When the Nile Runs Red

( 6 )

Overview

Two men, one woman.
War-torn, disease-ridden Sudan.
One powerful God.

Paul Farid, who once persecuted the southern Sudanese, now loves the weary people whose lives have been destroyed by war.

Colonel Ben Alier has led his battle-hardened soldiers for two decades against the North, yet he pursues a relationship with his son even as his own ...

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When the Nile Runs Red

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Overview

Two men, one woman.
War-torn, disease-ridden Sudan.
One powerful God.

Paul Farid, who once persecuted the southern Sudanese, now loves the weary people whose lives have been destroyed by war.

Colonel Ben Alier has led his battle-hardened soldiers for two decades against the North, yet he pursues a relationship with his son even as his own demons pursue him.

Dr. Larson Kerr Farid works long hours caring for the sick, but fatigue and worry about her husband, are taking their toll.  And she's just learned something that will make everything more complicated. 

These three friends face constant danger as tensions escalate between the north and south, and as Paul's family schemes to kill him and Larson. Will Paul and Larson bridge the gap that seems to grow between them? And will Ben find peace as more than a soldier?

DiAnn Mills introduces her many fans to the current struggle facing Sudan in this riveting account of war, ancient hatreds, love and God's power. Sudan's beauty and tragedy will pierce the soul of every reader.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

When the Nile Runs Red has all the earmarks of a great novel-a hold-your-breath plot, larger-than-life characters, with a beautiful thread of hope and valor woven through-all handled with DiAnn Mills' accomplished voice.
-Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and A Vow to Cherish

DiAnn Mills is a masterful storyteller who's written a powerful tale of love, faith, and courage that could have been plucked from today's headlines.  When the Nile Runs Red puts a human face and heart on the suffering in the Sudan.  This book is a must-read.
-Mark Mynheir, author of The Void  

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802499110
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


DIANN MILLS is an award-winning author who launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. She currently has more than forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies. A few of her most recent books include When the Nile Runs Red, Breach of Trust, and Awaken my Heart. She is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader's Choice award for 2005 in the Long Contemporary and Novella category and is a favorite author of Heartsong Presents readers. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and live in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.diannmills.com.
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Read an Excerpt

When the Nile Runs Red

A NOVEL
By Diann Mills

MOODY PUBLISHERS

Copyright © 2007 DiAnn Mills
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-9911-0


Chapter One

Sudan, July 2005 Rainy Season

Blasted flying demons. Mosquitoes buzzed around Paul's head, into his ears, and on his lips. If they didn't carry a disease, they pestered a man to death.

"Tell me again about Jesus feeding five thousand men with two fish and five pieces of bread." The Dinka chief leaned in closer. "Sudan needs miracles like this."

Lines bore deep into the man's face, and his voice graveled with age. But his heart and mind reminded Paul of a child's, soaking up the words of Jesus in a way that encouraged his tribe to do the same. The two men sat outside the chiefs tukul hut before the rains began for the day.

"Thousands of men, women, and children had gathered on a hillside to hear Jesus speak. As the hours-"

Rifle fire pierced the air. Then two more shots cracked. A woman screamed. Several more shots shattered the once-peaceful morning.

"Leave now, my friend." The chief stood and straightened to his nearly seven-foot height. "May God clear a path before you."

Wordlessly, Paul acknowledged the chief's instructions and snatched up his backpack from inside the tukul. He stole behind the hut and saw the path ahead was littered with Government of Sudan soldiers and the fallen bodies of villagers. The GOS knew no gender or age. He touched the 9 mm strapped to his waist.

The chief clamped his hand on Paul's shoulder as if reading his thoughts. "Go. They'll kill us no matter if they find you or not."

The truth rang through Paul's mind. He'd be a prize for any of them. Men, women, and children fled in all directions. He raced toward the tall grass, but a GOS soldier must have spotted him. A bullet whistled to the right of his head.

He maneuvered through the rustling stalks, hunched over as far as possible without losing balance. The forest loomed ahead. Another shot sped past his right shoulder.

Close.

Too close.

Finally his steps sunk into the earthen floor of the forest, and he moved into the shadowed canopy, cool yet foreboding. A few moments later, he skirted around a few trees. He stopped to listen and observe any movement. When he felt certain no one had followed him, he cautiously retraced his steps into the tall grass.

Bent low, Paul peered through the brush to his left. The black-skinned soldiers hadn't moved on. They fired at anything moving. At least he was on foot ... and alone. The pistol at his fingertips offered little protection with the odds against him. Why were the GOS in the area, unless they were in search of him?

He held his breath. A soldier stole past him. At first the battalion of soldiers spread out about one hundred meters outside the jungle in search of him, but when they didn't find Paul's position, they appeared to give up. Or so it seemed. Khartoum's fighting force oozed cleverness like sweat beaded on Paul's brow. Although a peace treaty had been signed, it didn't stop government soldiers in search of a man accused of treason. Neither did it stop his family from wanting him dead.

Paul maintained his crouched stance behind a pile of rocks and brush that offered a small ditch beneath it for him to hide. He refused to consider snakes. His knees ached, but that was of little consequence compared to what would happen if the soldiers discovered him.

Paul's thoughts lingered on the village he'd left behind, Xokabuc-"We Still Struggle"-where he'd delivered medicine and issued Larson's directives about how to administer it to those suffering from malaria.

He worried about the plight of those who'd survived the initial raid. They'd be questioned and most likely persecuted or killed if they refused to convert to the Muslim faith or provide information about Paul's whereabouts. Loyalty at a price. The sacrifice of these villagers, and others like them, more than bothered him. Many times he'd wondered if his death would lessen their suffering. Long ago he'd set his course to aid the persecuted Sudanese and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing had changed, except his ideals rang nobler than the fear clanging through his soul.

Now, as always when he stood in the path of danger, his thoughts turned to his wife. Lord, take care of Larson if I don't make it.

His daring frightened her. But as a doctor, Larson often risked her life for the same cause. Together they made a good team-sort of like the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

"He's disappeared," a soldier called in Arabic. "Was it Farid?"

If the enemy soldier looked directly to the east, he'd discover Paul's position. His white T-shirt and khakis made it hard to blend in with the terrain.

"Maybe. We should have found him by now," the commander said. "He either fell into a pit or flew away."

The first soldier walked toward Paul's hiding place, his attention focused on the ground. Footprints. Paul commanded his body not to move. The soldier pointed to spots of trodden grass.

"He headed for the jungle. Come nightfall, the lions will take care of him."

The commander joined him and bent to study the tracks. Paul thought he could hear the blood flow through their veins, smell the stench of their breath. If he was caught, would his wife and friends be safe? Nizam's letter lay in his backpack. Paul needed answers. More, he needed the truth.

"We could trail him, but I'm not so sure he's our man," the commander said.

"One of the villagers said he was Paul Farid just before I shot him."

The commander chuckled. "The infidel said that to save himself. He'd have claimed his mother was Farid."

The two laughed.

The commander stood and stared into the trees. Paul's heart pounded harder than the drums alerting nearby villages of the approaching enemy. The two soldiers scanned every plant and tree, often staring at Paul's rock and brush fortress.

"I saw Farid in Khartoum with the president's family some years ago. It looked like him running from the village. He resembles his brothers, especially Nizam."

My brother who may want me dead?

"Hard to say," the commander said. "Rumors are everywhere, but I'm itching to catch him. The reward would make me a rich man."

The soldier stared straight at the rock and brush where Paul hid. A grin spread across his face. He lifted his rifle and took aim.

* * *

Larson Farid took a long drink of water and stepped into the sunlight. Home: the village of Warkou, the province of Bahr al-Ghazal, the district of Aweil. The unforgettable Sudan. She had its location memorized as though she'd lifted the words from the pages of a travel brochure. Its hypnotic appeal never failed to draw her into its beauty. The lush, green earth with its abundance of waterfowl beside the Lol River, and the magnificent wildlife-from the tall giraffes to the graceful gazelles to the thick-skinned elephants-painted a pastoral setting. The soil, rich with nutrients, awaited plantings. But nature's cloak hid the turmoil.

Since dawn, patients had trailed toward her clinic, forming an endless line of despair. Weariness settled in her bones. Paul was right. She needed to rest more. Her back ached, and she craved hours of sleep. Queasiness spread through her stomach as though she'd taken a raft down the Nile's rapids. She didn't have time for such nonsense. People needed her.

Larson closed her eyes and willed the sensation to disappear. Why hadn't Paul come home?

He's encouraging and evangelizing, I'm sure. Paul never let an opportunity pass to talk about Jesus. Sometimes she wished he weren't so vocal; she wanted her husband alive.

Larson pressed her lips together. She had work to do. Lots of it. But the uneasiness marching across her mind, coupled with the sickness churning in her stomach, left her apprehensive.

Pushing away the sensation, she beckoned to a woman carrying a naked, sleeping infant-or maybe the baby was dead. A good many of her patients traveled for days to reach her. Too often, the ordeal killed them. She refused to dwell on those unfortunate Sudanese, but instead on those who recovered. They were the lucky ones, the ones who could go on living another day in hope of peace and a better tomorrow.

"Good morning," Larson said in Dinka. "Thank you for bringing your baby to me. I want to see if I can help him." Larson lifted the baby boy into her arms. She couldn't detect a pulse or a heartbeat. Her heart plummeted. The mother's emaciated body told the story.

The day wore on. Weariness wrapped its debilitating clutches around her, but she refused to give in. Perhaps she needed an antibiotic. But the thought of wasting precious medicine on herself didn't sit well. Rest. A few hours' sleep would wipe all this nonsense away.

"Larson," her assistant, Sarah, said, "you don't look so good. Are you sick?" The woman laid a wrinkled hand on Larson's arm.

"Just tired. I plan on going to bed early tonight. Paul will be back soon, and having him here always helps."

"Do you hurt somewhere?" Sarah tilted her face, shiny black from the many beads of perspiration.

Larson added the last stitch to a cut on a boy's forehead. Sarah took over with antiseptic. "I'm simply exhausted, Sarah. In fact, I'm so tired that my stomach is upset."

"How long have you felt like this?" Sarah kissed the young boy's cheek and complimented his bravery.

"A few weeks."

"And your monthly flow?"

Larson stiffened. No. She and Paul took precautions for that very reason.

"Children aren't for us. At least not until peace is set into place," he'd said. Combating multiple diseases wasn't the safest environment for a child either. "If you ever become pregnant, I'll insist you head to Nairobi, or better yet, the States," he'd continued. "Until my family is no longer after me, there can be no children."

"The pill will take care of that." The words echoed across her mind. She had taken her pills.

Larson paused before summoning another patient. Eight weeks late. She'd attributed the delay to stress and lack of sleep.

Sarah smiled, her face etched with lines of wisdom. "A woman knows no greater joy than to bear a child." She pointed upward. "It makes God's love and the love for your husband a complete circle."

Larson shivered. She should run a urine or blood test to be sure, but not knowing sounded better than learning the truth. She cringed at the thought of Paul's response to such a mess.

This is silly. A false alarm. I should be concentrating on my patients. "I don't want to talk about this."

"Maybe God has a different plan."

"Not for me."

Sarah turned and tilted her head, as if she hadn't heard correctly.

"Having a baby is a ridiculous idea," Larson said.

The old woman chuckled. "We'll see what the future holds."

Hours later, Larson lay awake on the wooden-framed bed she typically shared with Paul. Despite her overwhelming urge to sleep, her thoughts rushed ahead. Pregnant? A baby would ruin her work-maybe her marriage. As she mulled Paul's declarations over in her mind, she knew he would want only the best for her and his child.

Sudan was not a toddler's playground.

The nagging thought persisted until she rose and made her way through to the clinic. She wouldn't get a moment's peace until she ran a test and found out for sure. As Sarah had said, maybe God's plans were different from theirs. Larson envisioned her husband's dark eyes and tanned skin ... the shape of his mouth and his thick, nearly black hair. Dare she let her mind drift to thinking about a little girl or boy?

No, this couldn't be happening. More problems were brewing. Paul's brother Nizam had written another letter indicating a desire to see Paul. The thought frightened her. Her husband's Muslim family wanted him dead for converting to Christianity.

Larson completed the test and breathed a prayer for a negative result before taking a look.

* * *

Col. Ben Alier narrowed his gaze to concentrate on his orders from the Sudan People's Liberation Army headquarters. The print seemed small, or maybe his creeping over the forty-year mark had affected his eyesight. If it was the latter, that thought did nothing to ease his mind about any of the worries hammering in his head. In fact, hard-to-read print fell under the topic of a minor irritation. The signed peace treaty by the government and the struggling southern Sudanese was another matter.

Colonel Alier,

We are encouraged by the signing of the peace treaty uniting northern and southern Sudan. Khartoum promises to work with the South through the efforts of John Garang, as first vice president and advocate for the South. We are fortunate to be represented by our most highly respected leader. Only through arbitration can the people of southern Sudan be free from oppression and free to utilize our own resources. We have fought hard for self-rule and won. In six gears we can vote to become an independent nation. Your presence is requested in Juba beginning 15 August. Our goal will be to focus on the immediate needs of the South and the best wag to fulfill our responsibilities to the suffering and oppressed. We appreciate your commitment to the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement and your years of sacrificial service. Your contribution is of infinite value to the rebuilding of our country.

Ben lifted his head and closed his eyes just long enough to allow another thought to march across his mind. Incessant pain hammered against his spine and halted his musings. Too many years in the bush had weakened him physically, and now he paid the price. He stared at the letter in his fingertips.

How could the leaders of southern Sudan ever believe in lasting peace? Khartoum had no reason to keep a cease-fire-other than pressure from the U.S. and the international community. For that matter, the U.S. now focused its attention on the war in Iraq. Sudan's affairs had little to do with U.S. endeavors.

Ben expelled a labored sigh. Every thought for as long as he could remember had centered on some facet of the civil war-the north/south conflict that had ground on for more than twenty years. He argued the points of war, planned strategic battles, or fought the GOS. The three-pointed sword of religion, politics, and oil occupied his waking and sleeping hours.

Shaking his head at the ludicrous thought of peace for a united Sudan, Ben crumpled the paper in his hands. He was proud to be a Dinka, even prouder to be a member of the largest tribe in Sudan, the ones who gave the government the most trouble. He had no intention of discontinuing the fight, any more than the lying GOS had.

"Arab devils. They should be boiled alive."

Commander Okuk entered the tent. After respectfully saluting Ben with his left and only arm, he relaxed. "The men are encouraged about the new peace."

Ben stiffened, and even that sent a surge of pain up his spine. "Good for them."

"Colonel Alier, is this not what we've been fighting for?" Hope rose in the man's voice. "I have known nothing but war since the day my mother gave me life. When my wife and children were killed, I joined and fought with the SPLA."

Ben fought the urge to lay a fist into Okuk's face. "Are you so stupid that you can't see? The last time we were near your village, the GOS had burned everything to the ground and killed the goats and cattle. What was left of your people had been herded into a displacement camp without food and medical help. And you trust a worthless piece of paper?"

The muscles in Okuk's face tightened.

"I'm a realist," Ben said. "Let the results speak for those who are committed to the peace process."

The tall, slender Okuk, barely thirty years old, maintained a controlled posture. He'd lost his right arm from a land mine, but that hadn't held him back from learning to shoot with his left. He had served his country three years with both arms and five with one. Ben read the pain in his eyes.

"And I dream of the free world pressing Khartoum to honor the end of bloodshed," Okuk said.

"I do too, but I have little faith in the word of a Muslim." Ben stood and towered over the man, the crumpled letter still in his fist. "I have seen nothing in the past that indicates willingness for the government to make concessions." He shrugged. "Who knows? Perhaps the U.S. has more information about Osama bin Laden's connections to Khartoum. Pressure from the free world to negotiate peace in exchange for monetary aid is another factor to consider."

Okuk nodded. "What are my orders?"

Ben felt the edges of the paper scratching his palm. "We'll move out in the morning as planned. If we encounter the GOS, then we'll find out if they're keeping a cease-fire."

The lines in Okuk's forehead deepened.

"You have a problem with my orders, Commander?"

"No, sir. I will alert the men."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from When the Nile Runs Red by Diann Mills Copyright © 2007 by DiAnn Mills. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    A book with take away value

    I met DiAnn Mills at the Blue Ridge Conference this spring. She critiqued my writing and gave me a lot of encouragement. I'd been to Egypt, so this is the book I bought at the conference and asked her to sign. I'm impressed by the character of Larson. Her grit and the way she cares for others. She is a worthy heroine. Paul, who had to give up his family to embrace the love of Christ, also won my heart. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    A Compelling Sequel

    Paul Farid is a wanted man. His family considers him a traitor and has put a price on his head. Can he ever shake loose from his Muslim heritage? Maybe he should move to the United States where he and his wife Larsen could live in relative peace and security. His desire to keep his family safe only intensifies when he discovers Larsen is pregnant and they adopt an orphan newborn whose young mother has been killed during rising tensions between the North and South Sudan. The fragile peace treaty seems almost a farce. Death tolls from in-fighting continue to rise. Now Paul has been contacted by his brother. Does he really have an interest in Christianity or has he set a trap for Paul? Bad enough his life is at risk, but he must now think of his family¿s safety. He struggles with the reality he is not strong enough to guarantee their safety. Can he learn to surrender this protection to God? Larson wants to be a good wife. Their plans not to have a child are disrupted when she discovers she is pregnant. Then she adopts a motherless child. Paul worries over his ability to keep his family safe in the still volatile region. Now that she is a mother and expecting another child, is she wrong to bring up children in this unstable situation? She sees the strain Paul¿s worries cause him. Should she give up her commitment to practice medicine in this hostile and primitive region? What does God require of them? Ben Alier struggles with Larson¿s rejection and marriage to his friend, Paul Farid. When he learns of his life-threatening illness, Ben confronts his past. He has an out of wedlock son. He wonders if he should marry the boy¿s mother and set his life in order before he dies. He becomes entwined with Paul and Larsen yet again as he helps Paul work through the on-going threats against his family and Paul helps Ben comes to terms with his physical condition. In this compelling sequel to When the Lion Roars, Diann Mills has captivated us once again in the lives of these three strong-willed individuals. This is more than a treatment of man¿s inhumanity to man in a land that is still suffering from the aftermath of a long and brutal civil war. This is a story of a young couple struggling to define their place in the land. It is a story of healing as well as a story of a faith that holds in the face of danger and trial.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Rivetting

    In 2005 in the Sudan, many hope that the newly formed government, which includes John Garang as vice president will end the bloodshed especially the genocide in Darfur. However, people like Paul Farid, a former Muslim member of the royal family who converted to Christianity, believe the Government of Sudan (GOS) soldiers will continue their killing raids. He in fact sees first hand the destruction of the Dinka village Xokabuc by the GOS because they seek to capture him. Paul warns his best friend Sudan¿s People Liberation Army Colonel Ben Alier that a GOS battalion is coming for them. Although Ben¿s men defeat the enemy he takes a bullet that requires emergency treatment so he is rushed to Paul¿s wife Dr. Larson, who hides her pregnancy from her spouse.------------ Meanwhile Paul¿s brother devoted Muslim Nizam wants to meet him in Kibun. Although his family wants him dead for his atrocity and sins against the Prophet, Paul agrees to see his favorite sibling. He hides what he is doing from Larson, but she follows him into danger in which she and others become an expendable royal family pawn.-------------- With its apropos title WHEN THE NILE RUNS RED is a deep look at the atrocities occurring in the Sudan. The three prime players are fully developed and feel heroically genuine so that their encounters provide a realistic graphic glimpse at humanity¿s darkened soul. Although there is a bias towards Christianity as the benevolent religion vs. the alleged harshness of Islam, readers will be stunned by the powerful vivid exposé of genocide.---------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted March 14, 2011

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    Posted August 6, 2011

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    Posted March 15, 2013

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