Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
“It is Massoud who always has a plan. It is Massoud who always has a vision. It is Massoud who always has a strategy. He didn’t ask for any of this, but when it was laid on his shoulders, he accepted the responsibility and has never shrugged it off,” Abdullah explains to Michelle in MaryAnn T. Beverly’s novel, From That Flame.
At three hundred and thirty-four pages, this engaging historical fiction reads more like a true story about Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, known as the “Lion of Panjshir” of Afghanistan. Targeted toward readers who want to learn about the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighting against this leader and the mujahidin in the Hindu Kush Mountains, it has biographical connections to “the Afghan who ended the Cold War” that Osama bin Laden assassinated two days before he attacked America.
When female American journalist Michelle Garnett gets sidetracked writing an article how the Taliban treats women overseas, she travels with an army commanded by the famous Massoud in the high altitudes and rough terrain of Afghanistan.
As the writer and military leader begin to know each other, their upbringings, and cultural differences, Dr. Abdullah often has to play chaperone in the cold caves, treacherous mountain passes and battered tent living as war rages around them.
Forty-nine year old Massoud so enjoys Michelle’s young, lively spirit, witty charm, and unpredictability as she displays her fearless, bold approach to their friendship that he makes it his personal duty to protect her. From diving under destroyed tanks, falling off an old mule, or learning to shoot a pistol to speaking Dari, discussing life while enjoying a cup of green tea, and explaining the quirks of Western culture, she wears a paktou and pakol to blend in with the troops.
As the story evolves, one sees the obvious intense love Michelle develops for the Commander as he tries relentlessly to keep Afghan free from the Taliban as he explains his ultimate mission to her. As each day countdowns to the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, both man and woman find their purpose in life as they deal with regret, guilt, and acceptance during wartime tragedies.
With much description of the territory and history of the land along with the political aspect of war and its participating and non-participating players, Beverly sets the scene of dissention, disillusion and death during this pivotal time in world history.
This book was furnished through Kallisti Publishing in lieu of an unbiased review.