Under the Cover of Light by Carole Engle Avriett: A Book Review

Imagine leaving your wife and children behind for what you think is a 120 day stint in the Vietnam War.  Then, when you finish your 120 days, you’re assigned 60 more days.  When you are less than three weeks away from finishing the 60 day extension, your plane is shot down and you’re captured by the enemy.  You are a prisoner of war–and you will be for the next 7.5 years.

This is exactly what happens to Colonel Thomas “Jerry” Curtis.  His story is eloquently told in Tyndale’s new book, Under the Cover of Light written by Carole Engle Avriett.

Curtis is imprisoned for 7.5 years in horrible conditions.  He’s tortured, interrogated, and forced into solitary confinement for months on end.  Sometimes he has cell mates, but then conditions are usually cramped.  At one point, Curtis is in a seven foot by nine foot cell with three other men.   He is mostly fed rice with rocks and dead worms in it.  He drops significant weight.  The men are given minimal medical attention.  Curtis has to sleep on a cement bed sometimes without a blanket.  In the winter his cell is freezing; in the summer, it’s sweltering.

Curtis is not allowed to write to his family until he’s been imprisoned for five years.  When he finally gets to see a picture of his children, he weeps.  His son, who was just seven when Curtis left, is now on the verge of being a teenager.

Despite the horror of his conditions, Curtis’ faith is only deepened.  He has nothing but his faith, and he clings to it tightly.  The other men in the prison share his faith, and they encourage one another, even in the most miserable of circumstances.

The men are able to make contact with one another through a special language that they use that relies on a series of taps.  They tap the walls or tap the pipes in their cells.  In this way, they can communicate with one another.

This book is inspiring.  Even after reading this book, I can’t begin to imagine the horror that Curtis went through, yet his faith sustained him.  He had every reason to be bitter, but he wasn’t.  In fact, toward the end of his imprisonment, he and other prisoners created their own school and taught one another.  That is how Curtis became fluent in Spanish.

I highly recommend this book.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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