“The Noble Path” by Peter May is the reissue of a novel written nearly thirty years ago, and it is just as compelling today as it was then. The primary setting is war torn Cambodia, 1978, under the Khmer Rouge. The three main story lines are complex and tragic with compelling and interesting characters. A woman searches for the absent father, long thought to be dead. A family is abandoned in the midst of war and chaos; years later the father who escaped seeks to be reunited with them. A mercenary conducts the search, a black ops specialist, a gun for hire, paid assassin; he does it for the money. He is the fixer who weaves in and out of the other stories.
The characters tell the same stories but from different perspectives. This provides an overall look at the action, and allows readers to observe how characters deal with the multitude of complex situations in which they find themselves. Raw emotions run just under the surface, resentment, bitterness, revenge, vindication, compassion, resolve to survive, understanding, and forgiveness.
May’s writing has exceptional depth and detail. This story is current, and compelling, and the descriptive language is without equal. The food, the geography, and the people make the story come alive for readers.
“The Noble Path” is about people, their hopes, dreams, disappointments, and tragedies. I was given a review copy by Peter May, Quercus Books, and Riverrun Books. It is thought provoking, tragically realistic, and violent. It is not for sensitive readers, but it does make readers think about life, death and war. Many talk about the innocent victims of war, but perhaps the real victims are the ones who survive it.