NEW BOOK: Thrilling road adventure with a redemptive twist

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Gripping and fast-paced
Page-turning action adventure set in Greece and Albania
Based on real-life events
Accurately and evocatively describes the migrant experience
Portrays faith that rescues
Rich, eye-opening, contemporary, accurate

In what is described as the European Migrant Crisis, beginning in 2013, large numbers of people crossed land and sea to reach Europe. While much media coverage focused on the impact this was having in Northern Europe, the story that was unfolding in South-eastern Europe has hardly been told. It is a story of mass arrivals of people in Greece, including people from Albania and other neighbouring countries, people searching for a liveable life free from poverty and violent conflict, but whose dreams often turned sour.

Set against an accurate portrayal of the history, politics and culture of this geographical region, The Migrant is a tense and evocative ‘road adventure’ with a powerful message and a tragic, yet ultimately redemptive, twist. It is the credible story of a man of faith who risks his own life for that of another.

Author, journalist and pastor, Paul Alkazraji, says, ‘I wrote it to take the reader on an adventurous road trip into the danger of real events that have happened and are still happening now. I made the journey down through Greece myself in an old Mercedes car to experience the sights and sounds of the country so I could evoke a keen sense of time and place as a backdrop. I have worked for some years with the local church in Albania and seen first-hand the struggles and risks many Albanians face to escape poverty and unemployment and find work abroad. It is, in a way, their story I am telling. I have seen Christians take loving risks to reach and help them too, and have also seen Albanians find new hope, real hope, that lasts. There are important truths I hope to have illustrated in the story, from Scripture and from my own first-hand experiences in Albania and Greece.’

Fascist populists, callous sex-traffickers and murderous mafia gangs – these were not what Pastor Jude Kilburn had expected to face when he moved to Albania. But when vulnerable 19-year-old Alban disappears from his poverty-stricken village to seek work in Greece, Pastor Jude has to undertake the perilous journey across the mountains to try to rescue him from the ruthless Athenian underworld. Accompanied by a volatile secret-service agent and a reformed gangster, Jude soon finds himself struggling to keep everyone together as personal tensions rise and violent anti-austerity riots threaten to tear them apart and undermine the mission. Caught between cynical secret police and a brutal crime syndicate, the fate of them all will be determined by a trafficked girl – but not everyone will make it home.Paul says, ‘Initially, I went to Albania as a reporter, just before the Kosovo crisis. I went back again to write a book and met my future wife there. We returned together to live in Albania in 2003. You never imagine how a single trip might become the gateway for your life.’

Paul’s rich and varied experiences inform The Migrant, an evocative thriller that will help you see the world with new eyes.

What reviewers say:
‘Fast-paced action adventure that kept me hooked right to the end with its unexpected twists and turns. Edgy, complex, with a relevant theme and great characters. This is a fascinating insight into a political situation I knew little about, and the vivid backdrop makes the action all the more believable. Masterfully written. A must-read.’
Sheila Jacobs, award-winning author and editor

‘Wow! What a great read. A book that evokes the feelings and passions of the Balkans, sucking you into an adventure, as if you’re really there. You can almost see and smell the environment. A story so based on facts that you can taste the reality of it every day in this area of the world.’
Ian Loring, European Director, Open Air Campaigners; President, Kennedy Foundation Albania; Pastor, Korca Evangelical Church

‘You could not evoke the landscapes, soundscapes, struggles, conflicts and human stories of a country with such attention to detail, and as powerfully, as Paul Alkazraji does in The Migrant unless you knew your subject intimately. And Paul does. He has lived and worked in Albania, travelling frequently to Greece, over a period of more than twenty years – and has made his home there! Paul’s skill lies in blending immersive text with totally believable characters and contemporary storylines, drawing on both real and imagined scenarios, political, social, religious and much more! And he’s not afraid of depicting the consequences of life in the midst ofconflict, without the presence of God, which naturally brings the reader to a truly beautiful place when his characters do “find” God and enter into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ, the effects of which feed into every aspect of daily life and relationships.’
Adrian Snell, composer, music therapist and arts therapy consultant

‘The opening lines of The Migrants first chapter will make you, the reader, feel that the story has already been rollicking along like a bolting horse, and it is a pace that the storyteller never eases up on. If you like a story with picture language, colouring in with words, then you will enjoy this book. If you have an interest in the Balkans, its nation-states, history, culture and current affairs, this book will serve you well with flashes of the past, and what is happening there now. But that is the broader canvas for the challenges, and trauma, experienced by many modern-day Albanians.
‘My own work brings me into close contact with a virtual sub-class of humanity, the migrant, in particular the vulnerabilities that are unique to migrant-living. A migrant is a ready-made victim for exploitation by criminals and criminal organisations. Although a work of fiction, it is an accurate description of what really does happen.’

Martin Gillmore, Bath and Wells Diocesan Chaplain among Nomads

‘This book is far more than just a gripping page-turner of action and adventure, though it certainly is that. The sounds, sights and smells of Albania and Greece fill the pages and draw you deep into the plot. Paul Alkazraji skilfully weaves the politically seething atmosphere of modern Greece and the grinding poverty of both countries together with the dark underworld of human trafficking and contrasts them with one man’s faith that rescue at its deepest level can be achieved. A must-read, moving and redemptive novel that engages you from cover to cover.’
Grace Turner, Director of Firelighters; Pastor of RiverLife Church, Bern, Switzerland; author of The Kings Gold

 

The Migrant by Paul Alkazraji (ISBN: 9781909728981) is published by Instant Apostle and is available from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Fiction, 272pp, £8.99.
  • Paul Alkazraji

    Paul Alkazraji worked as a freelance journalist in the UK from the mid-nineties. His was published in Christianity Magazine...

  • The Migrant

    Paul Alkazraji

    Fascist populists, callous sex-traffickers and violent anti-austerity riots – these were not what Pastor Jude Kilburn had expected to face when he moved to Albania.

    But when vulnerable 19-year-old Alban disappears...