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Garden of Burning Sand

Garden of Burning Sand

by Corban Addison
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The New York Times bestselling author John Hart raved that "If you like stories of good people struggling to do right in the world's forgotten places, there is no one better suited than Corban Addison to take you on the ride of your life." In The Garden of Burning Sand, Addison, the bestselling author of A Walk Across the Sun, creates a powerful and poignant novel that takes the reader from the red light areas of Lusaka, Zambia, to the gilded chambers of the Washington, D.C. elite, to the splendor of Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Zoe Fleming, an accomplished young human rights attorney, has made a life for herself in Zambia, far from her estranged father--an American business mogul with presidential aspirations--and from the devastating betrayals of her past.

When a young girl with Down syndrome is sexually assaulted in a Lusaka slum, Zoe joins Zambian police officer Joseph Kabuta in investigating the rape. Piecing together clues from the victim's past, they discover an unsettling connection between the girl--Kuyeya--and a powerful Zambian family who will stop at nothing to bury the truth.

As they are drawn deeper into the complex web of characters behind this appalling crime, Zoe and Joseph forge a bond of trust and friendship that slowly transforms into love. Opposed on all sides, they find themselves caught in a dangerous clash between the forces of justice and power. To successfully prosecute Kuyeya's attacker and build a future with Joseph, Zoe must risk her life and her heart--and confront the dark past she thought she had left behind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2901623651298
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Corban Addison is the author of the international bestselling novels, A Walk Across the Sun and The Garden of Burning Sand, which address international human rights issues within the framework of deeply researched and compelling human stories. An attorney, activist, and world traveler, he is a supporter of numerous humanitarian causes, including the abolition of modern slavery, gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS. He lives with his wife and children in Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

Lusaka, Zambia
August, 2011

The music was raucous, but it was always that way in African clubs. The beat of the drum—the backbone of village song—had been replaced in the cities by the throbbing insistence of electronic bass, amplified until everything around the speakers picked up the rhythm—people, beer bottles, even the walls. On Zoe’s first trip to the continent—a brief jaunt to Nairobi when she was six years old—her mother told her that Africa is the keeper of humanity’s pulse. It was a truth she remembered every time she stepped foot in a Zambian bar.

The place was called Hot Tropic, the club de jour in a city constantly reinventing its nightlife. The decor was all fire and glitter, neon lights flashing red against the walls and dazzling disco balls turning everything to sparkle. The place was packed with bodies, most of them African twenty-somethings, bouncing to the beat.

Zoe was seated at a table in a corner of the bar where the decibel level was slightly buffered. She was dressed in jeans and a Hard Rock London T-shirt, her wavy blonde hair pulled back in a clip. At the table with her were three African friends from work—two men and a woman. Most Saturdays Zoe hosted a barbecue, or braai, at her flat, and afterward those who had not satisfied their appetite for beer and conversation went clubbing. Tonight, the subject on everyone’s minds was the September election, pitting Zambia’s President, Rupiah Banda, against the aging warhorse Michael Sata, and the energetic upstart Hakainde Hichilema, or “H.H.”

“Banda is finished,” Niza Moyo was saying, her dark eyes aglow with indignation. “As is his party. They’ve run the country for twenty years and what have they given us? Mobile hospitals that take doctors away from the real hospitals; police officers that have no vehicles to investigate a crime; roads that only the rich can drive on; and corruption at every level of government. It’s a disgrace.”

Like Zoe, Niza was a young attorney at the Coalition of International Legal Advocates, or CILA, a London-based non-profit that combatted human rights abuses around the world. She was feistier and more outspoken than most Zambian women, but she was Shona, from Zimbabwe, and her father was an exiled diplomat known for challenging authority.

“I sympathize with your position,” said Joseph Kabuta, an officer with the Zambia Police Victim Support Unit. Solidly built with closecropped hair and wide perceptive eyes, he reminded Zoe of the young Nelson Mandela. “But Banda is still popular in the rural areas, and Michael Sata isn’t well. Zambians don’t want another president to die in office.”

“The press reports about Sata’s health are overblown,” Niza rejoined.

“What I can’t figure out,” Zoe interjected, “is why you don’t throw out the guys with one foot in the grave and elect the best candidate. Everybody loves H.H. He’s a born leader and he has no political baggage. But everybody says he can’t win. Where’s the logic?”

“It’s the way people think,” said Sergeant Zulu—who everyone called Sarge. Strategically brilliant and compulsively affable, he was the lead attorney at CILA and the mastermind behind the organization’s campaign against child sexual assault. “In Africa, presidents are like village chiefs. People vote for the gray heads.”

“So what you’re saying is that reformers don’t stand a chance until the old guard dies?” Zoe asked. “No wonder progress is like pulling teeth here.”

Sarge smiled wryly. “Each generation has to wait its turn.” He held up his empty bottle of Castle lager. “Anyone else need another beer, or am I the only one drinking?”

“I’ll take a Mosi,” said Joseph, draining his bottle and pushing it to the center of the table. Suddenly, he frowned and reached into the pocket of his jeans. He pulled out his cell phone and glanced at the screen. “It’s Mariam,” he said, giving Sarge a quizzical look.

Zoe perked up. Mariam Changala was the field-office director at CILA and the mother of six children. If she was calling Joseph in the middle of the night, it had to be serious.

Zoe watched Joseph’s face as he took the call. His broad eyebrows arched. “Is Dr. Chulu on call? Make sure he’s there. I’m ten minutes away.” He put the phone away and glanced around the table. “A girl was raped in Kanyama. They’re taking her to the hospital now.”

“How old?” Niza asked.

Joseph shrugged. “Mariam just said she’s young.”

“Family?” Sarge inquired.

“Not clear. They found her wandering the streets.”

Zoe spoke: “Who picked her up?”

“Some people from SCA.”

“She’s disabled?” Zoe asked. “SCA” stood for Special Child Advocates, a nonprofit that worked with children with intellectual disabilities.

“Presumably,” Joseph said, throwing on his jacket. “Sorry to break up the party.” He gave them a wave and headed toward the door.

Zoe decided on a whim to follow him. Child rape cases usually appeared on her desk in a weeks-old police file. She’d never learned of an incident so soon after it happened. She tossed an apology to Sarge and Niza and weaved her way through the crowd, catching up to

“Mind if I come with you?” she asked. “I’ve never seen the intake process.”

He looked annoyed. “Okay, but stay out of the way.”

Zoe followed him into the chilly August night. Thrusting her hands into the pockets of her jacket, she looked toward the south and saw Canopus hanging low over the horizon. The brightest southern stars were visible above the scrim of city lights. Joseph walked toward a rusty Toyota pickup jammed in between cars on the edge of the dirt lot. Only the driver’s door was accessible. Zoe had to climb over the gearshift to reach the passenger seat.

Joseph started the truck with a roar and pulled out onto the street. Since Hot Tropic sat on the border between Kalingalinga, one of Lusaka’s poorer neighborhoods, and Kabulonga, its wealthiest, street traffic on a Saturday night was kaleidoscopic, a colorful blend of pedestrians,
up-market SUVs, and blue taxi vans crammed with revelers.

“How did the people at SCA find the girl?” Zoe asked as they left the club behind.

He stared at the road without answering, and she wondered if he’d heard her. She observed him for a long moment in the shadows of the cab. She knew almost nothing about him, except that he had been a police officer for over a decade, that he loathed corruption, and that he had recently completed a law degree at the University of Zambia.

She spoke his name to get his attention. “Joseph.”

He twitched and took a breath. “One of their community volunteers found her,” he said. “A woman named Abigail. She saw blood on the girl’s leg and called Joy Herald.” Joy was the director of SCA. “Joy called Mariam at home.”

“It happened in Kanyama?”

He nodded. “East of Los Angeles Road, not far from Chibolya.”

She shuddered. Kanyama lay to the southwest of Cairo Road—the city’s commercial center. A patchwork of shanties and cinderblock dwellings, most without toilets or running water, it was a haven for poverty, alcoholism, larceny, and cholera outbreaks. In an election year, it was also a cauldron of political unrest. But at least Kanyama had a police post. Chibolya was such a cesspool of lawlessness that the police avoided it altogether.

They left the well-lit neighborhoods of Kabulonga and headed west along the wide, divided highway of Los Angeles Boulevard. Skirting the edge of the Lusaka Golf Club, they took Nyerere Road through a tunnel of mature jacarandas whose dense branches slivered the light of the moon.

“Were there any witnesses?” she asked.

He sighed and shifted in his seat. “I have no idea. Are you always so full of questions?”

She bristled and thought: If I were a man, would you be asking? She considered a number of barbed responses, but in the end she held her tongue. CILA needed her to build bridges with the police, not wreck them.

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The Garden of Burning Sand 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After patiently waiting for the book to be released in the USA, I finally got it and was able to read it in 4 days.  I  look forward to many more Novels from Addison.  Once again Mr. Addison has written a book where immediately you are drawn into the book with his Characters  (Zoe, Joseph and Kuyeya), the challenges they face and the wonderful depictions of the surrounding scenes and  occurrences. You become a part of the characters lives as you are reading. You cheer, you curse, you cry, and bite your nails.  I love that "The Garden of Burning Sand" draws you in from the very beginning. It has been over a year since I've read  a book that is able to grasps me from the first page of the book; which I am sure is not a simple feat. The same was  true for Addison's first book "A Walk Across the Sun". "A Walk Across the Sun" explores the tragedies and on goings  of the Sex Slave Trade a Worldwide issue; "The Garden of Burning Sand" also hits on a similar topic.  "The Garden of Burning Sand" brings light to what seems a dormant issue. We all know Child Assault and HIV/AIDS  exists and happens; however, a blind eye is turned to such horrific acts of violence and maltreatment. You never hear of it  on the news except when a large or tragic incidence occurs. It is wonderful to see Addison write such an eye opening story  on what seems to be the forgotten issue of sexual assault of children and women in sub-Saharan Africa along with the high  count of HIV/AIDS and what a huge impact it has on society. Addison’s work lets you realize that no matter how bad things  are here in the USA that we are blessed to have a judicial system in place that attempts to protect children and women from  abuse and rape. Women in places with such laws implemented are less terrified to go places alone. While you must always  be careful you do not have to be fearful. It is commendable to see a humanitarian book of fiction with so much research and time  dedicated that it creates a fictional world that seemingly follows the manner of the real world. If you are looking for a gripping book where you cannot stop turning the pages, that makes your heart swell, your eyes tear and  lets you travel to various destinations all while being in suspense, this book is for you. I believe all should read both  “A Walk Across the Sun” and This wonderful new book “The Garden of Burning Sand”. Learn something new; become active in  humanitarian efforts which help to make changes to others in need of a hand around the globe. I ask to let this book inspire you  to do that. It will touch your heart and make you think. If it doesn't make you think, then you either have no heart or are not human.
SweeterTweeterP More than 1 year ago
Wow!  A compelling journey with insight steeped with an Africa I saw another side of.  This book is packed full of the beauty of a country and culture rarely told in a posotive way.  Complete with an action packed court roomdrama that will have you cheering complete with an ending that will stay with you forever.  Do not hesitate to put this book next on your reading list...immediately.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Dark Waters I knew i had to read more from Addison. All 4 of his published books are told with such authenticity and are hard to put down longer than a few hours. Can't wait for the 5th novel by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have seen the faces of those without in South Africa. This was a reminder of what should not be forgotten.
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Great book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This look like a good book