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From the best-selling author of Republic of Fear, a gritty, unflinching, haunting novel about Iraqi failure in the wake of the 2003 American war. Told from the perspective of a Shi'ite militiaman whose participation in the execution of Saddam Hussein changes his life in ways he could not anticipate, the novel examines the birth of sectarian politics out of a legacy of betrayal and victimhood.
A nameless narrator stumbles upon a corpse on the day of the fall of Saddam Hussein. Swept up in the tumultuous politics of the American occupation, he is taken on a journey that concludes with the discovery of what happened to his father, who disappeared in the tyrant's gulag in 1991. His questions about his father, like those surrounding the mysterious corpse outside his house, were ignored by his mother, and by his uncle, in whose house he was raised. But he is older now, and a fighter in his uncle's Army of the Awaited One, which is leading an insurrection against the occupation. Clues accumulate: a letter surreptitiously delivered to his mother during his father's imprisonment; stories told by his dying grandfather. Not until the last hour before the tyrant's execution is the narrator given the final piece of the puzzle. It comes from Saddam Hussein himself. It is a story about loyalty and betrayal, victims turned victimizers, secrecy and loss--and identity: the haste with which it is cobbled together, or undone, always at terrible cost. It is a story that will stay with readers long after they finish the final page.
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