cover image Dark at the Crossing

Dark at the Crossing

Elliot Ackerman. Knopf, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-101-94737-1

The second novel from Ackerman (Green on Blue) presents a stark and multifaceted portrait of the civil war in Syria. After working as an interpreter for a Special Forces unit during the Iraq War in exchange for five years in America and citizenship for him and his sister, Iraq-born Haris Abadi travels to the Turkish border with Syria in hopes of joining the fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime. But the border is closed. Then his American passport and possessions are stolen, and Haris is forced to remain in Gaziantep, Turkey. There, he finds shelter with Amir and Amir’s wife, Daphne—two Syrian refugees who fled their homeland after their daughter disappeared in a bomb blast that also destroyed their apartment building. The more time Haris spends with the couple, the more he learns about their past—Amir’s former ties to the revolution and Daphne’s fervent belief that their daughter is still alive. Haris’s quest for a cause to believe in takes a deadly turn when Daphne asks him to accompany her to Aleppo in secret to uncover what actually happened to her daughter. Flashbacks to Haris’s experiences during the Iraq War provide context and motive for his restless searching. Ackerman’s station in Istanbul, where he has covered the Syrian civil war since 2013—plus five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan—aptly inform this timely and unsettling novel. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Jan.)