I always have been mesmerized by the building of the Panama canal 1903 1914 and this historical fictional novel brings alive this part of history that made America the leader of the world in technology, engineering, and everything else It was the beginning of the American century and the end of the Victorian domination of the world The history is almost a character in this tale with real historical figures being laced into the fictional tale of a Cowboy, John Holt, being summoned by President Rooseveldt to Panama for a delicate investigation The smokescreen was a search for the mother of Saffire, a little mulatto girl He soon discovered that it was much than that and that the animosity of different groups against each other was like a time bomb waiting to ignite a second revolution A web of deceit was spun over the canal project which increased the challenges and problems for George Washington Goethals, the US army officer and civil engineer who had to supervise the construction, administration and opening of the canal He was regarded as the three omnis Omnipotent Omniscient Omnipresent A remarkable man The gentle novel centers around the politics and challenges of the time, portraying a harsh environment without adding excessive violence for shock effect The grim and challenging circumstances were not hidden or ignored The discovery of a cure for yellow fever and malaria was a result of the Panama canal, where thousands of workmen perished from the diseases, endangering the completion of the canal Dr Carlos Finlay, from French Scottish descend , a Cuban physician, discovered the link between mosquitoes and these deadly diseases Without him getting involved in the project, the American effort to connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was doomed His name is not mentioned in the book, but his methods of eradicating the mosquitoes are used in the plot He deserves a lot recognition, in my humble opinion U.S Army physician Dr William Gorgas 1854 1920 is credited with Dr Finlay s achievements instead There was enough realism embedded in the story to make this a highly interesting read Although it was not the most heart stopping read, it was informative and entertaining James Holt is the protagonist leading the reader through a highly volatile period of history.I watched two Youtube videos again to capture the immensity of this achievement I really loved this experience and appreciated the decency with which this tale was told A very good read indeed There s nothing like a historical novel that s chock full of history, intrigue, and wit Sigmund Brouwer is a master at this, writing a novel that ambles along at an easy pace that s as endearing as it s young namesake Quirky characters step from the shadows when you least expect it, and the humor and heroism of a cowboy from whom the story is told had me giggling whenever I wasn t sighing Amid the main plot, this cowboy s past is laced throughout a past that s complex and filled with life altering memories from Buffalo Bill s Wild West show Saffire is engaging, eclectic and the building of the Panama Canal really shines in the forefront of the story as a rich and vivid setting Beautifully told. I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED RIGHT NOW Because to be honest, this book had a lot of potential But, in the end, this was a definite no for me For one, that synopsis It doesn t represent the book very well at all It labels this as a love story psshttt it s 95% mystery historical and 5% romance Also it kinda overemphasizes Saffire s influence in the book She s honestly really not even in that much of the book It also doesn t capture most of the main events of the book, which revolve around James being hired as a private investigator of sorts instead of his search for Saffire s mother which is prominent at first, but quickly fades away Also, the pacing in the book was uneven I can take a slow or a fast paced book, but I can t stand those books that inevitably drag in the middle It starts off fairly fast paced, gets super slow in the middle, and finishes off with a bit of a bang Another issue I had was the romance Like I said, there wasn t very much at all which is a good thing , but the little bit of romance that was present was utterly ridiculous, based ENTIRELY off externals It wasn t an accurate depiction of a relationship that would actually work SPOILER ALERT I think I can safely say there s probably less than six or seven scenes together between the guy and the girl, and at the end, they re getting married Excuse me, what SPOILER OVER It was super aggravating to see this, especially in a Christian on the quotation marks later book On the bright side, the plot was really well done It was thick, filled with an intricate web of names, faces, locations, and events, and the author obviously did a lot of plotting I think the setting was one of the book s biggest strengths, a rich historical setting that I knew nothing about, which was interesting But unfortunately, I felt almost completely lost towards the end of the book I m sure the events all tied together perfectly, but it s just super hard to follow, and extremely confusing at times.Although another bright spot is that the author writes amazing prose, crafting beautiful sentences and descriptions of the setting that made me feel like I was really there However, the lack of character development alone was enough to nullify the benefits of the setting I didn t notice any changes in any of the characters.And speaking of characters, the main one James wasn t particularly likable, and I couldn t relate to him at all actually when I think about it that applies to most of the characters He s hard to describe Not quite cynical, but overly sarcastic On top of all this, there was a number of other things that were just plain unnecessary and had me raising my eyebrow going Really Not the least of which was when one of the characters makes a joke about homosexuality Just to clarify, none of the characters are homosexual, and it s definitely not promoted, but still I was shocked to find a Christian author now you know where the quotation marks come in who would make a joke about such a serious issue Excuse me, sir, but that s just not okay And because of that, I m basically 95% confused as to why this book is considered Christian There was pretty much nothing that held even a close resemblance to a Christian theme of some sort I m sorry, but this is kinda a pet peeve for me If you re truly a Christian, WHY DOES YOUR BOOK NOT REPRESENT CHRIST The world is looking at books like this by authors like Mr Bruower, and what are they seeing They re seeing fiction that s nearly indistinguishable from secular fiction That s not okay As Christians, we are ambassadors for Christ, and you re not being a very good one when you write something like this that hardly mentions God at all or doesn t even include Christian themes So yeah This one s getting 2 stars for those reasons XP I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer is one of the best books I have read in 2016 Saffire is set in 1909 during Teddy Roosevelt s presidency and tells the story of James Holt who sets out to protect a young girl named Saffire as she goes out in search for her mother In her search, James and Saffire are pulled into a world of pirates, gold runners, plantations, deceit, intrigue, romance and revolutionary politics Saffire has everything you could want in a novel Saffire is fast paced, interesting, and filled with so much history Saffire is a book you will pick up and not want to put down until you finish the very last page Perfect for fans of Historical fiction Saffire is also the perfect read for Autumn I don t know why but it had an Autumn feel to it I do plan on re reading it once we re in October. Saffire brings to life the building of the Panama Canal and the resulting political moves that took place.I was drawn in to the novel right away by the main character James Holt and secondary character Saffire Although the novel is named after Saffire and her story has a lot to do with the action in the novel, she takes up a rather small portion of the pages I would have liked to have known about Saffire.Mr Holt is a cowboy from the Dakotas trying to make money to save his land His background as a rancher and soldier combined with his intelligence make him a worth opponent to those trying to mar his time in Panama My favorite character aside from Mr Holt and Saffire was T.B Miskimon The relationship between Holt and Miskimon was comical Miskimon, like many of the characters in the novel, was a historical figure and some of his actual reports to his colonel are in the novel Sadly, I couldn t find on the author s website what T.B stands for so if anyone knows, please share in the comments.The history of the building of the Panama Canal was brought alive in the pages of Saffire Readers that enjoy a novel heavy on history would likely enjoy Saffire. An intelligent mystery set during a compelling time in history, Sigmund Brouwer s Saffire is a fascinating novel Excellent first person narration and supberb setting descriptions highlight this historical mystery, as well as an investigation that turns deadly James finds himself in the midst of a potential revolution.Read my full review over on Book Page I Reminded Myself That Once You Start To Defend Someone, It S Difficult To Find A Place To Stop But I Went Ahead And Took That First Step AnywayFor President Teddy Roosevelt, Controlling The East West Passage Between Two Oceans Mattered So Much That He Orchestrated A Revolution To Control It His Command Was To Let The Dirt Fly, And For Years, The American Zone Of The Panama Canal Mesmerized The World, Working In Uneasy Co Existence With The Panamanian AristocratsIt S In This Buffered Zone Where, In , James Holt Takes That First Step To Protect A Defenseless Girl Named Saffire, Expecting A Short And Simple Search For Her Mother Instead It Draws Him Away From Safety, Into A Land Haunted By A History Of Pirates, Gold Runners, And Plantation Owners, All Leaving Behind Ghosts Of Their Interwoven Desires, Sins, And Ambitions, Ghosts That Create The Web Of Deceit And Intrigue Of A New Generation Of Revolutionary Politics It Will Also Bring Him Together With A Woman Who Will Change His Course Or Bring An End To ItA Love Story Set Within A Historical Mystery, Saffire Brings To Vibrant Life The Most Impressive And Embattled Engineering Achievement Of The Twentieth Century Saffire Saffire is a really fun and mysterious book There the main character is brought to Panama Canal to do something and to have chat with General You get a good history about the time period You also get a romance and action packed What will happen to Holt There are some historical characters in the book Sigmund does a wonderful job of tells the facts about 1909 The year may by a bit off but the facts stated are true You will find that at the end of the book.If you enjoy historical fiction, you will enjoy this book It tells of the building of the Panama Canal I like that fell It also gives a little mystery along with the action in the book. James Holt comes to Panama in 1909 at the request of his old friend, Theodore Roosevelt, to carry out a mission that starts out as a search for the mother of Saffire, beautiful and spirited young girl with wits as sharp as a razor But the he digs, the he feels that he is getting nowhere, yet there is something beneath the surface that threatens the future of the canal and America.Jim tells the story from his point of view, and despite how the story is told through his eyes, he still keeps his cards rather close to his chest I admired his love for his daughter back home in the Dakotas, and how his rich backstory weaves its way into the story It takes a while for the book to really pick up, which is uncommon for this author, but when it picks up all the pieces and people begin to fall in place And in the end it all came together and was hard to put down.I like how Jim tells story, he calculating and cool, yet we see his doubts and vulnerabilities that he hates about himself He is a smart man, who sees his past actions with perfect clarity and owns up to his faults I liked his alertness and awareness.T.B Miskimons was probably my favorite character, a enigmatic man shrouded in mystery and who seems to be ever in the know, and his interactions with Jim are some of my favorite parts of the book.Overall, a well written novel that brings the uneasy relations between the Americans and the Panama people to life, showing the obstacles that had to be overcome to build the wonder of the Panama Canal A well researched historical read, filled with intrigue, mystery, and even romance Disclosure of Material Connection I received one or of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising. Saffire by Sigmund Brower is a novel that takes place in the early 1900s at the Panama Canal It was a rough and tumble place, full of seedy characters and the main character, James Holt, fits right in Formerly a cowboy in Buffalo Bill s Wild West Show, he is now a widowed father who enjoys a quiet life on a cattle ranch in the Dakotas When President Teddy Roosevelt, a longtime friend, sends him on a secret mission to Panama, he embarks on an adventure fraught with danger and intrigue Upon arriving in Panama City, he meets a young girl named Saffire, whose mother has disappeared Local authorities claim she ran away, but Saffire is not convinced and will not give up trying to find out what happened to her mother.James becomes involved in Saffire s search, trying himself to discover the details surrounding her mother s disappearance He ends up angering some of the native folks, who don t want a foreigner poking around in their business There are bar fights, gun fights, fist fights and even torture in this story I would have to say, despite a little romance between James and a local woman he meets named Raquel, that this story is one that men would enjoy than women I had a hard time following the plot at times and really didn t like all the fighting and gritty adventure Saffire is billed as Historical Christian fiction It is indeed historical and gives lots of details about building the Panama Canal, including much of the political goings on of that day It is also fiction, although based on many actual events and people I have a very hard time however, calling it Christian I only remember one vague reference to God when James visits a dying man and the man asks James to pray for him Although well written, I just didn t enjoy the book very much I do like historical fiction, but I guess I m not that interested in the wild west type adventure I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Sigmund loves going to schools to get kids excited about reading, reaching roughly 80,000 students a year through his RockRoll Literacy Show.
- 336 pages
- Sigmund Brouwer
- 18 December 2019 Sigmund Brouwer