Authors: Sigmund Brouwer
Thief of Glory
“Emotionally riveting and exquisitely raw,
Thief of Glory
is an unforgettable tale about survival, not just of the body, but of the heart and soul, with an ending that will echo in your mind long after you’ve closed the book. Brouwer is a master storyteller.”
, author of
A Fall of Marigolds
Thief of Glory
Sigmund Brouwer plunges readers into the mysterious embrace of the Dutch East Indies during the convulsions of the Second World War. Few authors have such an ability to immerse an audience in the sights, sounds, smells … and horrors! Brouwer makes you live it … sharing each moment of an exotic and terrifying time and place in a gripping, personal way.”
, authors of
Take This Cup
Thief of Glory
is a powerful story, richly told. Young Jeremiah Prins is a complex and fascinating hero, blessed with great gifts and challenged by choices to use them for good or evil. The details of life in a Japanese civilian prison camp are revealed in unflinching but compassionate realism, and the characters depict the human capacity for both great selfishness and great heroism. This is truly one of the best books I’ve read this year.”
, award-winning author of
On Distant Shores
In Perfect Time
“I’ve been a fan of Sigmound Brower’s books for ages, but
Thief of Glory
cocooned me in rich words, vivid descriptions, and true-to-life characters, making this book hard to put down. A fan of World War II, I’ve read countless tales, but World War II in the Dutch Indies was new to me, fresh and heart-wrenching at the same time. A true glimpse of light amongst darkness, made even more special due to the inspiration of Sigmund’s parents’ story.
Thief of Glory
is going on my keeper shelf!”
best-selling author of over forty books, including
Chasing Mona Lisa
The Canary List
Flight of Shadows
The Weeping Chamber
Pony Express Christmas
Out of the Shadows
Crown of Thorns
Lies of Saints
The Last Disciple
The Last Sacrifice
The Last Temple
Fuse of Armageddon
Dead Man’s Switch
The Orphan King
Fortress of Mist
Blades of Valor
THIEF OF GLORY
PUBLISHED BY WATERBROOK PRESS
12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921
Scripture quotation in chapter 44 is from the NET Bible®, copyright © 1996–2005 by Biblical Studies Press LLC,
. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Apart from well-known people, events, and locales that figure into the narrative, all names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.
eBook ISBN 978-0-307-45924-4
Copyright © 2014 by Sigmund Brouwer
Cover design by Mark D. Ford; cover images copyright © Bettmann/CORBIS; Daniel Radicevic/ImageBroker; Superstock/Glow Images
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, New York, a Penguin Random House Company.
WATERBROOK and its deer colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Brouwer, Sigmund, 1959–
Thief of glory : a novel / Sigmund Brouwer.—First edition.
ISBN 978-0-307-44649-7 (paperback)—ISBN 978-0-307-45924-4 (electronic)
1. Mothers and sons—Fiction. 2. World War, 1939–1945—Fiction. 3. Family secrets—Fiction. 4. Indonesia—History—Japanese occupation, 1942–1945—Fiction. 5. Java (Indonesia)—Fiction. 6. Washington (D.C.)—Fiction. 7. Psychological fiction. I. Title.
In March of 1957, much in love, with all that they owned in suitcases, a young couple from the Netherlands boarded a ship to cross the Atlantic for an unknown future in Canada, both leaving behind the events of what the Second World War had inflicted on them as children.
As a small girl, she watched German soldiers take away her father for hiding a Jew in their house. Halfway across the world, at about the same time, the boy’s father went from teacher to soldier to prisoner of war, and Japanese soldiers forced the boy’s older brothers onto the flatbed of a truck that left the boy and the other siblings behind.
In Holland, the girl’s father eventually returned, but she endured the remainder of the Nazi occupation without her mother, who had died from pneumonia. In the Dutch East Indies, the boy’s father did not return, a victim of the brutal conditions of forced labor during the building of the infamous Burma railway, and the boy spent the war years with his mother and remaining siblings barely surviving a series of concentration camps.
All these years later, at the time of the writing of this novel, they are still together, still much in love. They have six children, fifteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. In the truest sense, this novel was inspired by that young couple—by stories of their childhoods and by how they lived and loved since that Atlantic crossing—my parents, Willem and Gerda. Because of their example, it was not difficult to imagine another decades-long journey in
Thief of Glory,
where Jeremiah and Laura share a similar enduring love.
RESENT DAY NAME
|Dutch East Indies|| ||Indonesia|
|French Indo-China|| ||Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam|
Journal 1—Dutch East Indies
A banyan tree begins when its seeds germinate in the crevices of a host tree. It sends to the ground tendrils that become prop roots with enough room for children to crawl beneath, prop roots that grow into thick, woody trunks and make it look like the tree is standing above the ground. The roots, given time, look no different than the tree it has begun to strangle. Eventually, when the original support tree dies and rots, the banyan develops a hollow central core.
In a kampong—village—on the island of Java, in the then-called Dutch East Indies, stood such a banyan tree almost two hundred years old. On foggy evenings, even adults avoided passing by its ghostly silhouette, but on the morning of my tenth birthday, sunlight filtered through a sticky haze after a monsoon, giving everything a glow of tranquil beauty. There, a marble game beneath the branches was an event as seemingly inconsequential as a banyan seed taking root in the bark of an unsuspecting tree, but the tendrils of the consequences became a journey that has taken me some three score and ten years to complete.
It was market day, and as a special privilege to me, Mother had left my younger brother and twin sisters in the care of our servants. In the early morning, before the tropical heat could slow our progress, she and I journeyed on back of the white horse she was so proud of, past the manicured grounds of our handsome home and along the tributary where my siblings and I often played. Farther down, the small river emptied into the busy port of Semarang. While
it was not a school day, my father—the headmaster—and my older half brothers were supervising the maintenance of the building where all the blond-haired children experienced the exclusive Dutch education system.