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September 3, 2020

The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

In the Spring of 2011. protests erupted throughout the Middle East.  Governments were overthrown in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

In Syria, the regime of Bashar al-Assad shot, beat and tortured protestors, but instead of crushing the opposition, it sparked a civil war.  By July of 2012, that war had breached the walls of Syria's capital, Damascus.  But to the north by the border with Turkey, in what was then Syria's largest city, an uneasy peace still held...
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The Doctor of Aleppo
August 2020; Blackstone; 978-1982622152
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); war fiction

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book.  I was afraid that it would be focused on the war in Syria and full of military jargon.  I was greatly surprised when I started to read it and found out that it was about the human side of war, about the destruction of the cities, and the needless loss of the innocent lives of people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was most importantly about what people do for others in a life-threatening situation when they could just protect themselves and their families and run to another country.  Many of the people in this novel went out of their way to help other people even if it endangered their own lives.  

The Doctor of Aleppo looks at the war in Aleppo from 2012 - 2016.  Hannah, an American who is a community worker for a firm based in Brussels is in Aleppo with her Swedish boyfriend Oskar when an anti-government riot breaks out in the street outside their hotel room.  They participate in the riot and Oskar gets critically wounded.  He's taken to the main rebel hospital and operated on by Dr. Samir Hasan.  Dr. Hasan is an orthopedic surgeon who is aware of the dangers of the current riots toward the government but his hospital work is more important than his wife and two children and he spends most of his time at the hospital.  There are a lot of other charters in this novel but the two main characters and Hannah and Dr. Hasan.  Their lives are in turmoil as we follow them for a four year period in Aleppo.  The anti-government fighting became worse as the years went on and both Hannah and Dr. Hasan find their lives in danger at every turn.  Both are more concerned with helping other people than protecting themselves.  As the war in Aleppo ramps up even higher, they will both have to make difficult decisions that may help them escape the fighting by going to Turkey.  Will they be successful in leaving the country or will the war keep them in danger in Aleppo?

This is a well-researched and well-written novel that is fast-paced and gives the reader insight into a war that very few Americans are aware of.  It has two strong main characters who are brave and resilient and won't soon be forgotten by most readers.

"Both intimate and sweeping in scope, The Doctor of Aleppo lends insight into how the most brutal, devastating war of the twenty-first century is mirrored on the personal scale, leaving scars that can never be healed."

Buy The Doctor of Aleppo at Amazon

About the Author

Dan Mayland is an author and professional geopolitical forecaster, helping nonprofit, private, and government organizations navigate a changing world. His Mark Sava spy series and his latest novel, The Doctor of Aleppo, were informed by his experiences in the Caspian region and Middle East.  
Connect with Dan: Website | Facebook

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Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter
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  1. Terrific review of a very interesting book which I am about halfway through. It's intense!

    1. Thanks Mike. I thought it was an awesome book and I'm still thinking about it weeks after i finished it!

  2. This was a really well written, and I believe, researched, book. Though it is fiction, it seems the author tries to truly capture what was going on in Aleppo at that time period. I never give plots in my reviews so suffice it to say that I highly recommend this book with only one slight negative. I thought it ended a bit abruptly, but then I’m not sure how else it could have ended in any other way.
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  3. This sounds fascinating! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours