Acts of Faith
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Philip Caputo’s tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There’s the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can’t help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.
As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.
realized, a challenge, one he didn’t feel up to accepting. “Already said what.” She let out a sigh and placed her hands on her cocked hips, and this petulant stance was likewise out of character; it was as if, in this strange new emotional territory, she were reverting to the mannerisms of adolescence. “You are pathetic if you think that we can really can go on flying and working together and pretend nothing’s happened.” “Then we split up. Me and Tony, you with Doug.” “I have no intentions
pick such an inappropriate moment and setting to tell a stranger what you’d withheld from your friends? He thought Douglas had disclosed more about himself than he should have, for all the while, Adid was subjecting the American to his CAT scan gaze, as if he were making exposures of his psychic interior, pinpointing his strengths and weaknesses, the places where he was sound, the places where he was unsound, soft, vulnerable. Douglas too was being sized up. Someone who’d cut his baby teeth in
stick, Michael might have been a director, choreographing a war movie. Doug was the cinematographer, now filming close-ups of the gun crews, now zooming on the attack below. His face shone. He was in hog heaven. Rocket-propelled grenades crashed into the bunkers, dirt and debris flying out from the blasts. Government troops had taken up positions on the berm and were firing down on the attacking SPLA. Several men dropped, but it was difficult to tell if they’d been hit or were taking cover. The
understood my reluctance, you never would have made such a proposal,” Fitzhugh said. “You are asking me to ask the woman I love to betray her friend and become a corporate spy for you.” “My man”—lips arched into their beguiling smile—“it’s not just me. It’s us, the whole company, everything we’ve built together.” “I am not going to do it.” He was both surprised and pleased by his firmness. He was Douglas’s man all right, and in that subservience lay the power to refuse him for the first time.
existed. The smuggling of arms was the one soft spot in Douglas’s otherwise hard business head. Shortly after Quinette’s visit, he asked Fitzhugh to join him on a trip to Kampala, to meet with Ugandan bankers and bureaucrats to sew a new veil replacing the one formerly provided by the defunct Yellowbird. As before, this veil would conceal the gun-running operations not only from the UN and the Kenya government but from Adid as well. Fitzhugh wanted no part of it and declined to go. He had that