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on 28 November 2014
This book has everything you could ask for in a really good read. I could not put it down. Corban Addison is a passionate storyteller. Thank you for writing this book.
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on 15 February 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.
It was well researched, and being a lover of all things African I felt Mr Addison's love of Africa pouring off the pages.
Mr Addison seems to have a knack of taking difficult topics and infusing them with his compassion, a good story line and fabulous characters, while still shining the light of awareness of the hardships people go through.
I look forward to reading more of his books.
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on 15 November 2013
***I recieved this book for free under the Goodreads First Reads giveaway scheme in exchange for an honest review.***

I put it off for three maybe four books but I shouldn't have. I was wrong to be disappointed. It is a very good story that carefully, skilfully, and compassionately explores the issues affecting women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, and how the decisions we make as relatively rich westerners, who have access to healthcare, a relatively corruption free justice system (some police officers aside) and education, affect those who have none of these things and a lot less beside.

The story follows a rich young American female, the archetypical 'sploilt brat with a trust fund' trying to do good in the world and help those less fortunate than herself. Except that she doesn't come across as spoilt, or a brat.

The exposition of the justice system in Zambia, the difficulty to achieve convictions, the superstitions that surround medical science as practiced in the west, and the horrors that AIDS and HIV has on societies in Africa are eye-opening, evocative, and effective.

The main character is developed well, others not so much, it is a first person book written in the third. I enjoyed it, it was interesting and informative. The story was good with a great deal of suspense, mystery, and twists that did mean the ending was not a foregone conclusion.

I heartily recommend it and will probably be purchasing Mr Addison's first novel, A Walk Across the Sun, to see if it is just as good, or better.
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on 25 October 2013
Set in Zambia, Corban Addison's book `The Garden of Burning Sand' beautifully captures the ugly legacy of the AIDS epidemic on a society with a complex political, cultural, and economic fabric. Told through Zoe Fleming, a human rights lawyer working in Zambia, the story of a brutal assault of an adolescent girl navigates the many layers of Zambia's social hierarchies.

Granted, the story includes the standard stereotypes of novels set in Africa which perpetuate the danger of a single story for Africa that author Chimamanda Acdichie has rightly pointed out, are often incomplete. The braai chomping expatriate socialist behind brick-walled houses; the hard working medical doctor with no medical facilities about him; the youthful pre-election political thugs roaming the streets threatening the western damsel in distress and of course, the must have corrupt politician manipulating the wheels of justice all make an appearance

To the author's credit however, he goes further than most in developing more complete characters for his African story. The stereotypes are not the only story. The police, politicians, players and prostitutes are weaved in and out of the story in a style that leaves you in no doubt that the author has done his homework. He has gone native with this story and captures the essence of the dichotomies of society in Zambia - the daily struggle of the have-nots' the power and privilege of the haves; the wanton recklessness of those in denial of the HIV virus; and the faith of those working towards an HIV-free generation.

The books true genius, however, is the author's ability to humanize the AIDS epidemic. To put faces to the horrible myths that sex with virgins offers a cure for aids; to walk you through the daily decisions of a prostitute providing for her family and extended family; to challenge the reader to face up to the reality of different standards of justice for the privileged and the wretched in society. For the average Zambian, it will be hard to read this story without recognizing one if not more characters in this story as people that you know. People that you have either loved loathed or lost. This is a real story of us.

The realism of the book is further grounded in its reference to the 2011 elections in Zambia, and the 2012 elections in the United States. Both elections give the book a specific period of reference that draws the reader to the national and global relevance of this story. Policies and politics matter. They matter for a little girl that was raped on a dark evening in Lusaka. As you join Zoe in unlocking the mystery of where she came from and whether the attack was a random street crime or a premeditated act performed by someone who knew her, you will ask yourself if we are doing all we can to help the helpless.
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on 22 September 2014
FIRST, a complaint: this book’s got the wrong cover. With that typeface and florally stuff along the top it looks for all the world like a chunk of holiday-read chick-lit. But it isn’t. It’s a solid piece of suspense writing set in Zambia and churning with human issues we’d struggle to get our heads round in our damp and cosy island.

A poor little rich kid Yank lawyer teams up in more ways than one with a local cop to find out how and why a young girl is assaulted and battered. A straightforward crime investigation, you’d think, but this is Zambia and things don’t pan out the way they might elsewhere. In a country where AIDS has taken a huge toll, there’s a culture clash between science and myth. Politics is dangerous and corrupt. Poverty is rife, but so is obscene wealth. And there are serious class issues, too, not to mention an alarming level of casual, lethal violence.

Zoe Fleming has to negotiate all this, and as she works through the case we get to see the roulette-wheel life of prostitutes, the acceptance of inequalites and the ever present threat of death from all manner of causes we’d have to struggle to imagine.

A gripping, emotional, educational eye-opener. With the wrong cover.
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The Garden Of Burning Sand by Corban Addison is my favourite novel of the year so far… and I so very nearly didn’t read it. Initially I thought it was going to be too heavy for my tastes, but I am so pleased I dipped into this book because it reinforced my conviction that to do nothing is failure, whereas to do something, no matter how little, is success.

I have already posted this review on [...]
The Garden of Burning Sand is a Legal Thriller set in Lusaka, Zambia.

Apart from having a beautiful title and enthralling plot, it gets to the heart of child abuse and the importance of humanitarian aid and individuals being proactive in the struggle to protect these children. It is compulsive reading and Addison very definitely pulls you along with very little coaxing as the story unfolds and takes us from Lusaka to the countryside and the past. He paints two pictures of Zambia; Firstly, of this beautiful country of extremes and people with heart, and secondly of a country trying to claw itself away from an AID/HIV epidemic, corrupt and ineffectual justice system and those who suffer most- the orphaned children.

Zoe Fleming is a human right’s lawyer working to prosecute those guilty of Child Abuse. Joseph Kabuta is in the Zambian Police Force and working to the same ends as Zoe. When a young orphaned girl with Downs Syndrome is brutally raped and dumped, Zoe and Joseph are determined to find and prosecute the rapist.

In Zambian law they must prove the girl is legally a child before they can prosecute the rapist. This leads to a double pronged investigation which takes them from Lusaka and into the country to trace the girl’s family and her journey to the capital city, as well tracing the Rapist from the meagre clues available.
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on 8 June 2014
Zoe Flemming is a highly regarded attorney who has made a life for herself in Zambia. She is sent to investigate a horrific crime. A young girl with Downs Syndrome is raped and left for death in the slums of Lusaka.

I had read A Walk Across the Sun a few years ago so I was really looking forward to getting into this.

Zoe joins forces with Joseph Kambuta to help solve this case. She ends up relying heavy on Joseph as the locals do not appreciate this white woman intruding on their lives and asking personal questions. It's clear from the beginning that very few people are going to trust her.

A huge chunk of the books is dedicated to Zoe and Joseph tracking down any leads they find in order to solve the case. They begin to realize that this goes higher than any of them ever expected. They are stalked constantly and several threats are made on they're lives. They start to see that this case will not be straight forward as they piece together parts of the puzzle from Kuyeya's mother's Diary and witness accounts. Influential people are involved who just want this to "go away", no matter what.

I was horrified to learn that they had to fight hard to get DNA evidence admissible in court. At the time Zambian law saw collecting DNA for evidence as an intrusion on human rights! ......jesus. Also it was a huge issue to find funding and a lab to process the DNA.

Here in Europe we take so much of this for granted. We watch crime shows where processing DNA is shown to be as simple as popping to the local shop for bread and milk. We really take these things for granted.

On the whole I really enjoyed Garden of Burning Sand but I felt the developing realtionship between Zoe a Joseph a little pointless. It didn't really add anything to the story for me. It was more than a distraction.
Other than that it was a very satisfying read which I'd recommend to crime and courtroom drama fans
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on 30 January 2015
I really enjoyed it!!!
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on 21 June 2014
I couldn't help being tied in knots reading this novel although a work of fiction it was inspired by real issues and offered an authentic glimpse into the horrifying world of child sexual assault in the sub-Saharan Africa. This is actually of story of good people struggling to do right in this world.

This novel is a page turner and weaves together romance, family and human rights issues. While exploring a wide range of pressing world topics including the treatment of women in Africa Mr. Addison's poignant novel takes us from the red light areas of Lusaka, Zambia, to the luxurious rooms of Washington D.C. high ups and to the splendor of Victoria Falls.

"The Garden of Burning Sand" follows the progress in the rape of a young girl with Down's syndrome and the involvement of human rights lawyer Zoe Fleming who is determined to bring the case to justice. The action is firmly centered on Zoe and is told through her eyes. The plot is well-paced and provides some tension as she teams up with Joseph Zabuta. At every turn the two are thwarted of their investigation and they soon realize the criminals they seek are more corrupt and powerful than they thought. This book is also a riveting mystery.

This story is timely, topical and well- researched and embraces the full sweep of human experience. It deals bluntly with rape, AIDS, superstition and poverty. Zoe is an appealing character. Her interracial romance with Joseph is well handled as is the treatment of his positive HIV status. The story is well- done in setting, dialogues and action.
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on 18 October 2013
This is the second of Corbin,s books that I have read. I enjoyed every page and didn't,t want it to end. Can't wait for his next book.
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