Gardens of Grief
High Top Publications, Apr 2011, $22.00
In 1915, the American State Department sends Bureau of Investigation agent John Lourdes to Constantinople where the fighting has been fierce. Lourdes knows his assignment borders on suicide as the Ottoman Empire with their Central partners having defeated the British in the Dardanelles has begun an ethnic cleansing campaign to eradicate the Christian Armenians though the government insists they are at war with rebels rather than a planned genocide.
Lourdes mission is to bring out of the war zone, Father Malek who has become a symbol of the Armenian resistance as he gave up the plow to pick up the sword. At the same time the Ottoman Empire makes a concerted effort to catch the martyr and consequently the American whose Mexican roots enables him to somewhat blend in with the populace.
This is an incredible look at one of the first mass government sponsored genocides that rivals that of those that followed like the Nazis, the killing fields of Cambodia and the bloody red rivers of Rwanda, etc. With a nod to Solzhenitsyn’s exposing of Stalin, the exhilarating story line is action-packed with some scenes of horrific inhumanity; but throughout the cautionary message is to never forget hoping the world shines a spotlight on the next ethnic cleaning to prevent another round of The Creed of Violence.