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  • By stevesweeney08
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Re: Review: The Horde by Guy Cousins " Part Two: Cousins' characters are as much the real power behind the book as the story itself; Hunter, the seemingly placid man of hidden depths and resilience; Nina, the apparently unsympathetic, hard-headed reporter who becomes emotionally wiser because of her ordeal; Richard Monkton, the supposed weakling who in actuality is bravest of all; the scientists and military men who rise above mere duty and ambition to do what is right; Rasheed, Aisha and Jamila, the Afghanis who are so like us, in spite of our cultural differences. The author has captured them all wonderfully well, and placed them perfectly in his diverse, all-too-real fictional world. It's a book of surface contrasts and fundamental similarities. The author posits the often coarse, break-neck pace of contemporary European life against the more basic yet soulful nature of existence in Central Asia (the Afghan characters are easily the most sympathetic in the novel), a... More > culture unknown to many of us aside from what we learn of it through written and televised media. Cousins has gone beyond the sphere of a 'mere' fiction writer here, and done us a tremendous service - all too often and for reasons of political expediency, we are told that these people are 'alien', 'unsophisticated', even our 'enemy'; Cousins has given them a human face and on the whole, it is both beautiful and commonplace; they are like us, after all, and their response to the situations in which they find themselves could teach us in the West a great deal. I found the interludes which feature the war in Afghanistan to be the most touching in the book because, despite the horrific nature of the conflict, one not only gets the sense of its senselessness, its human cost, but also because the author lays bare the reasons why some fight and others merely try to make it through the day. It's all too easy for Westerners to care little about a war in a far-off land, but with a light yet memorable touch, Guy Cousins shows us this 'other' world, and makes us care. Despite the carnage of the Afghan conflict, despite the superficialities of London life, there is hope, the hope that future generations will change things for the better. We are given insight into the minds of young Afghanis as they implicitly long for a less restricted, freer lifestyle unfettered by religious tradition; and we see that in these days when many of our 'friends' are in truth merely acquaintances, our relatives perhaps a necessary annoyance, genuine bonds still have a place - the friendship between the novel's hero and the elusive Nina Siketi gains strength over time, the relationship between Hunter, Christian and his mother survive this trial by fire. After many ordeals, obstacles and doubts, they unite to defeat overwhelming odds and indeed, shape a bright future out of an everchanging present, a grim past. Possibly this is the motif that Guy Cousins had in mind all along - notwithstanding our differences and dilemmas, we can all change, for the better. The Horde is, fittingly, the best of both worlds. It is a marvellous, intoxicating thriller of strikingly modern character underscored with an ageless theme - the strength of human personality in adversity.< Less
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Product Details

Salvatore Publishing
December 4, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.07 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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