Saturday, August 6, 2011

book review: The Wind Thief by Martha Engber

The Wind Thief
Pub: Alondra Press
Author: Martha Engber
# ISBN#9780981452340
Trade Paperback, 206 pages

A tale of obsession and redemption, The Wind Thief is the story of two souls who are swept from land to land, one in search of a home, the other in search of a war, and both ever a step behind the peace they seek.

"-From the opening scene in the desolation of the Sahara Desert to the final conclusion on a storm-blasted mountaintop, Martha Engber weaves a haunting tale of the ultimate triumph of love between Ajay, the thief from Mumbai, and Madina, a strangely obsessed desert prostitute. Reminiscent of the late Garcia Marquez’s Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother."
- Homer Gallagher, Tales of the Mosquito Coast.

THE WIND THIEF, a review

The Wind Thief is a beautifully crafted literary novel about a young man trying to save a broken young woman who exhibits more scars than the one across the side of her face. It's a tale so gripping you're beguiled from sentence one. If you're a writer, you'll study every word, trying to capture the essence of great writing until, without warning, you've forgotten you're even reading at all.

Miss Engber's prose sting and tug and pull at your heartstrings no matter how tough you think you are. Because while you're along on this journey from the Sahara Desert to Morocco to South America to Jamaica, you're no longer simply a reader, you're a participant. The Wind Thief is what great writing should be about: a journey on the wings of a quest that will stay with you long after you've reached the end.

A tale of salvation, The Wind Thief is about yearning and survival. It's rich with metaphors in a language that is easy to escape into. Ajay sets out to save Madina and does just that. Madina sets out to save the world and ends up understanding more about life than most of us ever do.

Scars, fear, faith, but most of all The Wind Thief is about heroes.


Ajay shifted his weight. A pebble rolled off the boulder and bounced on a rock. Ping.

The woman, now only ten paces away, stopped, her eyes on him, their color that of the light green glass of his water bottle when the sun shone through. Unexpected decisiveness amid so much pastel. The unblinking orbs held his so tightly a long moment passed before he realized she was smiling at him.

Ajay stepped back, his right heel hanging off the edge of the boulder. An almost naked woman in a Muslim country wouldn't smile at an unknown male in public, much less when she was alone. Again he glanced right and left. No one. Yet she smiled,

He narrowed his eyes and focused on her lips. Then he realized the smile was not really a smile, but rather a false grin made by a scar, a shiny, smooth, impermeable scar. The thick rope of pink pulled down her left eye, ran a jagged semicircle around the outside of her high cheekbone and tugged up on the left corner of her mouth. A permanent expression of sad amusement, though her eyes gave no indication of her thoughts.

The woman dropped the bundle on the ground. Ajay crouched, ready to jump backward, the boulder between them. But the woman squatted beside her bundle, from which she pulled an off- white robe. She shook it, apparently to ensure no dangerous creatures lurked in the folds, and then pulled it on over her body. She wrapped a matching scarf around her head. She slipped her feet into worn sandals, slung the bundle over her shoulder, and without looking at Ajay, walked past him towards the east.

He stood with unblinking eyes and an open mouth, watching this lone young woman who not only turned her back on a male stranger, but pretended he didn't exist. This crazy woman who walked in the opposite direction he wanted to go. Yet he needed water. He jumped from the boulder, slung his backpack over his shoulder and grabbed his bag.

"Marhaba," Ajay shouted in passable Arabic. "Kaifa haluka?" How are you?

Because he really did want to know.

I give The Wind Thief 5 stars.

--happy reading

ps. Sunday is Blog Jog Day! Please come to this site on Sunday, August 7th (tomorrow) to jog through some amazing blogs, enter contests, even win some great prizes!

Hope to see you then!


  1. I'm still trying to ingest the wonderful review, Joylene. Thanks for taking the time to read my book and provide your personal thoughts, especially since I know how busy you must be in promoting your new book.

    You're a marvel, and much appreciate as a fellow writer and friend.

  2. I'm so glad you liked the review, Martha. I actually felt as if I couldn't do the book justice. The Wind Thief is on my list of top 10. I loved it that much.

    You did a wonderful job with the characters and the setting and voice and I'll probably read it again next year.


  3. Mmm...that indeed is delicious writing!
    The book promises to be good!
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Thanks, Carol. I hope you get a chance to read it. Great book.

  5. That's high praise from you... it sounds like a book I'll have to hunt up soon. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. I really think you'd like The Wind Thief, Carol. It's a beautifully written story.

    Have a nice Sunday.

  7. Hi Joylene .. that certainly rates a high score and sounds such an interesting read .. the mix of the Sahara, Morocco and on across the Atlantic .. your excerpt certainly entices me .. and I hope to read it one day .. thanks for this wonderful review for Martha's book ..

    Enjoy your Sunday .. and the blog jog .. Hilary

  8. Thank you so much, Hilary. I'm enjoying my Sunday, that's for sure. Lots of great blogs out there.

    Thanks for visiting.

  9. If your books are as good as your pictures you have winners. Very nice blog. You can see my blog at

  10. Hi Elva. Thanks for stopping by. You're in the draw. I did stop at your blog. Happy jogging.

  11. Take care, Carol. I'm going to miss you!

  12. This sounds rather tragic..I hope it had a happy ending. I can relate to what you said about studying every word. It's funny that I never used to do that until I started writing. :)

  13. Laila, I won't spoil it for you, only to say that I was satisfied with the ending. It's truly a wonderful story that I'll read again.


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