balkhin in northern Afghanistan. Their town was a beautiful place with "close-knit families that lived their lives in grace and peace". Asif's mother, Hasiba, and his remarkable father, Zulfikar, love each other and their three children, Asif, Mohammad, and Sahar dearly. Asif falls in love with next door neighbor, Latifa, but as was the custom, she is married to a man forty-five years her senior. As was tradition, beatings of schoolchildren and pressuring them to learn occurred when Asif, Akra and Latifa were in school. This eventually forced some children to promote orthodoxies that did not define basic human rights. But while there traditions were observed, in those pre-Soviet days in Afghanistan, everyone from every caste was welcomed and supported. Then in 1978, Soviet Russia invades and takes over Afghanistan and Asif's family flees to the big city of Pol-e-Khomri, changing their lives forever.

"The Red Wrath" is a brilliant and highly informative story about Afghanistan before, during, and after the time when the Soviets invaded. Author Mokhtar's characters of Asif, his family and neighbors are spectacularly developed and carry the author's story well. The plot line unfolds to the final pages. "The Red Wrath" is a first-rate read!

Stephanie Dagg

Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies catches your attention and your heart. This really is a book that you can’t put down. Author Hatef Mokhtar has created a riveting and beautifully written work of historical fiction with a strong cultural if not political element. This is the story of Asif Khan, who grew up in Afghanistan but subsequently moved to Norway. Throughout his early life he is torn between his love for his family and his country, but his growing frustration at some of its cultural norms. Following the Communist Revolution, the Red Wrath, in which his family suffers terribly, and the rise of the Taliban, he can no longer tolerate how his country has changed and its once valued and tolerant traditions corrupted. He is finally exiled, a heartbroken man.

The language of this book is powerful and almost poetic at times and conveys a deep love for the country that Afghanistan once was. However, the narrator does not shy away from describing the dishonor shown to girls so often by their families when they married them off to basically the highest bidder. He sees the faults but praises the virtues. The book has a glossary and includes Afghan words throughout, which is both educational and enriching for the reader, pulling you further into the world of the story. Also illuminating is the thoughtful insight we get into the Islamic faith, seeing the moderate and rational side of it, since so often the news presents us with only examples of untypical extremism perpetrated in its name. Although containing so much tragedy, it is also at heart an optimistic novel in that it shows the power of courage, love and determination. It is a challenging book, moving, enlightening and thoroughly absorbing.

Anne B.

Asif sat enjoying his favorite stress reliever, a cup of coffee. Perhaps it was fate that brought his old friend Akram Khan into the same café. Asif spent years trying to locate Akram only to discover that they had been living in the same city for years. The reunion brought back memories of their childhood in Afghanistan. He recalled the time when he broke his leg. The pleasant memory of Latifa, his Hummingbird, waffled through his mind. She had been promised to another, a man addicted to cocaine, 45 years her senior and abusive. Although Latifa deeply loved Asif, her fate was out of her hands and out of the hands of Asif. His thoughts moved forward to the time his land was invaded by the Russians. Their rule was brutal and cruel. Asif and his family fled their home. Zulfikar, Asif’s father, bravely stood up to the Communist Regime when he spoke at the Mosque. It led to his arrest and the need for young Asif to seek a way to support the family. When the Taliban came to power they proved to be just as cruel if not more so.

"The Red Wrath" by Hatef Mokhtar is a love story set in a historical background. I found the cultural information fascinating. I had never heard of Pashtunwali. “The code was a set of unwritten laws of the Pashtun people, which had existed for over five thousand years. It was this ancient code of honor that Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan followed much before the arrival of Islam.” I also did not know that “Buzkashi was their national sport, played on horseback.” Mokhtar’s description of the wedding ceremony was beautiful and yet left me sad. The author captured Asif’s love of his home land and his anger at the Communist Regime. The effect this tale’s characters will have on the reader is what makes this book special. I truly cared for Asif and his family. I must admit that I have a different perspective of the Afghans after reading this book. They have a great sense of honor and respect. Their culture is rich and their history often tragic. Hatef Mokhtar has brought both his characters and his country to life on the pages of "The Red Wrath".


the red wrath is a book ,,when I was reading i cried ,, love it love it

Kelly Woo

Sitting in a coffee shop in Norway’s bustling city of Oslo, Asif was taken aback when his childhood friend Akram suddenly happened to meet him. Nostalgia sets in as Asif goes on a reverse journey back to the times when life did a flip-flop between good and bad, happiness and sadness.

A responsible son of a proud and kind father, Asif’s life in a humble village of Afghanistan was more than just ideal. A loving mother, caring father, playful siblings, a trustworthy friend along with the shade and the warmth of the mulberry tree made him a boy that anyone would be jealous of. Things looked good until the communists lead by People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overturned the people friendly government after brutally executing the then President Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan and his family members.

Life took a tumultuous and ugly turn as the Red Wrath wrecked havoc in the nation taking the people along its path. Asif would soon see his dear ones getting separated from him in the most painful manner. The death of his father and little sister had Asif stare at his future in horror. But Asif’s determination and his strong will to have a good future for his family and himself takes him to Pakistan and then to Norway where he tries to collect the pieces of his life and bring them back to life.

Author Hatef Mokhtar’s The Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies is a heart-wrenching story of courage, bravery and hope on one end and of brutality, death and darkness on the other. Chief Editor of The Oslo Times, Hatef is definitely a brilliant observer of the little things in life as his comprehensive narration makes the story come alive. A work of class, Hatef lays Afghanistan literally in front of you. Its culture, faith, people and the lovely landscape gives us a virtual glimpse of a land where love and respect are considered supreme. The book is a must for those who know little about Afghanistan and its people and. It’s a story which inspires you to do the unthinkable when life is not so kind. Reading this work is an experience in itself. Certainly a Fiver!

Michelle Goldstein

The red wrath explains about sacrifice, unconditional love and the consequences of the communistic regime that brought war with itself.
I liked how the author started from present and went back to the past, to Asif's childhood so that the reader got an understanding of how Asif ended up in Norway.

I feel that this is the story of many refugees around the world who had to leave their lives behind to start a new one somewhere else far from home.
I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it strongly.


Excellent book written by this author. A real time classic that exposes many shades of this political world around us.

This book opens a clear distinction between the age old traditions and their acceptance in this modern society.

The story of The Red Wrath is a perfect blend of War into a Romance full of great insights and emotionally gripping feeling all through out the story. Its a must read and that too a very astonishing one.

Imran Mahmud

Your achievement is a source of pride and inspiration to me. I am delighted & sure to know that so many others will appreciate your outstanding work as much as I do.

Your attitude toward your characters in this book is so positive & the theme of the book is so practical and original.It showed the path of psychological,social & separation for love just amazingly. I liked the way you wrote the book with clarity & those caustic remarks just mind blowing.

It is always a pleasure to read a book of great author like you. As always, it's great to know that I can count on you to go the extra mile. Thank you again for all you have done for humanity & literature.


wenderful book

Christopher Sean Ackerman

A man like author Hatef Mokhtar, for example, who lived through the absolute horrors of the Red Revolution in his homeland of Afghanistan, and then the atrocities committed by the Taliban against their own countrymen, would certainly not have returned evil for evil (violence in action for violence in ‘art’). Instead, perhaps he would have cried in astonishment for the inhumanity of the ‘human’ race before penning a tale that sets the record straight regarding the true nature of Islam and religious belief in the Middle East.Hatef Mokhtar’s historical novel Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies tells the touching and tragic story of life in Afghanistan during the Communist Revolution; and under the Taliban reign of terror. It is a story that presents the reader with a stark picture of a previously serene and prosperous culture under foreign and domestic attack. In this panoramic epoch we witness a land that once boasted a rich tradition of religious tolerance and communal values being violently uprooted and turned into a killing field. Written from the perspective of a profound character named Asif Khan, the story begins in Norway, where the expatriated Afghani (now an adult) ruminates over the events that shaped his early life and forced him into exile. Throughout the first few chapters of the novel Asif recounts his experiences as a boy living in his native land. This section of the narrative is imbued with the author’s extreme sense of love for his homeland; as the poetic passages describe an idyllic time in Afghanistan’s history. The author, looking back with longing upon the rich culture that characterized Asif’s youth, writes: “Happiness flowed from heart to heart and home to home binding entire communities into close knit families that lived their lives in grace and peace.” It was a period of Afghanistan’s history that many revere and refer to as “The Golden Age” of that country. Unfortunately this peaceful and picturesque era came to a violent end when the Russian Communists invaded the nation. Upon hearing the news that the respected president, Mohammad Daud Khan, had been assassinated by the Russian regime, Zulfikar (Asif’s father) broke down and wept openly. Considering Asif had never seen his courageous father cry, this shocking reaction struck the boy as being particularly prophetic. A wise man, well-versed in political history and the teachings of Karl Marx, Zulfikar understood that this coup d’état (as the Red army seized control of the Afghani government) could mean only one thing: the end of Afghanistan’s golden age, and the beginning of bloodshed and desolation for the people of his beloved country. Within weeks Zulfikar’s revelation—and worst fears—were realized as the Communists came to the village and abducted Muslim men with political influence in the region. Since Zulfikar was one of these “dangerous dissidents,” he was forced to take his family to northern Afghanistan; where they sought refuge among family and friends. The remainder of the novel is the story of Asif’s struggle to survive and provide for his family in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Not only the central character of the story, but also the heroic voice of reason, Asif possesses the intelligence and survival instincts of a much older man. Through his innocent yet perceptive eyes the reader is given a personal and artistic vision of this period in Afghanistan’s history. Forced into exile by a foreign enemy; deprived of family members, who died in the battle for Afghanistan; tortured by the Taliban for his liberal views and ‘subversive’ books; and finally exiled one last time out of fear for his (and his family’s) life – Asif Khan never allows hatred to fill his heart or alter his pure perception of the world.In a time where wars are being fought over religious disputes and fundamentalist fanaticism (by Muslims, Christians, and political factions of every nationality) this book comes as a breath of fresh air. The wisdom that springs from Hatef’s poetic heart reminds one that human life is far too precious to waste on religious feuding or ideological mania. Hatef Mokhtar has not merely crafted a masterful work that presents a reasonable and moderate form of the Islamic faith, but he has also managed to capture a glorious period in Afghanistan’s history. Let us pray that they pick up this breathtaking historical novel and learn from it!

Karim Yousufzai

On one level, The Red Wrath: A Journey between Two Destinies by Hatef Mokhtar is the story of a boy who struggled through the times of Russian war in Afghanistan and how he made his way to Norway in the wake of Afghan civil war by revealing some of the most brutal insights of Taliban's regime. It is a story set in a culture that has become of increasing interest to the World since the September 11, 2001 attacks. On this level, it provides a good way for people to learn more about Afghan history and culture in the context of story.

Looking at The Red Wrath: A Journey between Two Destinies as a story about culture, however, misses what the book is really about. This is a novel about humanity. This is a story about friendship, loyalty, cruelty, longing for acceptance, redemption and survival. The core story could be set in any culture because it deals with issues that are universal.

The Red Wrath: A Journey between Two Destinies looks at how the main character, Asif, deals with the feeling of separation & loss in his past and how that these shaped who he became. It tells of Asif's childhood love, his relationship with his father and growing up in a privileged place in society. I was drawn in by Asif's voice. I sympathized with him, cheered for him and felt angry with him at different points. Similarly, I became attached to his character and his father. The characters became real to me, and it was difficult for me to put the book down and leave their world.

It has a perfect blend of time zone which moves with the flow of history describing the events and their impacts on the lives of the people of Afghanistan in its truest form and in its realistic sense, keeping the reader's attention intact from the first to the last chapters of one of its kind story which The Red Wrath: A Journey between Two Destinies offers to a person.

For those of you who are not in a reading group, read it and then loan it to a friend. You are going to want to talk about it when you finish.

Adrian Keefe

One of the best books I have ever read. Hatef Mokhtar has not only described each and every personal ordeal with deeply felt emotion and pathos, involving the reader, from the first chapter to the last; with intensity of feelings and descriptive power of narration that one does not want to leave the book after starting wants to finish it one go...
The ordeals and travails of Asif and his beloved are portrayed in such gripping intensity of feelings that one is moved to the core of one's heart, mind and soul. It is not just the personal triumphs and tragedies that the two main characters have to undergo, that are depicted with so much depth of angst and pain; it is also the indelible and true to life recounting of the nightmarish horror unleashed on the people of Afghanistan by the followers of Stalin and his proteges over the course of history.
The Red Wrath is much is the most captivating and fervour-filled exposure of how the Red Communists of Soviet Russia (The Soviet Union) played with the destiny of a peaceful and peace-abiding and peace-loving people; in their unsuccessful coercive and modern-day Chengiz Khan and Halaku Khan like ambitions of expanding their empire and destroying the very ethos of Afghanistan. Yet, they too failed, like all before them failed. And this is where Hatef's book rises a pedestal above all other books written about Afghanistan and its people especially after the terrible and grim wave of modern-day barbarism inflicted on the nation and reaching its heights in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The Soviets failed just like all those before them who played and toyed with the Afghans. Hatef Mokhtar is like a modern-day Victor Hugo. Just like Hugo wrote about the French Revolution and its causes spicing it with the tragic life-story of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Javert and Cossette, Hatef too embellishes his "Red Wrath" with personal touches which are poignant and pliant from the first page to the last. Love and separation, happiness and sadness, gains and losses, the ups and the downs of fact almost every human emotion and feeling is reflected like one's true image is bounced back in minute factual details by the mirror or a clear pool of water.
Moreover, the book is a literary gem, the like of which has not crossed my avid reading eyes and ingrained itself so deeply in the conscious as well as sub-conscious layers of my mind. Being a student of English/American and Comparative World Literature and a lover of true-life stories, I have found "The Red Wrath" a rare book, written very well and impressing throughout. It is fact and fiction combined. It is poetic and at the same time sublime in its factual recounting of historical truths. In short it is a classic that must be treasured by every reader of really good books and be preserved in libraries and bookshelves of lovers of extraordinary books.
I congratulate Hatef Mokhtar, the author, for sharing all that he has underwent and suffered as a refugee and as a stranger in his own country. What is all the more inspiring is that Hatef rises above the waves of whirlpools and succeeds in reaching the shores of safety...his undaunted self-depiction as "Asif" -- the young youth hero of the book -- is in fact a description of the sensitive yet courageous and self-confident man of today -- who has managed, with the help of God Almighty, and his own personal strength of character and valour, to become what he is today: The Editor-in-Chief of the world's most independent newspaper: "The Oslo Times" of Norway.
Hats off to Hatef Mokhtar! A soul like him is almost invisible and impossible to find in today's age of fading spiritual and cultural values and virtues -- the age of materialism and beastly natures -- the age of the devil and his seed and creed, supporters and followers! Yet truth wins in the end and "The Red Wrath" proves it very convincingly and with a thumping powerful impact! Well done Hatef Mokhtar. You have done it -- beaten the Communists like

Naveed Ahmed

Well, having read the last pretty critical review, it seems to me that the purpose of the book stands all the more justified. What 'The Red Wrath' tries to do is to bring to (hopefully) 'human' readers certain human experiences that a human being has gone through. Again, it's a 'human experience' and not a political comment on how or what a certain country did or did not do in a bid to restore or violate peace.
For once the narrative goes beyond the political and objective and remains rooted to the very personal and humane view of a catastrophe. Of course, historical events are talked of, but that's the point, they are only talked of. The most compelling aspect of the story is that it doesn't seek readers to sympathize with Asif, it's more of empathy that the character so seamlessly drives the reader into. Hatef here, is definitely not trying to reason out or critique where Asif's destiny has taken him. He just presents the facts to the readers and lets us decide what we feel about him.
It is a poised story of a boy, who is one of the many (how many nobody knows), people to have undergone the pain and angst that so characteristically follow separation, but who comes to terms with it in his own way. A must read for all.


This is an amazing book, definitely one of my new favorites. I could not put this book down when I first read it. Descriptions were well written, plots seemingly solid, I really enjoyed very much the descriptiveness and insightfulness of characters and the customs of Afghan people. It’s just seemed as a new world to me. To be honest, I cried a little while reading it. When Latifa had to do the sacrifice for her family’s honor, I was so sad for her, it’s weird. I've got to say, this book was one of the greatest books I’ve read. I don't like reading much but this book really got my attention and I’m ready to read more books of him.


So I basically started to read the red wrath and it took me two weeks to finish it. After a couple of chapters I was hooked.
I love how the author describes in details the thread between trauma, memory and love. The sad part of the book is the destruction and death that comes with war.

The story starts off set in Norway where Asif is living but in the second chapter he travels back in time, before the Taliban were in control and even before Russia began their invasion.
This book consists of love, love between father and son, friends, motherland and those we feel us closes too.

The book was also helpful when it came to describing thge Afghan culture and the language for us who isnt familiar with it from before.
Reading about how people were forced to leave their homeland and live as a refugee in difficult conditions made me think more since we tend to see these people as statistic numbers rather than human beings.

The book was never boring and I loved every chapter as it made me hungry for the next one.

Highly recommend it!


This book was truly amazing and I would surely rate it more than 5 stars if it was possibly.
The story was totally heart wrenching reading about all the sacrifices Asif had to make in order to help and support his family. One of many things he sacrificed was his education, something he loved very much. In order for his family to survive and his brother to study, Asif had to work long hours every day.
The author describes everything in a way which makes me feel like I'm in Afghanistan. I can see the green valleys and the azure blue lakes before it all is destroyed by bombs.

I frequently felt my throat close up and a heaviness enter me reading about how Asif lost his father and sister and his home. Their lives change dramatically when the Russians attack

A story that delves into the deepest sorrows and the spirit in everyone. This is a story about loyalty, friendship and redemption and I would love to recommend it to everyone.


Read it! Excellent and grabbing story. Trying to reach the writer but unfortunately without succes. I am expecting more from Hatef Mokhtar.


The more I come to know about Hatef as a person the more do I like this book. Remarkable, readable, inspiring, thought-provoking, passionate and intensely penned...lots of wisdom! A MUST READ...I STRESS AGAIN!

heart of me

This book was truly amazing and I would surely rate it more than 5 stars if it was possibly.
The story was totally heart wrenching reading about all the sacrifices Asif had to make in order to help and support his family. One of many things he sacrificed was his education, something he loved very much. In order for his family to survive and his brother to study, Asif had to work long hours every day.
The author describes everything in a way which makes me feel like I'm in Afghanistan. I can see the green valleys and the azure blue lakes before it all is destroyed by bombs.
I frequently felt my throat close up and a heaviness enter me reading about how Asif lost his father and sister and his home. Their lives change dramatically when the Russians attack
A story that delves into the deepest sorrows and the spirit in everyone. This is a story about loyalty, friendship and redemption and I would love to recommend it to everyone.

Our Community Review:

Our Community Review:

“The pain we feel in separation is the price we pay for love.”
― Hatef Mokhtar, The Red Wrath - A Journey Between Two Destinies

The Red Wrath by Hatef Mokhtar is the tale of Asif Khan, a boy born in a village in Afghanistan during the reign of President Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan in the 1970s. Against the backdrop of his reign, Afghanistan was on its way towards progress; it meant a civil and unified society and the emancipation of women. For Asif, his family and friends, it was a regular idyllic life of the landed gentry in a village. He lived with his parents (Zulfikar and Hasiba) and brother and sister and they were happy and safe. Modernization had not swept into their region and people still relied on horses and carriages and life in terms of infrastructure meant arduous. Mazar-i-Sharif was the closest city they could go to for an outing or a trip if someone was unwell and needed to see a doctor.

However life was not meant to be remotely easy for these ordinary folks for long. In Kabul, the political situation was not hunky-dory. In 1978, President Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan was assassinated by the communists and the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) came to power in 1978. Thus began the brutal killings and torturing of intellectuals, religious figures and the elite. Nur Mohammad Taraki became the president. However his reign was interrupted by his assassination and Hafizullah Amin came to power. The Soviets replaced him and Afghanistan fell into an abyss of despair. Asif’s father, Zulfikar was jailed never to return home. He died in police custody and his family never got to know where he was buried. His only flaw was that he did not believe in communism and he stood up to his opponents. Their flight from one village to the other could not save them from the vindictiveness of those in power. They sunk into deep poverty. The lives of Asif, his family and those around him changed for the worse. Amidst the turmoil, their haven of survival seemed to be Peshawar in Pakistan. The life and deaths in the refugee camp took a severe emotional toll on him and his family until they returned to Afghanistan after the Soviets. Afghanistan never remained the same; the Taliban had taken over. There began another reign of terror and fanaticism. Left with no choice, Asif had to flee and seek asylum in Norway.

This book is a heart-wrenching read of a country that has been shattered by autocratic rule, zealots, and fanaticism. It throws light on their idea of freedom, love for their community as an entire family, and the plight and role of women in their society. Hatef Mokhtar has raised some thought-provoking questions on widow remarriage and love.

The essence of this story lies in the concept of forgiveness; Asif loses his father and sister, loses his innocence working in Peshawar to provide for his mother and brother, he is harassed by the police on the rough lanes of Peshawar and his faith is questioned by the Taliban. Yet he forgives. Secondly, the book reveals a very resilient spirit in Asif despite his fear of human loss, stress and break down. He remains positive or rather moves on and not once does he become bitter filled with hatred and loathing. His love and sacrifice for his family is beautifully described and all through the book, he is a giver. Thirdly, The Red Wrath sheds light on the importance of human rights, individual dignity, the right to education and the freedom of speech. Further the author has chronicled the history of modern Afghanistan in a stark yet riveting way.

anna zagorna

1. You can't seem to put it down once if you start reading this book. The characters come to life and are easy to imagine. It’s a lot of passion and gore but it’s a story of love, separation, life, and learning. I felt the world created by the author was beautiful, and lucid because Real human beings facing extraordinary circumstances and dealing with their own fears. The book is exciting and innovative, and the reality of it adds to the thrills. I encourage readers to read this book.i believe the red wrath wrote with pure love and pain,,,

paul bright oslo

The book is well written, original and pretty thought which read into author thoughts about discrimination and such. I read a review by an earlier critic that pointed out his strength as a writer, in portraying Afghan women as helpless and ill fated in terms of social barriers. Everyone ties in to a knot you will never forget and you will recommend this book to everyone you see
When I got this book, I did not know what to expect. But I had chills up and down my spine, when I finished reading this book. It’s the excitement of exploration, and the drive of the human struggling life is captured in a real situation. The story shows a real visionary writer at work. Excellent story, characters. Twists and turns in just the right places. What else can I say except that it is an excellent novel? So stop reading this review and go out and get it, otherwise you will miss out on one hell of a novel.


After reading The Red Wrath my view of Afghanistan of a bloody land took quite a hit. The book is quite disturbing as it lays out real facts of a land that went from being peaceful to one where violence ruled the roost. The future too looks bleak as the country continues to bleed.
Hatef Mokhtar, the Chief of The Oslo Times in Norway is a gifted writer whose narration makes an impact from the very first chapter. The story of Asif takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride with happiness, sadness, hope and courage all packed into one. While Asif tries to get life back into his family after his father and little sister’s gruesome death, his past keeps on haunting him making it difficult to lead a normal life. But his sheer determination sees him go through some of the toughest terrains and ultimately lead a dignified in life.

The Red Wrath by Hatef Mokhtar is thought provoking in a sense that it lays the whole of Afghanistan, its people, the land, culture and difficulties all in just one book. A must read.

The story opens in an Oslo, Norway cafe when Asif, an Afghani expatriate, sees a childhood friend, Akram, after many years. Afterwards, he begins a mental journey through his past to the present, where he is attempting to put his life back together and gain inner peace.

Asif remembers the love of his family, the closeness of his village, the respect and loyalty shared by those around him. In his small village, one could count on everyone coming together in support and friendship, regardless of any past differences. He lived a life innocent of any hate or violence. Simple people of honor surrounded him until the day it came crashing down as violence, fear and hatred intruded on his world, his country.

Visciously, his family is torn from him. His life is now one of fear and pain. If not for his inner strength gained from the lessons his father and community taught him, Asif would never have been able to survive to make a better life elsewhere. Sadly, his scars run deep and he now struggles day to day. Will he be able to gain a new perspective, and put the past to use in a positive way for his future? Can he depend on his good memories to give him strength now?

The Red Wrath: A Journey Between Two Destinies, is a gut wrenching story of polar opposites, love vs hate, peace vs war, hope vs desolation. It cuts deep into your soul with each emotion-filled page about a country torn apart by war and bloodshed, attacked by Communists and the Taliban, beaten into a cruel submission.

For many of us reading this tale, the author has chosen to help us understand the way of life in this Muslim country. He kindly explains even the simplest things, so we may see better through the eyes of his characters. I greatly appreciated learning the correct names for things as mundane as an article of clothing, actually helping to keep me in the moment.

Author Hatef Mokhtar has painted this story from his soul, relying on experience as his canvas. This is a book I will keep in my memory for a long time to come. I HIGHLY recommend it!

This edition was graciously provided by the author, Hatef Mokhtar, in exchange for an honest review.

brijesh kumar

A cursory glance at Hatef Mokhtar’s new book “The Red Wrath” will be deceiving to say the least. The cover page of the book has been designed in such a manner that it puts forth the idea of a run-of-the-mill story about a revolution taking place. But Hatef Mokhtar’s book is much more than that. It transcends all boundaries of human emotions that we have ever read about. Mokhtar has described even the simplest of things with a manner of grandiose which renders the reader speechless.
“The Red Wrath” is a moving and compassionate story about the protagonist Asif who has lost a lot in his life, including his love and family. The minute attention given to details by Hatef Mokhtar makes it different from other books in this genre because he is able to internalize the pain felt by the protagonist. Anyone who reads the book will be able to feel the pain and suffering as if it were his own. Having done this, Mokhtar has given the world a masterpiece that would stay in the minds of people for a long time to come.


The first time I got my hands on the book “The Red Wrath” by Hatef Mokhtar, I was apprehensive about whether this would be a good read. It seemed like an ordinary story of Afghanistan and its war-stricken problems. And of course, the cover page of the book did not help matters much. But once I started reading it, all my doubts were dispelled.
Hatef Mokhtar’s second offering, “The Red Wrath” is a fresh take on the country of Afghanistan and the life its people lead. His story follows the life of Asif who reminisces over his life with family, friends and love which takes him on a journey across three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Norway. The book is undiluted in throwing across a barrage of emotions at the reader and these results in a tumultuous journey of pain, longing, suffering and hope. Definitely a book to cherish!

jacob dane

The Red Wrath is essentially a love story which is cut short by the atrocities of war and conflict only to make it more interesting. The novel is based in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Norway where Asif, the protagonist, makes an unforgettable journey across three decades. He lives through the loss of his family, love and friends but ultimately, emerges from it, born again. Through the eyes of the characters, Asif, Latifa, Mori and Zulfikar, we experience the rugged terrain of life in Afghanistan as the people out there lead their lives.
The writer, Hatef Mokhtar, makes a strong point of his book by focusing on the lives of the people and making them experience human emotions just as all of us do. He paints a different picture of Afghanistan from the one which incessantly strays in front our eyes whenever we try to imagine life in the country. This, in itself, elevates the book above many others, in its genre: a very evocative read.

rays ethell

Readers of the book “The Red Wrath” will undoubtedly confirm that it has been a long time since such a thought-provoking book has come out. Hatef Mokhtar, in his second book, has managed to surpass himself with a vivid description of life in the land of Afghanistan. He puts forward details of life through a period of three decades and explains it beautifully with the help of the most basic of human emotions that of love, pain and hope. Asif, the protagonist, in Mokhtar’s book, goes through the rigid heartbreak of losing his family, friends and love and makes us all accomplices to his pain.
Through the writer’s words, the reader can get a beautiful, almost true-to life experience of what it means to be born under the circumstances of war, chaos and conflicts. A chance encounter with an old friend starts Asif off on his journey of nostalgia and helps indulge the reader in a generous bout of excellent writing.

andrew john

Hatef Mokhtar’s “The Red Wrath” is a work of emotive and evocative art. His love and longing for his homeland, the book takes us on an emotional journey through Afghanistan, Pakistan and Norway. The story is about Asif who has a chance encounter with an old friend which sends him off on a nostalgic trip of memories. He reminisces over his family, friend and love and the various emotions he has experienced over the years. The story spans across a period of three decades and is a living testimony to the people of Afghanistan and the lives they lead.
The story is a whirlwind narration of a country and its inhabitants torn apart from their loved ones through war, conflict and strife. It focuses on universal emotions that move us and are imbibed in our memory forever. The story flits from the past to the present and in doing so, provides us a clear insider’s view into how life is lived in a land which has been plagued with horrors.

harry jackson

Hatef Mokhtar’s new book, “The Red Wrath” is not only a wonderful piece of fiction but is also an important part of the puzzle which helps us in understanding the lives of people living in Afghanistan. Right from the first chance meeting that Asif, the protagonist, has with his childhood friend, Akram, he is transported back to his childhood where his family still resides, in his memories. He pines for them and furtively wishes for a second, that he could get back to being a child, back in the comfort of his familial home, with his parents and siblings. Thus starts a journey undertaken by Asif which takes us onto three different countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Norway.
Asif imagines, in a melancholy manner, about a world in which he would have had the second chance to live his life, along with his family, friends and love, knowing it to be impossible.

peter sallen

The first stereotypical thing which comes to our mind when we try to imagine Afghanistan and its people is a country rife with war and people living in continual terror. But Hatef Mokhtar’s new book makes an attempt to dispel all of the above and boy, does he succeed! “The Red Wrath” is an immaculately described new story by Mokhtar who relates to the life of an Afghan. He blends together a perfect fusion of human emotions in the backdrop of war and regime change. He focuses on the humane and human side of life led in the country and follows Asif, the protagonist, as he trudges through three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Norway in the hope of reclaiming his family, friends and lost love. A plethora of emotions are described fantastically by Mokhtar and it seems hard to believe that “The Red Wrath” is only his second book. For anyone who wants to get and insider peek into life in the war-ravaged nation and its recent history, Hatef Mokhtar’s book is a must read.


An intense surge of emotion surged through me when I read Hatef Mokhtar’s book “The Red Wrath”. It is a journey through various levels of pain and longing, of hoping and losing it and of being born again. The book takes us on an intense journey revolving around Asif, the protagonist, his friends, love and family. He remembers various incidents which have made him the man he is today and grows nostalgic of certain others. He experiences a whole gamut of emotions which take him on a whirlwind journey through the past and the present across Afghanistan, Pakistan and Norway.
The book is not only about Asif, it is about all of us. We, as humans experience emotions that make us better or worse, for the rest of our journey through life. Hatef Mokhtar writes about all of this and more with a practiced hand, a rarity in today’s times.

virtual n/w

“The Red Wrath” by the Afghan writer Hatef Mokhtar is an unusual piece of literature. It is one of the first books that offer to us an insight into the lives of people who live in the bloodied lands of Afghanistan. Rather than concentrating on the dire straits that the local people have to go through and the modus operandi for survival, The Red Wrath takes us on a journey which explores human emotions. The depiction of life and its various nuances are beautifully expressed by Hatef Mokhtar who himself grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan, one of the countries where the protagonist Asif makes a foray.
Asif experiences a plethora of emotions and incidents as he reminisces about his life, love and family, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Norway. Hatef Mokhtar writes with the ease of a seasoned artist and makes us question ourselves about what we treasure most in our lives.

Manisha kumari

Hatef Mokhtar’s humane offering of Afghanistan and the untruths associated with it is a breath of fresh air that dissipates our conceptions of the war-stricken country. He digs into common perceptions of Afghanistan and serves us with a picture which we would not have ever imagined. We have come to associate the land as a battle-ravaged place with the blood of many an innocent person stricken on it and to some extent, it is true. What Hatef Mokhtar offers us in his book, “The Red Wrath” is an insight into the land where ordinary people live with the same human aspirations and longings that any other might have.
Staying true to what he does best; Mokhtar takes us on a journey which spans three decades and three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Norway. He regales to us stories from his past that have a beautiful way of staying with you long after you close the book. The Red Wrath is an epic book of gigantic proportions of people experiencing the simplest of emotions but which affect them is the grandest of manner.