Current events in war-torn Syria inspired a Sugar Land woman, Lilas Taha, to write “Shadows of Damascus,” her first novel, published 1/14/2014 by Soul Mate Publishing in New York, and available for download on Amazon.
The story centers on the promise, Adam Wegener, an American soldier serving in Iraq, makes to a Syrian man who saves his life in battle. Five years later, Fadi, the Syrian character in the book who is a member of the opposition movement in his country, calls in the favor when he asks the American veteran, now a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, to take his 21-year-old Syrian sister with him to America until the risk of persecution in her homeland has passed. What follows is a story of danger, intrigue, emotional upheaval, hidden love, and unexpected events.
“Technically,” it’s a romance,” the author explains, “the book is also a story about how the pain and loneliness of different wars impact people’s lives and their futures.” Taha draws on her own experiences living in Damascus and Wisconsin to map the scenes of the book. “It’s fiction,” Taha says, “but the plot is inspired by current events and the struggles survivors of ongoing conflict and war are going through.”
Taha’s roots are spread deep in the Middle East. Her father is from Palestine, her mother from Syria. Taha was born in Kuwait and as a child, spent most summers in Syria. She has been married for 21 years to Saad Saleh, a research engineer at Shell. The couple are parents of a college-age daughter, and a high-school age son, both born in the United States. Taha and her family have been residents of Sugar Land for 19 years.