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The People of the Veil by Andrew M. Warren
is an action packed thriller ripped from todays headlines. It is a frightening
account about the hostile take-over of the American Embassy in Algiers by
The People of the Veil is set in Algiers across a few strategic
days in December 2001. Political unrest has turned to murderous violence, when
the Armed Islamic Group (AIG) and the ousted Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)
united with the warlike Taureg tribe. (The people of the veil in the title
refers to the Taureg tribe because the men of the tribe wear veils. Please note
the Taureg really do exist.) Abu Fahad
is the leader of the Tuareg warriors out to topple the liberal National
Liberation Front (FLN) government and replace it with the more fundamental
Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). First, his warriors mercilessly murder the prime
minister, other key members of the current FLN government, and their families.
Next, while the remaining members of the Algerian government try to reorganize,
the combined groups keep the police and military forces of the Ministry of the
Interior (MOI) busy with widely scattered car bombings and violence. Fahads
next goal is to seize and destroy the American Embassy in Algiers killing all
the infidel Americans. The American protagonist of the novel is Nick
Phillips. He is the Deputy Chief of Mission and Foreign Service Officer (FSO) at
the American Embassy in Algiers. Ambassador Curtis Alexander who is more
comfortable at a cocktail party than in a country in revolt has decided to seek
advice about the situation from his Washington cronies
in Washington, DC of
course. This leaves the Embassy in the hands of Nick, Sarah Garcia, the
ambassadors ever- capable secretary, Hank Gunny Johnson, the commander of
the Marine Security detachment, and Nicks rival, the head of Embassy Security.
While the Head of Security sits in his office and listens to the Algerian
rhetoric about the unrest, Nick is kept informed about what is really happening
on the streets of Algiers by Sami Bouteflica, a detective in the Violent Crimes
Division of the MOI. Nicks positive treatment of the local Foreign Service Nationals
(FSN) encouraged Sami to adopt Nick as a tribal brother and for Sami loyalty to
a brother runs deep. Nick, however, has more on his mind than just the safety
of the Embassy. Mariam Al-Qanai, Nick one true love is the daughter of the
murdered prime minister. Marian and her seven-year old sister were not at home
when the rest of their family was murdered. Since the killers targeted entire
families, Nick fears that Mariam and her sister are in great danger. As the
violence spreads, local police and military forces are pulled from the Embassy.
Sami warns Nick that he believes that the Embassy will be a target. Nick trusts
Sami intuition and calls for the evacuation of the Embassy and all remaining
Americans in the country. This order is met with stern opposition by the Chief
of Security who does not trust Sami or his information and he threatens to ruin
Nicks career if he insists on instituting the Evacuation Order. The rest of the novel includes bullets flying,
people dying, bombs explosions, buildings burning, gate crashing, and cars
chasing. The action continues non-stop to the heart pounding conclusion.
The People of the Veil is an intense high action thriller. It is most interestingly because it
describes both sides of the Islamic conflict. While I was never convinced of
the correctness of Fahads violent position, I began to understand why he was
drawn to the militant fundamentalist Islamic position. Warren does an excellent
job of juxtaposing the fluid leadership of the Islamists with their checks and
balance system based in the hydra cell structure with the democratic structure
of the Algerian government and the U.S. Embassy with bureaucratic red tape as
its system of checks and balances. The mind numbing usage of acronyms for
groups and, positions, while admittedly annoying, goes a long way to
demonstrate the tangle of government beau racy. For a taste of the
sights and sounds of Algeria visit the authors page at http://www.peopleoftheveil.com/
Andrew M. Warren definitely knows
of what he writes. He has combined a career in the Foreign Service with his
desire to be an author. Warren earned a Bachelor from Norfolk State University
and a Masters Degree in Middle East History and Arabic from Indiana University.
He has worked with the National Security Agency and served as the Foreign
Service Officer (FSO) at the American Embassy in Kuwait for the U.S. State
Department from 1997 until 2001. He has traveled extensively throughout the
Middle East and North Africa. He currently lives in New York City. The
People of the Veil is
The People of the Veil by Andrew M. Warren is
a must read. Warren attempts to describe the militant Islamic position and its
anti-American bias with an attempt to understand it. Otherwise, the book is
harsh. It is cruel. It is violent. People die, many violently, some the reader
will be pained to read about. Other peoples fate remain unknown; their stories
unfinished. This novel not an easy read, but it is one that should be read. I
strongly recommend and urge people read this novel.
© 2003 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the
United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at
Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested
in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area
of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian
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