Gardens of Grief

About this book

An adventure-historical fiction epic. In 245 pages, the author of Gardens of Grief does what it took Leon Uris 600 plus pages to do in Exodus. The latter dealt only peripherally with the Jewish holocaust. Boston Teran deals more directly with the Armenian one.
Turkish readers and the Turkish government can tune out now if they l ke, but butchers of the Ottoman Empire not only killed millions of Armenians, they probably encouraged Hitler and his Nazi murderers to do the same to the Jews. The Turks dodged the bullet of public opinion, a fact not overlooked by the Nazi establishment. It certainly prompted them to believe that the rest of the world wouldn’t care what they did to the Jews. They were right—much of the official Western World didn’t care until U.S. troops and others started reporting what they found in the Nazi concentration camps.
The Turks have an open wound of guilt with respect to their “Armenian solution.” They have even leveraged their position in NATO to keep the U.S. government from using the words genocide, holocaust, and ethnic cleansing when describing their “Armenian solution.” Use whatever words you want, but no amount of ostrich behavior or positive spin can change what really happened. It was obscene, organized murder, a mob lynching on the scale of millions. This is the background for Boston Teran’s book. Like Exodus and other thrillers (Forsyth’s work comes to mind), the historical facts seem to meld seamlessly into the story. You don’t know where the history ends and the fiction begins. This book is easier to read and it is more profound. We see the holocaust up close and personal through the eyes of the main characters. It is not a pretty sight.
The hero is John Lourdes, the same one from the author’s Creed of Violence. That makes this book a sequel. (The blurb on the back cover says it’s less of a sequel than an organic evolvement—whatever that means. To me “sequel” has a more expansive definition, but words are like symbols in an equation—they can mean anything, especially in today’s literature.) John is Mexican-American. Much is made in the book that he is swarthy so he can pass himself off as Armenian. I don’t remember my Armenian friends as swarthy, but maybe I was just colorblind when I grew up. Also, as a Spanish speaker, I don’t particularly think of John Lourdes as being a Mexican-American name (this might be explained in Creed, which I have not read), but maybe they’ll change that in the movie (Universal has purchased film rights to both Creed and Gardens).
Lourdes is a spy. I don’t believe that word was once used to describe him, but there is no doubt that he would be at home in the CIA. Moreover, this spy story, like Creed, is about oil. Where Creed was about America’s intervention into the Mexican Revolution in 1910 for the sake of oil, Gardens is about the control of the Baku oil fields.