King Pawn by Raj Nellooli
The college-dropout son of an American professor and a Syrian mother who fled her home country, Robert Frost has two primary enemies: the US Army for unfairly dismissing him and the Syrian regime for destroying his mother's family during the 1982 Hama uprising. Worse still, his wife has left him, taking their two daughters with her.
Frost becomes Iftikar, a mercenary, and accepts a high-paying mission to destabilize Syria and topple its regime. Unaware of the complexity of Syria and the treacherous plots of his mysterious employers, he hopes the money will help him win back his family. As he moves through Syria on a journey of mayhem, he finds himself in Palmyra, the oldest oasis on the Silk Road; the Byzantine citadel in Aleppo; the marijuana fields of Beqaa Valley; the world's largest restaurant in Damascus; the seafarers' island of Arwad; and Russia's only naval base in the Middle East, Tartous. Will Iftikar's actions pave the way to democracy in Syria or enthrone new masters?
Set against the backdrop of the current Syrian war, this novel is an unsettling tale of the battles, shaped by immense political ambitions that destroy small people and their even smaller lives. It immortalizes the laments of the Syrian people through an intricate plot, convincing details, and many unforgettable characters.