Without Borders,is a love story about a young doctor who journeys into war-torn Syria to rescue two small boys from besieged Old Homs. It will appeal to those wanting to understand the current conflict in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS.
Ana, a young doctor working at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, does not understand the implications of eleven year old Rahim’s disclosure until it is too late. The daily trauma she bears witness to, takes its toll and she has demons of her own to contend with. Not least, the self-styled mafiosa don who seems to control this camp and his terrifying companion she believes to be a commander with ISIS. Qassem. Aware of the horrors Rahim survived, Ana does not for a moment, consider him capable of going back into Syria for the little brother they left behind. Then, one day, he disappears.
Compelled to go to their rescue, Ana heads for a secret field hospital in besieged Old Homs but, by the time she arrives, she has barely escaped the clutches of ISIS, putting those who help her, in mortal danger. And then she meets Caleb. He came back to help his mother and find his father, a journalist disappeared during the first uprisings. They fall in love and, determined to get Ana out as soon as possible, Caleb agrees to help her find the children.
All does not go according to plan. Captured by the dreaded Shabiha and handed over to their monstrous leader, Ana experiences herself, both agonising injustice and courageous love. For bound by a dreadful secret, neither Qassem nor Caleb, are who they appear to be. Without ultimate sacrifice, their fateful history looks likely to repeat itself and once again, innocence will pay the price.
In the words of editor, Philippa Donovan: “This is an extra-ordinary story of human courage and love. Delicate yet forceful. Traumatic yet redemptive. Moving and informative but not didactic. It would sit alongside commercial fiction such as The Kite Runner and Half of a Yellow Sun.”
I never intended to write a story set in Syria. The catastrophe engulfing that country is too upsetting to contemplate and writing about it would have to do justice somehow, to those people it sought to represent. But then, in January 2013, two news items hit the headlines that I could not ignore. The fate of Dr Abbas Khan was particularly shocking and struck a personal chord. He was a British hand surgeon, married with young children, whose punishment for going back to help his people in Syria was imprisonment and death by torture and starvation. As a doctor, I too, have considered offering my services in places where it is most needed. The fate of Dr Khan could have been mine if I had had the courage to act on my convictions as he did.
Not long after this, we were presented with evidence that Assad’s machine had systematically murdered thousands of his citizens in the same way and I have to remind myself with shame, that President Assad is also a qualified doctor.
Without Borders is inspired by heroes who rise above depravity, demonstrating the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and the redeeming power of love. It is based on the testaments of survivors.
Karen Blixon once said “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”
Reviews for Power in Mind:
5.0 out of 5 stars Wall to wall action 23 April 2013
By Garry Kay (Amazon, Goodreads)
Power In Mind starts fast, gathers pace and finishes with a bang. Susanne Burge uses her professional medical knowledge and musical talent to create a believable action-packed journey for her leading couple Persephone (I personally prefer it to Lina) and Alesandre, whose telepathic connection gives them the edge in a gargantuan battle of wits. The evil puppet-master Andras toys with his victims, whose special skills and special love keeps them alive to continue the fight. Maybe Alesandre should have killed Andras when he had the chance, but he would have been no better than the "baddy" if he'd made that choice. Small footnote: credit to Susanne for including the longest word I have ever come across in a novel ... "acetylcholinesterase". Most enjoyable book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic multi-layered intriguing first novel, 21 Jun 2013
This review is from: Power in Mind: Defying an Evil That Would Control the Mind of Man (Paperback)
Read it once and this novel has it all; action, romance, intrigue. Read it again and open your mind to explore how we look at the world, how others look at us and - exactly as the title says - what potential we have in our minds.
This is a multi-layered novel that you can enjoy just for the story, but also a book that can make you question just how much of what we know is real and how much more is possible.
and from a friend
"I read it in 3 days! Fascinating!! I recognised so much of you in the book. At the same time found some of the descriptions of places and events incl. history incredibly revealing and informative. (I learned a lot!!)
You quite obviously have some hidden depths. I have passed it on to Katriona (her teenage daughter) whilst looking forward to reading it again. Reading it made me proud and grateful to count you as a friend … and pleased you decided to write and publish it. Thank you."
Link to interview with Female First:
I hope that many people read this wonderful novel and are as deeply affected by it as I was. On the whole I am the lazy, 'escapist' type of reader, typical of many, with a tendency to avoid storylines tackling uncomfortable topical situations or complicated political crises. However as I turned the pages of Without Borders I rapidly became engrossed in this captivating love story. The narrative which is informative as well as moving, enhanced my awareness and understanding of the plight of the people of Syria and as I began to identify with some of the characters, I felt a strong empathy towards the real families, no different to my own, with heartbreaking true stories like this to tell.
by Ingrid Tomlinson
Without Borders is a story that must be told and read , based on actual facts and narrated through a western aid worker Anna , which makes the ongoing disaster in Syria very real . It gives a solid background of past and more recent history interwoven with the storyline . Anna's personal story makes the book all the more human , though the suffering very tangible. Where I would not normally be attracted to stories about war -torn countries I am very glad I read Without Borders as it gave me a wealth of insight in the war in Syria and the motivation to be more proactive in alleviating the suffering. his is happening on our doorstep, at this moment, and human input from a heart centered motivation like Anna's is invaluable.
by Agnies Calkoen
This is an important book in which the reader is artfully led, by way of a romantic storyline, to a detailed and unnerving understanding, not achieved by years of exposure to news headlines, of the machinery of evil underpinning the Assad regime. In years to come, when we berate ourselves for our lack of a countervailing political response, we must not then plead ignorance of these everyday atrocities comprising this genocidal war because, in reading this book, we cannot not have been aware. Read, learn,vote .
Without Borders was a great read about something that needs far more publicity and recognition. Although it took me a while to get into it once hooked I was intent to follow the various stories of the characters and to know what happened to them. Working with children on a daily basis and having done some disaster relief, they are remarkably resilient and robust in many ways but are still children with the usual needs. The reality of the harshness and uncertainty of life in Syria needs to be known and understood so that hopefully appropriate interventions can be made, and this book helps bring home what is happening to the ordinary families on the street which could easily be us.
by David Wilson
Without Borders: Syria, a book you wouldn't want to leave! An absolutely amazing book written by Susanne Burge which reflects the reality in Syria and the brutality of the crisis. Without borders played with my heart strings, from the initial attachment to Rahim to Ana's whole journey in Syria. The way Ana has been described, her emotions, the emotional turmoil she undergoes in seeing the misery of Syrian people, reader, you'll yourself undergo that emotional journey and will get hooked. Kudos to the author!
by Avantika Sharan
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed reading this book. This is not a book that I would typically pick up, but something about it caught my eye. I do have an interest in learning more about the Civil war in Syria and I've been researching the Syrian refugee crisis for the last few years. With that being said, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stomach this book or even begin to understand the atrocious cruelties that these people were facing. I really give Susanna Burge a lot of credit for being able to transform such a dark subject into an inspiring, educational, and even romantic story. Through out Ana's (the heroine) journey in and out of Syria, we are introduced to a ton of different characters who are all so dynamic and colorful, I literally felt as if they were jumping off of the page. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it quite quickly. It was such a fast, exciting, heart pumping (and heart breaking) ride.
by Sarah Smith
Without Borders is a beautifully written love story set in the war torn Syria of today. It brings to life the truly horrendous situation in Syria where there is unbelievable suffering, pain, fear and loss mirrored with incredible acts of bravery, kindness and love. Its a must read book. There is no excuse to not understand the situation in Syria once you have read it and its story must be told.
by Amazon Customer
What an incredible read this was. A beautiful love story but mixed with details of the unimaginable horrors faced by poor innocent victims stuck in a hell on earth.
It has also been an education in the intricacies of the politics behind the regimes, different beliefs etc, we see coverage on the news, but it's never fully explained.
So beautifully written, I was transported to that place, the smells, the scene setting, tiny details.
A must read, and with proceeds very generously going to a great cause.
by Jo Beer
Married with two boys, I am a GP working in a small practice and radiotherapy, in the West Country. As well as medicine and writing, I love to walk, swim, cycle, travel, read and play my cello. I am a member of two orchestras.
As the daughter of a German mother (and English father), growing up in an insular family with no television or car, it came as a great shock to me in my teens, to learn about the holocaust. The bravery of family members during those terrible times and the need to understand why history repeats itself, drove me to Israel. Here, as a medical student undertaking an elective, I worked in an Arab hospital at the start of the first Intifada and my interest in middle Eastern politics began.
I am fascinated by what it means to be human, what makes us the people we are, how the human mind works and the extremes of its potential. This was the inspiration behind my first book, Power in Mind, published in 2013, a romantic thriller about justice and human rights.