A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret.
A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption.
A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.
Eight thousand miles away at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades-old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach further than he could ever imagine—and threaten everything he has left in the world.
A year later in Washington DC, Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fi re. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.
“This exposé of the underbelly of the international fashion industry is disturbing, moving, and thoroughly engrossing.” —PHILLIP MARGOLIN, New York Times bestselling author of Violent Crimes
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Corban Addison is the international bestselling author of A Walk Across the Sun, The Garden of Burning Sand, and The Tears of Dark Water,which won the 2016 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award. His novels have been published in over 25 countries. An attorney, activist, and world traveler, he is a supporter of humanitarian and social justice causes around the world. He lives with his wife and children in Virginia. Learn more at his website corbanaddison.com Facebook: CorbanAddison Twitter: @CorbanAddison
Read an Excerpt
A Harvest of Thorns
By Corban Addison
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2017 Regulus Books, LLC
All rights reserved.
PRESTO TOWER, 16TH FLOOR ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA NOVEMBER 5, 2013 12:06 P.M.
The desk was a statement of pride, a great slab of black walnut from the Berkshire Hills of Cameron's native Massachusetts, ten feet wide and four feet deep and burnished to a red-brown shine. Upon it stood the usual accoutrements of a corporate executive: a widescreen iMac, a stainless steel desk lamp, a multiline phone, a container for writing implements — and a few more personal pieces: a baseball signed by the Boston Red Sox after the 2004 World Series, a Montegrappa fountain pen, and a glass globe his wife, Olivia, had bought in Prague. The rest of the vast surface was uncluttered, like the office that surrounded it, its only other furnishings a leather executive chair, a walnut file cabinet, a laser printer and scanner, and a pair of colonial-era wingback chairs arranged on the far side of the desk.
Cameron stood beside the floor-to-ceiling window, eating salad from a bowl before the draft minutes from a recent board meeting called him back to work. His office, located on the top floor of Presto's global headquarters, was a perquisite of his position as senior vice president and general counsel. It was also a gift from Vance Lawson, the company's CEO and Cameron's best friend. Steps away from Vance's corner suite, Cameron's office faced east across the Potomac and overlooked the most famous skyline in DC — the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and Capitol Hill. In the evening when the building was quiet and Cameron was working late, the otherworldly glow of the monuments offered him a measure of solace. But in the forge of the workday, with two hundred fifty in-house lawyers to manage, five board committees and a dozen senior executives to advise, the view was just part of the background.
He turned his head and saw a ghost of himself in the glass — the arrowshaped nose and sturdy chin, the moustache and thoughtful eyes, as dark as his ebony complexion. He was the only African American in the C-suite and one of only eleven black executives in the building, despite the diversity initiative Vance had instituted in his first week as CEO. But Cameron had never allowed his minority status — or the occasional discomfort it engendered — to affect his performance. He had grown up in a world of white privilege and learned early on to master its rules of success. While his skin was one of the first things people noticed, it wasn't what they remembered. They remembered his eyes and his mind, the sterling clarity of his judgment.
"Cam, will you come in here, please?" It was Vance on the speakerphone, his voice uncharacteristically grave. "We've got a problem."
Cameron put down his lunch and walked next door, tossing a wave to Eve, Vance's secretary, before entering the CEO's office through double doors. The corner suite was twice the size of Cameron's office and was laid out like a drawing room with artwork on the walls, two sitting areas, a wet bar and liquor cabinet, and an array of flat-screen televisions. The desk was almost an afterthought. Vance preferred to work standing up, conferencing with his team, or on the couch, documents spread out on the coffee table. It was the way he had been when Cameron met him at Harvard Business School, the way he had been for thirty years.
"What's going on?" Cameron asked, taken aback by the distress on Vance's face.
His friend was standing in front of the televisions, his lake-blue eyes moving from one screen to the next. There were four TVs, each tuned to a different news station. Ordinarily, their coverage was diverse, but occasionally, when a story was big enough, they became a refracting chamber, drawing light from a single source, as they were doing now.
The source was a burning building.
"It's a factory in Dhaka," Vance said as CNN zoomed in on flames shooting out of an upper-story window. "They'll show it again ... There." He stabbed a finger at the screen. "I don't know who took it, but it's going to go viral. The whole world is going to see it."
In the frame was a photograph of a young Bangladeshi girl lying in the dirt, one arm splayed out at her side. The factory was behind her, engulfed in flame. There was blood on her forehead and a mask over her face. No, not a mask — a pair of child's pants. Cameron looked closer. The pants had a silver label. The photographer had caught it cleanly. At the center of the label was the letter P. It was the logo of Piccola — one of Presto's apparel brands.
Cameron's jaw fell in silent alarm. After three decades of dueling and deal making in the Beltway swamp, he had developed the carapace of a crocodile and a monk's sense of poise. The picture, however, left him wordless, thought- deprived. But only for a moment. Then the poise returned, along with the instinct for self-preservation.
The iPhone was in his pocket — his digital leash. He called Presto's senior vice president of communications. "Kristin, we need you in Vance's office. Now."
"Coming," she replied.
His next call went to the legal department, compliance section. "Declan, there's been an incident at an apparel factory in Bangladesh. I need you to find out if it's one of ours." Cameron saw the words at the bottom of the BBC feed. "It's called Millennium Fashions."
When Declan came back with the answer, Cameron spoke to Vance. "The factory is on our Red List. We deauthorized it six months ago because of safety concerns."
Vance's eyes flashed. "Then what the hell are our pants doing on that girl's face?"
"I don't know," Cameron replied, struggling to remain calm.
A moment later, Kristin Raymond appeared at their side. Sharp, sassy, and supremely qualified, she had a master's degree in communications from Columbia and an extensive resume in both network and cable news. Cameron briefed her in three sentences.
"We need to get out ahead of this," she said. She took out her phone and called her secretary. "Leslie, assemble the critical incident team in the fourteenth- floor conference room. Put all calls through to my mobile. No one talks to anyone on the outside except me." She hung up and turned to Vance. "We need a company-wide lockdown. All information needs to go through my team. Cam can draft the e-mail, but it should come from your account."
"I'm already typing," Cameron said, his thumbs flying across his iPhone's touch screen. "Short and sweet. Circle the wagons. No breaches." He read the message out loud for them to hear, then hit Send. "I copied Eve."
"We'll get it done," Vance said, walking toward the door. "Kristin, keep me posted."
Cameron turned back to the televisions, acid churning in his stomach. It was a nightmare scenario. Only three days ago, Presto had released an abysmal third-quarter earnings statement — eleven points below estimate. The spring and summer buying seasons had been soft. Store traffic was anemic, and online had barely seen a bump. Analysts were speculating about Presto's viability. And Class-A shareholders who had never been denied a dividend were wetting their pants. To appease investors and pundits alike, Presto needed a near miraculous fourth-quarter rebound. Ads were already running across the country fueling the holiday frenzy. Black Friday promotions would be historic. On Vance's orders, Presto had bet the house on the compulsive spending of festive consumers. If they didn't contain the damage from the fire quickly, heads would start to roll, and those in the C-suite would be first in line.
"I'm heading downstairs," Kristin said. "I'll start drafting an investor memo, but I don't think we should put out a statement until we see how bad this is going to get. It's still nighttime over there. We have no idea what we're going to see when the sun rises."
"Stay positive," Cam said, feeling just the opposite.
"I'll get out my ruby slippers," Kristin quipped, breezing out of the room.
Vance returned a moment later and wandered over to the window. Cameron followed him, knowing he would speak when he was ready. Outside, the November day was golden, the forests on Theodore Roosevelt Island flecked with color.
"This could eviscerate our market cap," Vance said, his voice whisper-quiet. "Our customers could bolt. God knows how many options they have."
"We shouldn't overreact," Cameron countered softly. "We have a solid foundation, and consumers have a short memory. If it comes to it, we can do what BP did — hire a PR firm and do a glossy ad campaign. 'People First.' It's always been the core of our business."
"It's a good idea," Vance said. "But it's not enough. I want answers from Bangladesh." He took a ponderous breath. "That girl is Annalee's age."
Cameron nodded, understanding. Gifted with limitless advantage, a magnetic charisma, and an indefatigable will, Vance had only failed at one thing — family. He was an inveterate philanderer. His exploits were Solomonic. Not even Cameron knew the whole of it, but it was his job — first as Vance's attorney, now as his general counsel — to keep the women distant and quiet. Vance had only been married once, an ill-fated experiment with a French supermodel that had imploded after two years. But the union had produced a child, Annalee, now thirteen and living with her mother in Paris. She was the love of Vance's life, and also his greatest wound.
"I want this to be top priority," Vance said. "Bring the Risk Committee up to speed, but don't involve the full board. When the time comes, we'll go to them together. Paper the file. Make this about liability and keep it confidential. I want to know how this happened. And I want to know what we can do to prevent it from happening again."
Cameron took a long, slow breath. "I'd like to know that too. But there's a risk to asking questions. We don't know what we're going to find."
"It doesn't matter," Vance said with a shake of his head. "You've said it more times than I can count — integrity is essential to performance. Someone needs to take responsibility for this."
Cameron stood in silence, vaguely disquieted by the exchange. In the corner office, there were moments when deliberation was more valuable than decisiveness. For Vance, however, patience had never been a virtue. Eventually Cameron asked, "What's the time frame?"
"Whatever it takes. The same goes for resources."
Despite his reservations, Cameron gave his friend a cautious smile. "Consider it done."CHAPTER 2
PRESTO TOWER, 16TH FLOOR ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA NOVEMBER 5, 2013 5:15 P.M.
The story of Presto was a legend in American business. Like Romulus and Remus, the myth had its twins — the husband-and-wife team of Hank and Dee Dee Carter — and a birthplace in the Roman countryside. On a visit to Italy in 1962, the Carters had discovered that commerce in the villages was both communal and centralized. Shops were arranged around piazzas where friends met and musicians played. It was shopping made easy. Everything in one place. But the dance of buying and selling was more than materialistic. It was organic, personal, and enjoyable.
Upon their return to the United States, the Carters had a conversation that reshaped the world of retail — or so went the legend. Hank was an entrepreneur with half a dozen variety stores in his portfolio. At fifty-five, he was ready for a new challenge. Dee Dee, too, was in transition, her children all married and starting lives of their own. Over pasta — could it have been anything else? — the couple charted a new course. They would bring Italy to America in a novel kind of store, an "omnishop," as Hank christened it. Its departments would be organized around a plaza that, while enclosed by a roof, would feature greenery, benches, and sunlight. They would call it Presto, after the Italian word and the magician's invocation. But their motto was quintessentially American: "Everything you need at the snap of your fingers."
In an era of profound social transformation, when department stores were old news but shopping malls were still on the horizon, Americans greeted the first Presto omnishop — opened in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1963 — as a vision of the future. They flocked to its resplendent displays and kaleidoscopic wares and lingered to eat ice cream in the plaza. In 1965, Hank opened three more stores. When they succeeded wildly, he became more ambitious. Over the next ten years, he launched thirty-eight stores in twelve states. By the time he died in 1984, Presto had grown to one hundred stores in thirty-two states. But it was still a family-owned enterprise with only two shareholders — Hank and Dee Dee. They had resisted the gilded promise of Wall Street because they had no interest in building a corporation. They cared about community. Their goal was to give Americans access to quality goods at an affordable price, and to donate a portion of their earnings to charity. "Invest in people," Hank often said, "and people will return the favor."
It was all in the company handbook, hand-delivered to new hires on their first day. Cameron had received his from Vance, along with a flippant "Read this. Inspiring stuff." In truth, it was more hagiography than history. Hank Carter was not a saint. He had driven countless Main Street retailers out of business. But this much was true: Hank never wanted his company to become the behemoth his son, Bobby, created after his death — with two thousand five hundred stores across America, three hundred fifty thousand employees in thirty-three countries, and annual revenues over one hundred billion dollars.
Cameron opened the black file folder on his desk and slid the memo he had just written into it. Beneath the memo were e-mails from Vance and Blake Conrad, chairman of the board's Risk Committee, formally requesting an inquiry into the fire. The documents were critical to preserving the confidentiality of the investigation. As long as Cameron was rendering legal advice, not business advice, all of his communications within the company were privileged. Yet the distinction between the two was notoriously shifty. It was his job to make sure that anything that went into the "Black File" — board's eyes only — stayed there.
He donned his suit jacket, stored the folder in his filing cabinet, and locked the drawer with a key only he and Blake Conrad possessed. Then he headed toward the door, briefcase in hand. Behind him, the shadows of dusk stretched across the rooftops of Washington, and lights winked on in buildings and monuments.
In the hallway, he spoke to his secretary, Linda. "I'm headed to the conference room. Please forward all calls to Anderson."
He walked briskly down the hallway, past the wood-paneled executive lounge with its Pellegrino-stocked refrigerator and Italian Nespresso machine, past framed portraits of Hank, Dee Dee, and Bobby Carter and the two CEOs who had succeeded them — Rick Mason and Vance Lawson — and entered the C-suite conference room, the site of executive strategy sessions and meetings of the board. The room had three predominant features: a black granite table with twelve high-backed chairs, a wall of windows, and a massive flat-screen television. Two people were seated at the table — Declan Mays, director of global compliance, and Manny Singh, Presto's director of sourcing for South Asia.
Cameron dropped his briefcase in front of them and then switched on the TV, tuning in to CNN. "This is what millions of Americans are going to be watching tonight," he said just as the network cut from Wolf Blitzer's face to live footage of the Presto Tower. "As you can see, we are the lead story. It's our job to find out why."
He took a seat and turned up the volume. Blitzer was in front of the camera again, introducing Karen Hwang, assistant director of the Global Alliance for Worker Rights in San Francisco, and Beatrice Walker, a spokeswoman for the US Chamber of Commerce.
"Karen," said Blitzer, "let's start with you. Seven months ago, the collapse at Rana Plaza claimed the lives of more than eleven hundred Bangladeshi garment workers. Now a garment factory in Bangladesh is on fire. We've seen gruesome footage of bodies on the ground, including a photo of a young girl that everybody's talking about. We don't have a lot of details yet, but I have to ask: Why are factory disasters like this continuing to happen?"
"Unfortunately, Wolf," said Hwang, "this tragedy was entirely preventable. The global market for consumer goods — slothing, toys, electronics, et cetera — is fueled by a system of labor that is, in many cases, as exploitative as the sweatshops that existed in this country at the time of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire a century ago. The primary driver of this exploitation is economic. Corporations like Presto thrive in environments where labor protections don't exist. They go wherever they can get the lowest possible price."
"That's quite an indictment," Blitzer said. "Beatrice, you represent the business community. What's your response?"
Excerpted from A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison. Copyright © 2017 Regulus Books, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I could not put this book down. Addison ' s research is impeccable and his writing excellent. Despite being based on a heavy subject, this novel is so readable. It will change you. Do not miss it.
A wakeup story about the garment industry and the secrets behind closed doors. Hopefully changes have been made for the better. Well written and informative.
A Harvest of ThornsI was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Many young women die in a garment factory fire in Bangladesh. In the aftermath a picture of a teenager is taken. This young girl has a fabric with Presto Omnishops Corporation on it. This is one of the largest retailers in America. In its headquarters a man, Cameron Alexander, watches the news coverage of the incident. He watches at the picture of the girl is everywhere making people wonder about the ethics of the company. Alexander starts an investigation which will lead him down paths that could devastate his world. A reporter, a year later, receives information about the company and the fire. This is all Joshua Griswold needs to cover a story that could save his career from former disgrace. The story was developed well as the author begins with a central story and then builds each character from there. It is a sobering story that gives insight in the garment industry. The real world settings helped me to see the world in a different light. A very good book. The author is incredibly adept at developing a core story and then feeding in the personal stories of his characters to enhance the narrative. Cameron has a tragic backstory that makes his determination to right the wrongs all that more understandable. The writing feels very real and it is often very sobering in its content. He is informative too, who know that “...the production of textiles was one of the most prolific sources of water pollution the world”? I think of the author in terms of John Grisham “light”. I find Grisham’s stories at times hard to penetrate, and so Addison’s storylines feel that much more accessible. They are set in a real world where there is dreadful exploitation and injustice. He is an author who will take up a cause and bring it to a wider audience with great panache. An author with a social conscience. Having read this novel we will all surely think more carefully about the origin of our clothing? If this book is anything to go by, it behoves us to do so! The locations in the novel feel credible too, whether dining in Old Ebbit Grill near The White House in Washington or Izumi in Dhaka, he manages to create a colourful and absorbing backdrop.
This novel will definitely raise the hackles of the socially minded reader. CEO Vance Lawson is a letdown. He outwardly presents himself as an innocent at first, almost likeable in the way he seems to honestly want to know how this tragedy happened and how future incidents can be prevented. He even relates to how the photographed victim appears to be the same age as his own daughter! But it's just sickening how stereotypically self-serving this guy turns out to be. The company's stance is to say that actions leading to the cause of the fire were "in violation of the code of conduct" but virtually no other action is taken beyond that. For history buffs out there, the prologue of this novel may bring to mind the similar (true life) story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. There are some commonalities as far as a sketchy, ultimately deadly work environment and CEOs that seriously dropped the ball when it came to protecting their hardworking employees. In fact, in both that real fire and this novel, we see examples of the senseless deaths of hundreds of people because financial greed was chosen over safety and respect for employees. A Harvest of Thorns itself is inspired by a factory fire that did indeed occur in Bangladesh in 2012. This novel is not an exact retelling of that tragedy, but the details of that day and the companies behind that real fire -- Sears, Walmart, Target, Gap... just to name a few -- certainly inspired the characters and settings of this novel, as author Corban Addison explains in his afterword. In 2015, Addison traveled to Bangladesh and interviewed survivors of that 2012 fire, which helped him craft the character and plot development you find in this novel. If you scan the acknowledgements, you might also spot that John Grisham served as a beta reader for A Harvest of Thorns. Though Addison himself is an attorney, it's likely that he also bounced ideas regarding the legal portions of the novel around with Grisham, a former attorney. Ugh. It's a tough read but a perfect one for getting meaty book club discussions going... just prepare yourself for the heat it might bring! While this reader didn't find the writing consistently riveting, it's a solidly important topic that needs to be looked at more often. This novel leaves one with an uncomfortable reminder of just how hard it is, as a consumer, to stay on the right & ethical side of things, no matter how much we may want to... even the seemingly trusty "Made In USA" tag can have its shady roots! Those interested in getting the conversation going will find helpful discussion questions provided within the hardcover edition (and possibly the paperback -- I say hardcover simply because that's the copy I was given). Additionally, you may want to check out the website truecostmovie.com
This was quite the exciting story. Corporate intrigue, jornalistic investigations, greed, redemption, death, justice, and so many other things all wrapped up into a very nice package. Based loosely on a true court case, we start at the beginning, with a horrible 'accident' that should have never happened. We follow the investigation of journalist Joshua Griswold as he learns to navigate the tricky waters of several foreign countries. With rules drastically different than the US - bribes, favors, and flat out lies are the best way for him to get information. As Joshua uncovers more and more of what really goes on in the garment factories, a sad story of greed unfolds. I found this story to be incredibly fascinating. The cultured and people shown were brought to life on every page, and there was just enough revealed at every turn to keep me wanting to know more. There were some personal moments woven into the story, and I'm not sure if they were my favorites. While they gave opportunities to learn more about Joshua and the others, they probably my least favorite parts of the story. With an interesting resolution, one that I didn't quite see coming, and an unexpected hero, A Harvest of Thorns was a great story. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**
A large American corporation. A garment factory fire overseas. Labor rights. Globalization. I wanted to read this novel and get something meaningful and challenging out of it. Instead, I rather felt like I'd been duped. Partly my fault, since I've run into this with a HarperCollins Christian Publishing book in the past, and I'd told myself I'd be more cautious about selecting books from them. (I believe it was a Zondervan book before, while this one is a Thomas Nelson.) Call me old-fashioned, but when I reach for novels from a Christian publisher, I'm not looking for books that contain profanity. I'm just not . Sure, when I knowingly choose to read a secular book, I'll deal with a certain amount of foul language or other content I prefer to avoid, if I find the story and message especially compelling and relevant--that's my choice. But I personally don't see the point of continuing to call yourself a Christian publisher if not all of the novels you're publishing now are Christian Fiction. Yes, yes, I know--different folks' definitions and standards of Christian Fiction are different. The publishers have their business reasons and all. That's fine. But in keeping with my standards as a longtime ChristFic reader, I'll now be choosing Thomas Nelson and Zondervan books based on what I know or have researched about the authors, not based on the publishers' names anymore--since, unfortunately, I can no longer trust what I'm getting from said publishers. This is rare for me when I originally planned to review a book, but I got less than a quarter of the way through this one before I decided not to continue. _________________ BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, and I've given my honest opinion.
A garment factory way across the ocean in Bangladesh making clothes for a huge corporation in America catches fire and is pictured on CNN with one of it's workers lying on the ground. Covering her face is a pair of pants with the company's logo front and center displayed where the whole world can see it. Hundreds of people are killed in this fire. There is one exit to this building. Americans are protesting the company and demand something be done. Stocks go down. The Board of Directors are looking for someone to blame. It's not looking good for the company. Soon thereafter, it is Black Friday, the company (one much like WalMart) has other non-clothing items on deep discounts. America storms their stores, buying is at a frenzy. All is forgotten. The company's shares rise back up. The Board of Directors is happy. Everyone is fine. The little girl with the pants on her face is almost blind, can't hear out of one ear and sleeps most of the day. She's about 15 years old and can't work for a living. She is just one of the workers that are part of the story in this book about the travesty of big companies using foreign workers. The book focuses on one man (Cameron) who is high up in one of these companies and finds out just exactly what is going on in his company. Cameron brings it to the table of his CEO and is told that they made it over the bad news of the fire, he needs to let it go. Cameron brings in a journalist, Joshua. Joshua gets involved. He finds more abuse. However, when he goes to Cameron, he doesn't seem to be on the same page he was before? Is Cameron the same Christian man he was before? Or has greed taken him over? Also, at the same time, Joshua has some issues of faith in his life going on. This was a fantastic read. I read it all in one sitting. I could not put it down. I could not believe what was going on with these children, and yes, they were children. Apparently, if you read the back of the book, it is still going on. There are also places and organizations that you can reach out to if you are interested in getting involved in helping in any way. A great read that I would definitely recommend. Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me this book in hopes that I would read and review it.
A Harvest of Thorns is a book that will challenge you and make you reconsider American consumerism. The book follows the aftermath of a tragedy at a foreign garment factory. It feels like a John Grisham novel as it takes you from corporate boardrooms to locations around the world and finally into a courtroom. This story is gripping and has truly made me consider the supply chain effect of where our goods come from, but all within a story that I couldn't put down.
I received a copy from the Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. All thoughts are my own. This book touched on something that I always thought was quite interesting. I understand that some of our clothing companies have outsourced the manufacturing of clothing of their companies. But you would think that was better control on all of the companies. One company was following the rules of watching over the companies but something slipped through and a devistating accident happened at a clothing company in India. I feel for the family both who lost people and that there is so little regard for the workers. But to have it brought to the front also should make sure that there are not underhanded payouts of the officials in other countries. I would recommend this book for someone who wants a very interesting read.
A must read. Heartwrencing. Eye-opener. A Harvest of Thorns reads like it was torn from the latest news headlines. How often do we see tragedy unfold in third world countries at sweat shops where the workers are treated like slaves? Factory workers that make everything we wear for pennies. Factory workers that are in debt to a boss who thinks nothing of raping the girls who work for him. A Harvest of Thorns highlights Human Rights violations that happen everyday only to fill orders that we the consumer demand. The story line is fictional, but indentured servitude occurs in third world countries. The workers are in debt to the agent who hired them before they start working. They are promised empty promises of a better life. Would you wear your favorite pair of jeans if you knew they were made by a girl under the age 13 for pennies in a factory that did not have the best interest of them in mind. Everything we own is made in less than desireable conditions. Mr. Addison did an incredible job of bringing to light what the international fashion industry is all about. You will never look at what is in your closet the same again. Materialism has taken over everyone’s lives, just to put other lives in danger.
For me, reading this book frequently felt like having my heart ripped out, and somehow I loved it. Perspective primarily alternates between Cameron the lawyer and Joshua the journalist but occasionally we get a chapter through the eyes of the people working in these factories. I anticipated this novel to be full of emotion but didn’t expect how deep that would go or how many different issues sweatshops can contain. What made this story so touching for me was the depth of each and every character, even those who worked at Presto. I expected it to be easy to vilify specific people, to find one link in the chain of manufacturing that needs to be fixed. Instead, this story examines how it’s not one store or one area that has become corrupt but an entire system that has evolved in such a way as to not only encourage but reward the abuse of its weakest members. I went in with the anticipation that this would be a book kind of like the movie Philadephia (which I adore). I expected a story of triumph over evil that I could relish in but probably not take to heart in my own life. While there is bit of that triumph in the way this story wraps up, it’s done in a way that addresses the fact that none of the issues addressed are endemic. I felt utterly shocked by the number of topics brought up including child labor, human trafficking, sexual assault, lack of medical care, and chosen ignorance and apathy. My mind wants a single target to shake my finger at but this book doesn’t give me that. I highly encourage everyone to read this story and then discuss it. I don’t know how this will change the way I shop and look at stores but I’m willing to start the conversation with myself and others in a way that I hadn’t even thought of before. Big thanks to both Thomas Nelson and BookLookBloggers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This story was a lot more interesting than the last book I read by this author, however, I still find the bad language offensive, especially in a book that is published by a Christian publisher. As I work in a Christian bookstore, I would not bring this book into the store. The story is about labor conditions, especially in other countries-slave labor, terrible working conditions, etc.
Harsh, brutal, brilliantly written A Harvest of Thorns By Corban Addison A tragic loss of life half-way around the world is about to alter their lives in ways they never imagined. But when a chance photo in the aftermath of a factory fire in Bangladesh implicates American Presto Omnishops Corporation corporate heads will role unless the damage can be contained and quickly. Tasked with determining Presto's ties and potential liabilities to the foreign factory is Cameron Alexander. His search for the truth will lead him into the heart of the beast - third world subcontracted manufacturing. But can he cut through the layered web of lies and the fearful silences that control all? What Cameron discovers is worse than he could have ever imagined. Change must come but timing is everything when it comes to the corporate world. With stockholders and consumers to keep happy the time for change may never come for Presto - until Joshua Griswold comes across information that leads him to Presto's dirty not so little secret. But can he wield his knowledge as a sword to protect the downtrodden worker? Like his previous book Tears of Dark Water Corban Addison creates a story that forces the reader to confront hidden, ugly secrets that will break the heart of most. And the sad part is - this is not a product of his imagination but rather the by-product of an industry that has made the dollar its GOD. Standards, codes of conduct, safety measures are meant to be ignored if the bottom line is on the line and when multinational factors are involved these are easily overlooked. And yet if one truly cares this would be the most grievous sin imaginable. This book is disturbing and haunting and one that will stay with you long after you put it down, I think the following quote from the book sums it up quite perfectly "Unfortunately, this is often the way the world works. This kind of truth is ugly and painful and inconvenient. It doesn't help people pay their bills, or care for their kids, or get a better job, or go on a nice vacation. But the truth is essential.... Across history, the powerful have enriched themselves by exploiting the poor. The only power greater than theirs is the law." (page 228). I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Thomas Nelson with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are my own.
A HARVEST OF THORNS by Corban Addison. A great story dealing with an overseas clothing business, in Bangladesh, when something terrible goes wrong. Presto Corp got a lot of negative press and photos from it. Presto Is a known name in America, for clothing. They have Cameron a general counsel to launch investigation and to issue damage control. Cameron has great sympathy for the people, and facing morality issues as well. Whistleblower has information about Presto. A summon goes out to Joshua.,a disgraced journalist, from the Washington Post. Courtroom war Joshua is determined to win. The story alternates between Cameron and Joshua, on the investigation. An in depth story, in which a lot of research has been done. Those that like a story that goes beyond the information of the fire, and the media. But touches on the emotion they were dealing with Given ARC by Thomas Nelson for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
A Harvest of Thorns is a pretty good read. It is surrounded around a tragic fire in Bangladesh, killing many. This tragedy strikes a major American company. Parts of the book was rather slow but the suspense kept me going. 4 stars
STORY-LINE A HARVEST OF THORNS: A Harvest of Thorns is an intense drama set in several countries. Following the deaths of hundreds in a garment factory fire in Bangladesh, the author Corban Addison, gives the reader a look into the terrible trade of human suffering; in bondage to the mighty dollar. One photograph of a young woman, sprawled on the ground with a brand name pair of pants around her head, gains international notice. An intense investigation by the Presto company in America follows. Cameron Alexander, general counsel, heads the investigation. Secrets and terrible procedures are revealed as Cameron ferrets out the horrible truths. Truths which will turn the reader's stomach. Joshua Griswold, former journalist, disgraced and reviled, receives information which will blow Presto sky-high. Contacted by a whistle-blower, Joshua sets out on journey and the story of a life time. Joshua sees this story has his last chance to redeem his reputation and his soul. Come along with Joshua and Cameron as they uncover the underbelly of the foreign and domestic garment industry with all their dirty laundry. My contemporary suspense fiction novel review of A Harvest of Thorns follows. CHARACTERS, PLOTTING, DEVELOPMENT: Where do I start with this review? What an intensely thought-provoking story of greed at its finest. A Harvest of Thorns is intense, compelling, and will invoke your conscience and question what we are willing to accept for the lowest price garment. Our hunger for cheap material things has created a monster of greed, slavery, inhuman treatment, rape, child labor and much more. Author Addison skillfully reveals the criminal intent and inhumane treatment involved in this industry. Although written as fiction it is obvious the author has done his research into this subject. I found the author's notes at the end of the book informative and enlightening. Addison wove many threads together to form a solid complete novel in A Harvest of Thorns. The pace spot on and his character development skillful, we follow Joshua and Cameron in their intense journey of discovery. With twists and turns, revelations galore, this book will invoke intense emotion in the reader. Are we as a nation and world willing to sacrifice humans for the almighty dollar and the best product at a rock bottom price? Demonstrating the depths we have fallen, Addison skillfully brings the readers conscience to the forefront. Some things are more important than money. Finally, in concluding my contemporary suspense fiction novel review of A Harvest Of Thorns, I found a solid story; intense, drama filled, and thought-provoking. Everyone who shops should read this book and consider the ultimate cost of the product they just brought. The next time you pick up a $3.00 shirt in the big store, think about who made it; and what they had to sacrifice for you to get the item for $3.00 instead of $10.00. A HARVEST OF THORNS RECOMMENDATION: STARS: 4 I would not hesitate to buy this book for my self or a friend. FINALLY, PLEASE NOTE: Additionally, I received this book from the author and chose to voluntarily review the book with an honest contemporary suspense fiction novel review. Lastly, book reviews of any novel are dependent on the book review author’s opinion. Consequently, all book reviews on-line and on my blog, are my opinions. In addition, the ARC did not affect my voluntary contemporary suspense fiction novel review.
A HARVEST OF THORNS Corban Addison This book had a beautifully written with the great story and also important in its massage from all real problem of international human trafficking turning to a modern day. if you love to read a book that had all the story with a drama and unique in its insights into hidden and full of story an experience from Corban Addison. He is a bestselling author of a Walk Across the Sun, The Dark Water, which won the 2016 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award. Addison’s novels have been published in over 25 countries. An supporter of humanitarian and social justice causes around the world. He lives with his wife and children in Virginia. This book also had a great stories of a good people struggling to do right in the world’s of forgotten place that we are all living. There is no better suited to take you on the ride of your life. In the story there is about the people from the poorest countries on the globe are pressed into working for slave wages to manufacture soft goods to be sold in the most affluent countries like North America and Western Europe. This is a most powerful writing with all the spirit including of love and romance, guilt and suspense all in one story again and again. I highly recommend to everyone must read this book. " I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Blogger in exchange for this review "
A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Rating 4.5.. A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose. (from the book description) The story begins in the corporate offices of Presto. From there it hopscotches through Asia and the Middle East leTaving a farflung trail. The chapters are headed by date and location so it is imperative that you pay attention to these chapter headings otherwise you will get terribly lost. The story itself is full of background investigative stories and courtroom drama which was both interesting and disturbing at the same time. The writing is well done, the research superb and the characters are believable, albeit, flawed but they are believable. The ending I think will surprise you. I know I was surprised…. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book. Little did I know. I was totally unprepared for this story to unfold before my eyes as I read each and every word on every single page. The imagery was so vivid that I couldn’t stop reading and yet …and yet I didn’t want to know. Yes, it is fiction; but it is loosely based on facts, real clothing corporations and people giving their lives for barely enough to sustain themselves with food to eat, clothing to wear, basic shelter to live and above all, be able to send money back home…wherever home may have been. All of this so we can have something to buy and to wear and companies make enough profits for their shareholders. No one sees what is behind this paper facade as long as the money keeps rolling in. Other books come to mind that tell of past social injustices such as The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and another not nearly quite as well known, Counting Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. What is moving is the Author’s Note at the end of the book. READ IT. DO NOT SKIP IT.