Captives of Minara
A Josh Radley suspense novel set at a Pakistani archaeological site.
Winner of Word Guild best mystery/suspense novel, 2010
Three mysteries in one book, one modern, one archaeological, one about the mystery of marriage.
Praise from Reviewers
In Captives of Minara Josh Radley travels to Pakistan to write about archaeological discoveries that may unravel a 4500 year old mystery concerning the Indus civilization.
While there he struggles to restore intimacy to his marriage and put to rest nightmares reaching back to his childhood as a missionary kid. Josh expects heat and dust but is unprepared to deal with sabotage, theft, kidnapping, and murder. Tragic events plunge Josh, his wife Stephanie, and his daughter Janice into the dark world of human trafficking. Will they emerge with their faith intact and their lives unscathed?
PRAISE FROM REVIEWERS AND READERS
"Eric Wright's tale of kidnapping unfolds with page turning suspense and honest heart wrenching. The characters and landscape come alive in our imaginations with Wright's energetic and efficient prose. Having spent 16 years in Pakistan, he is able to draw the story realistically and entice the reader into this world of strange tongues and customs. We follow as the magic of an exotic culture lures the hero into the mystery of loss in a foreign land." Pat Calder, author and freelance writer
"Eric writes with such exceptional clarity that the reader feels immersed in the action and characters. Having read Eric’s first book, The Lightning File, I want to reconnect with Josh Radley and his adventures." Jan Cox, freelance writer
"Captives of Minara is a bittersweet brew of archaeological discovery, faltering family relations, cross-cultural interaction, and the tragedies of modern slavery. Lots of action laced with delicious and sometimes heartbreaking details of Pakistani life." Elma Schemenauer, prolific writer and editor
"Eric Wright’s second novel, Captives of Minara, a modern epic adventure, will grip you from start to finish. Wright will skillfully carry you through the Pakistan desert landscape, the muddled landscape of Josh Radley’s failing marriage, and the sometimes treacherous landscape of local and Muslim culture. Enjoy the rollercoaster journey." Richard Grove, publisher, editor, author
"Captives of Minara doesn't just entertain; it educates. Through the experience of the hero, Josh Radley, the reader witnesses the splendour of a foreign country while being challenged by an underlying insecurity about how best to act within a different culture. The suspense takes the reader to the very edge at least once.
Much of the world is looking to Pakistan these days, with some discomfort on what it might be hiding. Eric Wright exposes one of the darker secrets that has not received enough media attention." Kim Grove, former project manager, The Globe & Mail
"A well-wrought suspense novel ― timely and intelligent; a real page-turner." Sheila Wright, author of Amore
"A great read and a fine volume." Brian Mullally, author and freelance writer
"Eric Wright has written a moving book with plots and sub plots, where human trafficking, political and police corruption, archaeology, accurate ancient history and descriptive life in rural Pakistan. The writer's previous experience of being a worker in Pakistan, including learning Urdu comes through with so many descriptive sections in the book. There are current historical references as late as 2008. Human hope is combined with human depravity. I enjoyed this book more than any other I have read in 2009. Tonight I just ordered two more books to give to friends who I know will enjoy the book." Allyn Huntzinger, Michigan
Read the prologue!
November 22nd - A Pakistani village halfway between Karachi and Lahore
A breeze off the desert sent dust devils skipping ahead of Chandi’s sandaled feet. With one hand she steadied the huge bundle of fodder balanced on her head. With the other she adjusted her headscarf to hide her face as she passed the Punjabi section of the village.
Down one of the dirt avenues, several fat, black water buffaloes chewed their cuds beneath the shade of shesham trees. She glanced toward the whitewashed mosque in the village square and grimaced. Two boys, kicking a soccer ball back and forth, stopped to stare as she strode past.
Chandi knew that the distinctive blue-bordered, red calico of her dress set her apart from the Punjabi women. And so it should. Not for her a life of bowing to every demand of an uncouth husband. She was a Marwari, daughter of the desert, worshipper of the ancient gods, no slave of Allah. And soon, very soon, she’d announce her status by exchanging her imitation ivory bangles for silver ones. Wasn’t her father in Karachi making final arrangements for her wedding?
Her skirt swept the ground as she passed the stagnant pond that separated her village from the main part of Dhera Mundi. Her tribe’s allotment might be on derelict land rendered sterile by salt peter, but to her it was home. She strode through a gap in the compound’s wall of thorn brush and called for her younger brother to come to her aid.
Kalu dropped his crude cricket bat and ran to help her lift down the load of fodder she’d brought. Leaving Kalu to chop it into feed for their brace of skeletal oxen, Chandi stooped to dip water from one of the terracotta water pots. Empty. Both empty. She picked up the pots and headed towards the well.
A couple of hundred yards beyond the thorn brush wall lay the debris of what had once been a working Persian water wheel. The Punjabis, whose water came from a modern well in the village square, had long ago abandoned this one to Chandi’s tribe.
Chandi set one pot down, balanced the other on her hip, and reached for the rope to bring up the leather bucket full of water. The sound of a vehicle made her turn. She watched a Toyota Land Cruiser approach slowly along the dirt road that separated the two parts of the village. She dropped the rope and pulled the corner of her shawl over her face.
Just when she thought the Toyota would pass, it swerved to a stop in front of her and two men jumped out. Chandi stumbled back, dropped her water pot, and turned to flee. One of the men grabbed her roughly around the waist. The other tried to seize her feet but she twisted and kicked to get free. Her shawl flew off and her blouse tore. She screamed like a wounded jackal as she pounded the face of the man in front of her. He clamped his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams but Chandi bit down until she tasted blood. With a howl of pain he wrested his hand free and slapped her hard. The other grabbed a handful of her hair and yanked so hard her eyes watered. He caught her in a chokehold, and dragged her into the Land Cruiser. With the salty taste of blood in her mouth and the smell of stale sweat in her nostrils she tried to spit out the tape they pressed over her mouth. The last thing she saw before the vehicle ground into gear and sped off was her younger brother running down the road towards her.
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