Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Praying with the Enemy by Steven T. Collis

Praying with the Enemy
By Steven T. Collis
Published by Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: June 7th, 2022

Description from the publisher: 
Based on the true story of an American POW during the Korean War and a North Korean soldier who become unlikely allies united in their shared faith in God during a daring escape to freedom. 
When pilot Captain Ward Millar is forced to eject over enemy territory in North Korea, the ejection explosion snaps both of his ankles. Unable to walk, he is easily captured by North Korean and Chinese soldiers who interrogate, threaten, and starve him for strategic wartime information. He feeds the enemy false information while plotting his escape. But it's only a matter of time before they discover his lies. He knows it will take a miracle to gain his freedom, but his previous self-reliance on his own capabilities has never included appealing to a higher power. If only he had faith like his wife, Barbara, whose firm belief in God can move mountains. 
North Korean soldier Kim Jae Pil was raised to believe in the power of prayer, but, knowing the Communist Party's views on religious groups, Kim and his family must keep their Christian faith secret. He is desperate to escape the army, return to his family, and then flee to South Korea. 
With Millar imprisoned and unable to walk, and the North Korean army increasingly suspicious of Kim's actions, it seems impossible that either man will find the freedom they so desperately desire. But when these wartime foes cross paths, they find in each other an unlikely ally. Despite speaking different languages, Millar and Kim find common ground in their fragile faith and must rely on each other to undertake a daring escape. 
Praying with the Enemy is a story of courage, determination, unlikely friendship, and enduring faith.

Not too long ago, I was thinking about how, with as many books as I've read about the American Civil War, WWI, and especially WWII, I might need to branch out, and I was particularly interested in finding a book about the Korean War, which I know so little about. So when I was given the chance to read an advance copy of Praying with the Enemy, I was eager to get started--and once I started, I was eager to keep reading. I really liked how the book had both American Ward Millar and Korean Kim Jae Pil as narrators; seeing things from each perspective was so fascinating. (We also got glimpses from Ward's wife's POV, which I also appreciated.) I loved learning about the different philosophies driving the communists and the capitalists and why different people might be drawn to each, I also appreciated seeing Ward's journey of faith, starting out not believing in God but coming to believe, and how Kim Jae Pil was already a believer but had his moments of doubt. This was just to interesting to read. I will say, I was expecting the two men to meet WAY earlier in the book than they actually did, so that threw me off a little bit, but not so much to make the book unenjoyable in any way. 

4 stars.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.