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Sufi Women vs. War: A Review of William T. Hathaway's Anti-War Novel, SUMMER SNOW

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Can meditation end war? I don't really think so, but while I was reading SUMMER SNOW, I was convinced it could.

The story is set now amidst the war on terrorism. Jeff Madsen, an ex-Green Beret, is wounded trying to prevent the theft of a nuclear weapon that has been stolen for delivery to al-Qaeda. Cholpon, a Sufi adept, rescues him, and they fall in love. She introduces him to spirituality and restores his will to live. He gives her the kind of romance and sensual fulfillment she's never before known.

Cholpon's Sufi teacher, Djamila, initiates Jeff into meditation, then adds her skills to the search for the bomb. Using dervish dancing and other techniques of higher consciousness, they discover it has been stolen by the local general who was supposedly helping the Americans to find it.

As US Special Forces battle al-Qaeda, the escalating violence threatens their future together and the lives of thousands in the country. To save them, Djamila uses an ancient, nonviolent way to prevent terrorism. But can they make it work in time?

Part thriller, part love story, part spiritual quest, SUMMER SNOW is far different from most books about this current war. It seeks to show that higher consciousness is more powerful than violence and that women may be more able than men to lead us there.

For a skeptic like me, the tale got a bit tendentious, but the lyrical style of the prose made me willing to suspend my disbelief. Although I find the author's premise that groups of meditators can defuse violence to be dubious, he manages to bring it off within the context of the novel.

Hathaway is a Special Forces veteran and spent a year and a half in Central Asia, so the setting and the combat scenes feel true to life. So do the meditation experiences.

SUMMER SNOW is a well-written anti-war novel that gives us an unusual perspective on creating peace. The first chapter is on the Avatar Publications website at
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Jim Travis reads and writes and sometimes works in Massachusetts.
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