Dr. Larson Kerr Farid has one goal in life: to minister to the health of the southern peoples of Sudan beside her husband, Paul. That isn't easy with Paul's family offering a bounty for him, dead or alive. Because of the dangers in their ministry, Paul and Larson have determined never to have a family. However, morning sickness hits, and Larson is scared to tell Paul.
After escaping an attack on his life in a remote village, Paul realizes that someone has been passing information about his whereabouts to the enemy. A converted Muslim aristocrat from northern Sudan, he flies food and medicine, often bought with his own money, to the tribes of southern Sudan. His brother, Nizam, who was close to him while growing up, has obtained his phone number and is making overtures to meet him. Seemingly, Nizam has become interested in Christianity. Has he? Or is he behind the attacks on Paul's life like the one in the village? He passes the information of the attack to their friend, Colonel Ben Alier, who admits that somewhere in his command territory hides a mole.
Ben, still in love with Larson, is wounded and requires surgery in Nairobi, Kenya. While there, doctors discover that he has bone cancer. It explains the agony that he experiences so often in his back. It also makes him think of the son he fathered illegitimately years before and of the boy's mother he abandoned, unmarried, to care for that son. He determines in the few months he has left to train his successor, to be a father to his son, and to unearth the mole who has been betraying them. However, he continues to reject the God of his parents.
As calls continue from Nizam, uncannily close attacks occur on Larson, Paul, and Ben. If they cannot discover the spy soon, Ben may not have to worry about dying of cancer, nor Larson and Paul think about integrating their ministry with raising children. Time is running out.
Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, takes the reader into war-torn Sudan, including the Darfur region, in a tale of suspense, intrigue, and betrayal. Her characters display unique strengths and weaknesses in a nation rent by racism and religious warfare. She shows the poverty, courage, and fear of the victims of the Islamic attacks without attacking Islam itself. She introduces some of the customs of the Dinka, Ben Alier's tribe.
The motivations she ascribes to her characters purvey their struggles realistically and ask questions those of us in normal settings deal with in less dramatic circumstances. Where is the balance between your duties to provide for and protect your family, and witnessing to the lost? How do you handle having a family and a ministry? How do you overcome guilt and move forward?
Though the struggle at the climax is not foreshadowed as strongly as it could be, suspense readers will enjoy the story. Mills has done a great job with the question of Nizam's motivation and of covering up the mole. Those questions drive the reader forward. Even the revelation of the mole is handled well. However, the climax goes by almost too quickly, almost as a deus ex machina, the old theatric technique of having a god come down out of the machinery to save the hero and set everything aright. The difficulties in showing God's delivery of his people in Christian fiction is balancing the glory of God's dealings and making them also believable. As such, the end of When the Nile Runs Red doesn't work as well as it could.
Mills has done an excellent job incorporating the back story (the characters' histories) into the story. If they missed the previous story, When the Lion Roars, readers may wish to read that one first. As a side note, readers may not realize that the Nile originates in Sudan, which explains the title. Mills tells a moving, suspenseful story and opens up the whole Darfur/Sudan situation for the average Christian reader. It's a story worth reading about a situation we need to know. – Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Paul Farid was once a member of the royal family who openly persecuted any Sudanese who failed to practice Islam. Now he’s a Christian who puts his life on the line to aid the persecuted Sudanese. His wife, Larson, is a doctor committed to giving her life for peace. Colonel Ben Alier has fought for twenty-one years against the government’s mandates to control the oil, religion, slavery, and politics of Sudan. He neither trusts nor rests any hope in the newly formed government. Ben’s health deteriorates while Larson finds out she is going to have a baby. Their worlds collide, and as the relational tensions escalate so does the physical danger.