Tricia Goyer’s Valley of Betrayal

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For reasons beyond her control, Sophie finds herself alone in the wartorn Spanish countryside. What was once a thriving paradise has become a battleground for fascist soldiers and Spanish patriots. She is caught up in the escalating events when
the route to safety is blocked and fighting surrounds her. On her darkest night,
Sophie takes refuge with a brigade of international
compatriots. Among these
volunteers, she pledges to make the plight of the Spanish people known
around the world through the power of art.

Well, anyone who knows me also knows that I am a HUGE fan of Tricia Goyer‘s. I find her to be an amazing woman–friend, wife, mother, homeschooler, writer, minister… Being a homeschool mom myself, I’m absolutely intrigued that she can manage all these tasks. Impressed, really. Anyway, enough rambling…on to Valley of Betrayal.

It came in the mail today. I grinned shamelessly, but set it aside to read on my vacation a week later. An hour later, I walked past the book–and it snagged me. I picked it up, thumbed through it, read the back cover copy…again. Stared at the cover. Took it with me upstairs.

That was my first mistake. Before I realized what happened, I’d read three chapters. I was supposed to be working on things for a contest and preparing for our vacation. But that’s what’s so amazing about Tricia’s writing. She makes you care. The worlds and characters she creates pull on your heart like 12 Gs!! You can’t stop reading–more than that–you don’t WANT to. 😀

Get sucked in like I did. Read the first chapter HERE!

The Story Behind the Novel:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.

Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.

Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.

During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.

Tricia Goyer, October 2006

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