The Syrian is a powerful contemporary novel of passion and betrayal, set
against the brutal and bewildering outbreak of the Israeli-Hezbollah war in
Nadia, a woman who has waited 13 years for a husband who was ‘disappeared’
by Lebanon’s occupier, the Syrians, finally decides to declare him dead and
allow herself happiness with an American physician, Andrew Sullivan.
Nadia’s best friend, Sonia, a well connected foreign correspondent, is out
to get Andrew for herself and draws in the powerful head of the Syrian
secret police, Hassan Jaafar, to help her in her Byzantine manipulations.
Professionally, Sonia is also on a mission to discover who really murdered
the popular Lebanese prime minister, Rafic Hariri, the discovery of which
would hugely embarrass the Americans and their main Middle East ally.
Hassan Jaafar has loved Nadia since she was a student at the American
University of Beirut. She discouraged his attentions because he was part of
the Syrian occupation of her country. His love for Nadia has not dissipated
in the 15 Years since she rejected him and married her professor, but now as
Syria’s Intelligence Chief he is very dangerous and influential. Sonia may
or may not know what she has unleashed upon her friend.
The novel opens when Nadia, relaxing at her parents’ Beirut home, excitedly
awaiting the arrival of her fiancé Andrew. In the middle of her happiness Sonia rings
and tells her not only that Elie is still alive in a Damascus prison, but
that Sonia has set in motion the possibility of a meeting between Nadia and
Jaafar. From here the reader turns the pages furiously as the plot twists
and turns, becoming increasingly dangerous and bloody, as the border
conflict escalates with the book’s protagonists having retreated to the
south of Lebanon for safety.
In her commitment to the verisimilitude learned from writing three
non-fiction books about the Middle East, Cathy Sultan is not willing to fall
into cliche or easy endings: prepare for unforeseen surprises!
This book is available for purchase here.