The Rebel and the Thief

Blackstone Audio. Nov. 2022. tr. from German by Imogen Taylor. 8:35 hrs. ISBN 9798212032827. $19.99. F
When the pandemic hits, 18-year-old Niri and his family go from living a simple life working for the Benz family to abject poverty. Once a local monastery student, Niri tries to live according to the tenets of Buddhism but soon becomes disillusioned. Rebelling against long-standing beliefs, he concocts a plan to steal from his family’s wealthy former employers. His plan connects him with the Benzs’ daughter Mary, who is moved by his plight and agrees to help. Sendker’s (The Heart Remembers) latest is a beautiful love story that addresses socioeconomic differences, religion, and government, along with the fear of a deadly virus. Vikas Adam skillfully narrates the atmospheric novel, portraying Niri and Mary as they grow from young and innocent adults into modern-day Robin Hoods. As the novel is set in an unnamed Asian country, its themes resonate on a universal level. Although this story reveals the hardships encountered by Niri’s family, Niri’s and Mary’s good deeds provide hope for the future.
VERDICT A lush and evocative novel that may have listeners questioning how far they would go if given a choice to suffer or survive, by any means necessary.
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