Fear weighs heavily within the hearts of many. A nation plagued from birth with attacks, hate, blood-strewn bodies, violence and the hope that one day the world would accept its existence. Close your eyes and visualize the beautiful streets, landscapes, magnificent buildings, hotels, tourists and the bright sunshine that was Israel. The banks, the gardens and the water supply that once supplies the people enjoying the basic necessities of life each day not knowing that their way of life was about to end. Can you see the world before its demise? Burnt orange against sterile white, dust in the air causing you to have difficulty breathing, no greenery, no flowers and the sounds of humanity devoid of emotion and a world left to rot on its own.
Daniel Blum is our narrator as he relates the events in this outstanding novel, Enfold Me by Steven Greenberg in three different ways. Beginning with an email to his family he relates the horrific outcome of the Fall of Israel creating vivid images that would bring tears to anyone’s eyes. The world in which he lived no longer exists. Although his home is still in tact the modern conveniences that most take for granted have been cut off, destroyed and if repaired according to those who now run the country illegal. The horrors of an earthquake with add to this catastrophe and the terrorist attack inflicted on this nation that just wanted to live in peace are graphically and vividly described by our main character. Hamas now controls Israeli people, their movements, their sustenance and their very existence. Cruelty their goal, humiliation their folly as they focus their attention and efforts on destroying the Jewish spirit that soars through every Israeli. In his email to his family Daniel relates how this new government refuses to allow its Jewish residents to turn on their electricity, access to water and much more. Renamed the Northern Liberated Palestine state there are no banks, no work, no water and no electricity for those that remain. Fortunately, he created a garden which he expanded and has food. Able to rewire his house access to electricity which he only uses to power up his laptop and creatively finding a source of water. Next the author allows the reader to understand the history of the time period past and present, the city of Tzipori and how it got its name, the revolutionizing changes and the problems caused by the quake the attacks. Instead of being called Israeli’s they have been given the name Dhimmi’s made to wear orange armbands in order to humiliate and differentiate them from the Muslims. In order to survive they need to barter with vendors to get what they need. The author gives the reader some background into his life before the attacks, his job in a research lab doing genetic testing and working on fertility problems, meeting his wife and then finally introducing his blog which enlightens the reader about his life in the present.
Daniel is a soldier with a mission despite outward appearances. Working undercover for the Israeli Defense Forces he receives an email on his blog with instructions to go to Nazareth to meet his contact. Arriving there the author creates a picture of this town as if it is being reborn, rebuild and remade. But, the treatment of Dhimmi’s is cruel and harsh, as the soldiers do not think twice about inflicting pain on these people at any given time. This first installment of his blog discusses how he met his superior as he describes the mission and the history of how he came to become a soldier. As you read pages 23 you will learn more about the Dhimmi system and the true meaning as it is defined. At the base of this system is the collection of a poll tax called the Jizya claimed to cover the cost of protection. Added into the story is the fact that walking places is not allowed, children and adults have to wear the armbands, transportation is separate and strict rules of control interaction must be adhered to. This reminds the reader of how the Nazi’s marched 6 million Jews to their execution, how the blacks were paraded and sold as slaves and how the world discriminates against others who they feel threatened by or just plain hate.
The author then flashes back to 1989 and the history behind Daniel’s life, those he came in contact with, three men that tried to attack a college library and how he met George Farrah. The author includes the back-story about this interesting Arab and how these two men would come together to research and hopefully change the balance of what happened in Israel. Farrah having fought in Desert Storm and Daniel a soldier in the Israel Army what would they do to try and bring things back to the way they were before? We meet both men in Beirut in the present. But, his journey to freedom would come with many obstacles and hindrances. Roadblocks, checkpoints and encounters that would not only endanger him, place him in a refugee camp and thinking he was going to be home free he went along for the ride. But, the ride would not be an easy one; the deceptions and lies ran high the end result would definitely not bring him closer to his family. Hiding in a cave they meet two young Arabs that show them the way but when the last leg of journey arrives what happens to Daniel lands him in a hospital under the care of a nurse named Ayelet and his life is about to change and the truths that he holds dear tested. As he recuperates and thinks he is about to go to Tel Aviv and see his family the IRF expects him to complete one last mission. What will he do and the end result will definitely surprise the reader as some sacrifices are greater than others and things that appear to be true are really not.
The promises made were hollow and the hope for freedom an illusion. As he recuperates the voices he hears in his head are they real? What was really happening and what really did happen? As the poem entitled Enfold ME reflects his thoughts and he relates it’s meaning you begin to wonder what truths are being hidden and what lies are about to be revealed. Meeting Ayelet, the nurse at the hospital and hoping to go to Tel Aviv to secure his passage to find his way home, Daniel envisions his life with his family. But, reality sets in as he sees the destruction, inhales the dust, finds his way to Ayelet’s apartment and enters The New White City. Describing the carnage, the quake the links among the characters the desecration the reader becomes alerted that something dramatic is about the happen and Daniel’s work would no longer be filled with the sounds of hope but rather with the sounds of silence so deafening that he rings loudly in his ears. The silence in the streets, the lack of responses and the awakening when it’s too late and there is no chance for escape. As Daniel comes front and center with the truth and meets those that have perpetrated the lies the reader learns what they are really after, why Daniel will never have freedom and the truth behind his research. A truth that will send chills through your body, fear within the science world and knowledge that from some responsibilities there is no turning back. What he learns will change everything. Who is behind it he realizes himself. As the end is near and he enters the lab where it all began what would Daniel’s decision be? Will he help those that have lied and deceived him to rid the world of what was being done? What was the research that leads him to this moment that caused so many lives to be sacrificed and lost? What was that last dream and revelation that brought it all back? An ending that will make you think and a twist that will create fear within your inner core. As Daniel Blum confronts the truth, remembers the past and creates the future. But how? How far would you go to protect your family and your country? What is the truth behind those that decided to Enfold Him and take away his life? Author Steven Greenberg leaves the reader with many questions that will haunt you after reading this novel. Characters that are so vividly described, a plot that will keep you on the edge and one man whose journey you will definitely want to take. Daniel Blum learns the true meaning of deceit, lies, hate, fear and finally responsibility in this outstanding novel by author Steven Greenberg. Close your eyes. Now open them. What do you see? Can you see?
Fran Lewis: reviewer