Winter in Kandahar

( 25 )

Overview

AFGHANISTAN- the name conjures images of rugged mountains, ancient cities, hardened Mujaheddin, a country rife with regional rivalries, and the eternal struggle between Tajik and Pashtun. Afghanistan comes to life in this epic adventure of love, betrayal, and war. Young Tajik Ahmed Jan¹s heroic journey begins in the Northern Alliance stronghold near Taloqan just a month prior to 9/11. He is swept away by the chaos that soon engulfs the country before a chance discovery propels him to the forefront of the clash ...
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Overview

AFGHANISTAN- the name conjures images of rugged mountains, ancient cities, hardened Mujaheddin, a country rife with regional rivalries, and the eternal struggle between Tajik and Pashtun. Afghanistan comes to life in this epic adventure of love, betrayal, and war. Young Tajik Ahmed Jan¹s heroic journey begins in the Northern Alliance stronghold near Taloqan just a month prior to 9/11. He is swept away by the chaos that soon engulfs the country before a chance discovery propels him to the forefront of the clash between civilizations. Pursued by both the CIA and al-Qaeda, he struggles to save his people from obliteration and find the true meaning of life in a land where all seems lost.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
The historic hatreds that brew within Afghanistan lie at the root of a tense international adventure reminiscent of Cold War espionage novels that have been popular for so long. Wilson sets his story in the now (beginning in August 2001). He takes as his frame of reference the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan and the intertribal warfare that follows in the mountains and caves of the country. His main characters carry the war to Amsterdam, then to the US and Canada. The author makes use of his medical and biological training to set some of the action in the hospitals of the Middle East and the experimental labs of the Netherlands and Canada. As the story unfolds, his characters imaginatively explore the possibilities of DNA technology to make weapons more effective and more horrible. More dead bodies than one would like litter the scenes. The book contains love (and some limited sex) as well as war; chapters are short and crisp, and there is lots of dialogue. Wilson keeps the names short, the better for Americans to grasp them. It would translate well into a movie, but in the meantime, many will enjoy this well-crafted page-turner. The author is not well known (this is his first published novel), but readers who like this genre will be glad to find this book on your library shelves. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Hailey-Grey Books, 455p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Edna Boardman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972948005
  • Publisher: H-G Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,098,193
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven E. Wilson is an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and scientist. He is currently Staff Cornea and Refractive Surgeon and Director of Corneal Research at the Cole Eye Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Wilson has authored more than 200 medical and scientific publications. Winter in Kanadahar is his first published work of fiction.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2007

    One of the Best . . . from someone who travelled Afghanistan

    This book of fiction is filled with suspense, current events of war/terrorism, courage and romance all rolled into a superbly crafted story that was next to impossible to put down. The descriptions of Afghanistan were much as I remembered from the 1970's where, on the highways, men would just get out of a vehicle and start walking towards the far mountains into what-appeared-to-be nowhere. The Taliban throughout the Khyber Pass were just as treacherous then as now, though most Afghanis were wonderfully hospitable to Americans. The game of Buzkashi was referred to and is something so unique to Afghanistan, especially in Kabul. Can't wait to read Dr. Wilson's most recent: Ascent from Darkness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    When I finally got through my last pile of books, Winter of Kandahar was on the bottom, and what a wonderful surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and yes, it is hard to put down. For a first timer, I thought the author had well developed characters and a credible plot. When reading about the Afghanistan landscape, it became a vision I could see in my minds eye with his very descriptive style. The Tajik characters were certainly the better formulated with the Americans being stereotypical. This being the only flaw for me in what we need to remember is not historical fact, but a work of fiction. When I came to the end of this book, I felt I left behind a friend - a feeling I haven't had since I read Trinity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Winter in Kandahar is available on NOOK!

    It is on Nook. Not sure it doesn't link with the paperback. Just search Winter in Kandahar Nook on the BN site

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  • Posted July 17, 2010

    A gem!!

    Wonderful adventure-romance novel with a great twist ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2004

    A great and memorable novel!

    I absolutely loved this novel! I found the story gripping and believable. The character development, especially for the three Tajiks that are central to the story, was exceptional. The ending was unexpected, but heartrending and imaginative. I spent time in Afghanistan; over two years from early 2002 to the summer of 2004. I stayed in the north in Taloqan and Mazar-e-Sharif most of my time, but also spent a few months in Kabul and several weeks in Kandahar. There was great animosity among the non-Taliban Pashtun towards the Arabs before and after 9/11 because Bin Laden's terrorists acted like they ran the country. Pastun President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai himself is an excellent example of these deep-seated resentments.When the Taliban first emerged in the early 1990s, Karzai and his family supported them. A native of the region around Kandahar, he saw the Taliban as a force that could finally end the terrible violence that had engulfed the country during and after the Soviet occupation. As the Taliban gained power, however, Karzai became distrustful of them and openly accused them of being too influenced by foreign groups, including the Arabs of al-Qaeda and the Pakistani secret service (ISI). In 1995, the Taliban approached Hamid Karzai and asked him to join their effort. They offered him the position of U.N. ambassador in a new Taliban government, but he rebuffed them because he felt the Pakistani ISI was the real power behind the Taliban. Karzai was no longer welcome in Afghanistan after the Taliban solidified their control over most of Afghanistan in 1996, so he and most of his family fled to Pakistan. Karzai's father was gunned down as he returned home from prayers in the Pakistani city of Quetta in 1999 and he blamed the slaying on the Taliban. After 9/11, the U.S. prepared to attack the Taliban and Karzai urged the allied nations and non-Taliban Pashtun in Afghanistan to purge the nation of al-Qaida terrorists. There were definitely cases of Arabs being killed by Pashtun forces in the early days of the American-led attacks on Afghanistan and in some cases these fighters had been aligned with the Taliban only a few weeks before. Most of the Taliban fled into the Pakistani tribal territories along with the Arabs, but many just changed sides (as typically happens in war in Afghanistan) when it became clear who was going to prevail. As to the relations between the Tajiks and Pashtun that are central to this novel, there are definitely deep-seated animosities, and even hatreds, between the two largest ethnic groups that date back many centuries.The Hazara are mistreated and viewed as second-class citizens by both the Pashtun and Tajik, but my personal experience is that there is no love lost between the Pashtun and Tajiks either and there are many, many examples of clashes and feuds between these groups continuing right up to the present. In any case, this is a novel and as such the author is certainly allowed some poetic license.However, based on my experiences in Afghanistan the story in Winter in Kandahar is definitely plausible and most of the events described are true to history with the characters of the novel inserted into the historical context, as for example they were in Dr. Zhivago. Afghanistan is like a patchwork carpet and in many ways ones perspective depends on who you meet and where you spend your time. This novel certainly gives a valuable and entertaining perspective of events that occurred in Afghanistan before and after 9/11. I highly recommend it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    Wilson¿s novel is an exciting, action packed mystery/ adventure tale set in some of the most fascinating places in the world, ranging from Venice to Amsterdam, Seattle and Vancouver. It is, however, for its central locale, Afghanistan, that this work will be remembered for a long, long time. The plot involves bio-terrorism, the CIA, and the ongoing war. You feel as if you are reading current headlines with Taliban, al-Qaida, Mujaheddin, and other organizations racing through the pages in the non-stop action as the search for the ultimate weapon reaches across the world. The author weaves three love stories into his exciting plot. He even makes us believe (successfully) that an isolated cave, sealed and hidden in some of the most forlorn mountains of our planet can be a tremendously romantic hide- away for a pair of star- crossed lovers. His descriptions of places are exciting and factually right on the mark. He takes us into these exotic worlds and we can almost taste the bread and the lamb stew; see the unusually decorated windows in Amsterdam; and sail the waters of Puget Sound. But it is his detailing of the characters, primary and secondary, that leaves an indelible mark on the page turning reader. He describes the motivations, the ancient histories still influencing these people as they love and kill across the pages. This is truly a window into a world that is almost every day in the newspaper headlines as even in Iraq, some of these influences are still extremely powerful. On a personal note, when I left Afghanistan earlier this year, I carried a lot of baggage of conflicting, sometimes horrible images, back with me. Images of a fifteen year old boy struggling to walk on his hands down a crowded street as both his legs were amputated; of smiling little girls begging for their parents; of soldiers inviting me to play soccer and laughing with me; of people who had nothing and yet were generous; of a little girl who, with tears in her eyes answered my question about her parent¿s fate under the unbelievably cruel Taliban. Dr Wilson¿s book places a perspective on these and other memories burned into me and for this I am grateful for his work. He takes us behind the headlines and into the minds of the people, whether they are Tajiks, Pashtuns, Pakistanis, or CIA. You will long remember and use this novel as a reference as our violent century unfolds around us. And, without giving away the ending, he performs an incredible sleight of hand at the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    I had heard how wonderful this book was from many sources so of course, I was skeptical. I booked Dr. Wilson to be on my nationwide radio program so I could interview him and see what all the fuss was about. When I got my copy, I literally could not put it down. I know you hear that all the time, but I wasn't prepared for how hooked I would be from the first chapter. The book is so well written and the pace is so crisp, the only other things I can compare it to are the movie Speed (the first one, not the second) and The Da Vinci Code. The action was non-stop. The characters were rich and engaging, the plot had more twists and turns than my Friday morning Pilates class. It has something for everyone. It's a love story, a war novel and a scientific thriller. It blends both fact and fiction together seamlessly creating it's own genre, which I call Faction. You will be entertained and you will come away with a greater understanding of the turmoil in the region. I highly recommend that you stop reading this right now, get a copy, disconnect the phone and buckle up. Winter in Kandahar is an E ticket ride! Dr. Wilson has penned a winner and after speaking with him on my radio program, I feel that he is one of the most fascinating experts on the Middle East and bio-terrorism in the country. This man knows his stuff and has the ability to share it in an entertaining manner! I can't wait for his next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    This is an excellent thriller that centers on bio- engineered germ warfare directed toward a specific major population group within Afghanistan and Pakistan. Written by a medical doctor, the scientific aspects of gene manipulation are both understandable and believable. We are shown the centuries-old conflicts and grudges between different tribes in the region and why lasting peace is so unlikely to happen. The roles of the CIA and US special operations in the area and throughout the world and the lifestyles required of their families allows the reader insight into this covert world. The book¿s surprise ending is both entertaining and poignant. A Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist, Best New Voice in Fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    Very rarely have I read a book this engrossing. Winter in Kandahar has it all---an internatonal bio-terrorism plot replete with devoted patriots, a secret hidden in the lining of an old coat, a dangerous stowaway, a friend's betrayal, a swift seduction, the machinations of the CIA, a shocking murder, a masterful disguise, an innocent child born of rape, several hidden hypodermics, and three pairs of lovers with very different fates. From Kandahar to Seattle to Venice to Amsterdam to Santa Fe, I see in my mind's eye a thrilling movie with gorgeous sets; I'm already guessing who the studio will pick for the leads! My congratulations to the author on being a Ben Franklin Award Finalist for best new voice in fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    I just finished Winter in Kandahar and loved every minute of it. This novel is a thrilling adventure, told in a very realistic, but also, very interesting, enlightening and compelling way. The reader feels as if he is there in Afghanistan after 9/11/01. The reader leaves the novel with a better understanding of this troubled land and the rival tribal groups which inhabit it. Superimposed on this backdrop is an international thriller with bioterrorism at the heart of it. The prose is rich with detail and the main characters come to life. The story winds its way to the ending with a perfect crescendo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2004

    Interesting Idea - Flawed Execution

    Interesting Idea - Flawed Execution I chose this book based on its many gushing reviews, but like so many movie reviews ¿ you should take everything with a grain of salt. A book with Kandahar in the title is very timely and I admit to liking the cover and that gave it a couple of points in its favor, but the more I read, the more I was disappointed in the lack of polish. Characters are shallow; their dialogue sounds more like something Tom Clancy would have submariners saying then tribesmen a thousand miles out of place and a hundred years out of time. Still it¿s not all bad. If you have time to kill and can¿t find anything better, ignore the flaws and enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2004

    Interesting subject poor execution

    This book has a lot of promise but unfortunately does not deliver. The book could have used a good editor. This is not a bad effort for a first time author, he needs to work on his dialoge and plottting, but there is promise. I just don't understand all the five star reviews? It is a long way from a classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    I spent two years in Afghanistan in the mid 1990s and I thought the dipictions of the Northern Alliance fighters in this novel were highly accurate. The Tajiks tended to be the most highly educated of the people in the country, especially the ones with medical or religious training. Many grew up with the Soviet occupation. They certainly don't walk around like prehistoric men. One of the earlier reviews is typical of the provential misconception of many Americans about the people who live in Afghanistan. To be sure, some are very backwards, but Commander Ahmed Masud was a highly educated natural leader who loved poetry, played chess, and outsmarted the Soviets and Taliban for years until al-Qaeda assassinated him. This is a super book; one of the best I've read about the human struggles in Afghanistan before and after 9/11! Anyone who reads it will come away with a much better understanding of the people and their struggles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    It is hard to place this book in one category. It has some traits of an action book, some thriller twists, a bioterrorism plot, and romance. All these things are combined in a very compelling story about modern day Afghanistan and its relations with the world. You have a strong impression that the book is written by a seasoned writer, and yet, it is his first fiction work. The salient feature is a lot of research behind the lines, which makes the characters so vivid and the plot so believable. This especially concerns the bioterrorism part, where the author brilliantly used his own scientific experience and explained complex biology in a way that everybody would easily follow. It is a sad story about the country torn by long decades of wars including the most recent civil war. Yet, love and friendship surpass the sufferings and hatred making a clear optimistic note despite bad happenings. Being a big fan of Robert Ludlum, I was kind of skeptical about this book but it quickly surpassed my expectations and I simply could not let it go before the last page was turned. Unlike many thrillers/action stories that you don't remember a thing about only a week after having finished reading, the characters of 'Winter in Kandahar' stay with you. This is why I believe that beside being a great story to read, it may soon become a major movie as well. My wholeharted congratulations to the author for such a wonderful accomplishment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2004

    Finalist Benjamin Franklin Award 2004 Best New Voice Fiction!

    PMA just announced the finalists for this years Benjamin Franklin Awards in literature and Wilson received the Best New Voice in Fiction accolade for Winter in Kandahar and I absolutely agree with the judges choice. This book is a first class action adventure-thriller that tells the story of a young Northern Alliance fighter Ahmed Jan, CIA operative Stone Waverly, and a host of other facinating characters, including several strong women. Fatima was my personal favorite. The story kept me rivited for days as it swept across the world from Kabul to Rawalpindi to Amsterdam to Venice to Seattle to Vancouver to Karachi and back to Kandahar. It's an epic story that taught as much as it entertained. Both of my sisters loved it too. My compliments to Wilson and I hope for a followup novel soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    The mixed-sex (9 female and 6 male) book club that I organize just finished reading and discussing Winter in Kandahar. All the members rate every book we read and here are the votes ¿ 10 outstanding, 3 very good, and 2 good). There were no average, below average or poor votes. We read a different book every month and the only book that out-ranked this one for the past two years was ¿ yes, you guessed it¿ The Da Vinci Code. I personally ranked this novel as EXCELLENT on the basis of strength of story, character development, timeliness, writing style, and overall weave. I¿m looking forward to Wilson¿s next novel that the web site says will be out in Fall of 2004- Ascent from Darkness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    I loved this book! The timeliness of the reality- based plot in the framework of an epic that spans the globe made for several weeks of enjoyment. I usually don't get an opportunity to read until we put the kids to sleep and climb into bed. I found myself eager with anticipation for the chance to crawl beneath the covers and return to the captivating Winter in Kandahar story. The novel begins a short time prior to September 11, 2001 in the northeast corner of Afghanistan where the Northern Alliance remains precariously in control of territory that includes the Panjshir Valley where the Alliance Mujaheddin are making what appears to be their last stand against the combined forces of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The main character of the novel, a young ill-fated fighter named Ahmed Jan, is on the front lines of the see-saw battles that have seen his entire family wiped out. As shaky as the Northern Alliance situation is, it is made all the worse by the assassination of revered Northern Alliance leader Commander Ahmed Massoud at the hands of al- Qaeda in chapter 2. Ironically, in this darkest hour, the Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington D.C. turn out to be salvation for the Tajik, Uzbek and other groups of the Northern Alliance who are resisting the cruel Taliban domination. Within weeks U.S. Special Forces, Air Force, Navy, and other military units sweep the Taliban out of Kabul, Taloqan, Kandahar, and other major cities of Afghanistan and put them on the run, along with their al-Qaeda guests, into the Pakistani tribal territories along the Afghan border. Ahmed Jan finds a mysterious communiqué in the coat of an al-Qaeda messenger and, along with ruthless Mujaheddin fighter Mustafa and old, rigid holy man Mohammajon, gets swept into an adventure that spans the globe from Islamabad to Amsterdam to Venice to Seattle to Vancouver to Karachi and back to Kandahar. The engrossing epic story includes CIA operatives and Special Forces soldiers interwoven with three love stories with very different endings. The adventure concludes with a moving and heartrending surprise finale. I highly recommend this book for both women and men who are fans of adventure OR romance novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    Winter in Kandahar

    My son is a sergeant in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. I sent him Winter in Kandahar for Christmas. He already finished it (the troops have a lot of free time when their not on raids searching for insurgents) and he absolutely loved this novel. The other members of his unit are passing it around, using it to ease the everyday threats of terror and death that surrounds them. Winter in Kandahar is a captivating and imaginative, reality based adventure and romance novel. I was completely surprised by the ending- expecting the story to go a different direction. But, the finale was emotionally powerful and satisfying. Character development is a major strength of this book. Ahmed Jan was my favorite, but I also loved Fatima and Shakiba. This book would make an incredible movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003

    Winter in Kandahar

    Wilson¿s novel is an exciting, action packed mystery/adventure tale set in some of the most fascinating places in the world, ranging from Venice to Amsterdam, Seattle and Vancouver. It is, however, for its central locale, Afghanistan, that this work will be remembered for a long, long time. The plot involves bio-terrorism, the CIA, and the ongoing war. You feel as if you are reading current headlines with Taliban, al-Qaida, Mujaheddin, and other organizations racing through the pages in the non-stop action as the search for the ultimate weapon reaches across the world. The author weaves three love stories into his exciting plot. He even makes us believe (successfully) that an isolated cave, sealed and hidden in some of the most forlorn mountains of our planet can be a tremendously romantic hide- away for a pair of star-crossed lovers. His descriptions of places are exciting and factually right on the mark. He takes us into these exotic worlds and we can almost taste the bread and the lamb stew; see the unusually decorated windows in Amsterdam; and sail the waters of Puget Sound. But it is his detailing of the characters, primary and secondary, that leaves an indelible mark on the page turning reader. He describes the motivations, the ancient histories still influencing these people as they love and kill across the pages. This is truly a window into a world that is almost every day in the newspaper headlines as even in Iraq, some of these influences are still extremely powerful. On a personal note, when I left Afghanistan earlier this year, I carried a lot of baggage of conflicting, sometimes horrible images, back with me. Images of a fifteen year old boy struggling to walk on his hands down a crowded street as both his legs were amputated; of smiling little girls begging for their parents; of soldiers inviting me to play soccer and laughing with me; of people who had nothing and yet were generous; of a little girl who, with tears in her eyes answered my question about her parent¿s fate under the unbelievably cruel Taliban. Dr Wilson¿s book places a perspective on these and other memories burned into me and for this I am grateful for his work. He takes us behind the headlines and into the minds of the people, whether they are Tajiks, Pashtuns, Pakistanis, or CIA. You will long remember and use this novel as a reference as our violent century unfolds around us. And, without giving away the ending, he performs an incredible sleight of hand at the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    THE BEST OF THE BEST FOR 2004

    Spine tingling adventure, gripping intrigue, captivating romance, and an enduring, surprise ending! Winter in Kandahar is a phenomenal, epic adventure-romance novel that kept me turning pages non-stop for a week. It begins in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and is the story of a young Tajik of the Northern Alliance- Ahmed Jan. Other colorful characters who step right off the pages are Afghani Mujaheddin, CIA operatives, Pakistani ISI officers, an Iranian nurse, al-Qaeda agents, an American scientist, and a beautiful Pashtun woman. Although the novel begins and ends in Afghanistan, in between it takes the reader to some of the world's great cities like Amsterdam, Venice, Seattle, Vancouver, and Karachi. This book would make an incredible movie! It is one of my top five favorite novels of all time.

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