Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls

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The novel begins in 1994 when Dr. Han Thieu, a Vietnamese-Canadian doctortries to spare her family the trauma of her drawn-out death from cancer. It then flashes back to 1975 when the communist forces in Cambodia and SouthVietnam take power, changing irrevocably the lives of Han's family in Saigonand that of an eight-year-old boy, Quan Phoc, in Phnom Penh. When Saigon falls, the Thieu family attempt unsuccessfully to flee Vietnam andare imprisoned by the victorious communist forces. The Khmer Rouge exile Quan’s family to a collective farm. Three years later, Quan and sister, Hue, noworphans are liberated from the farm when the Vietnamese army invades Cambodia. In Saigon, Han saves the life of a patient, who turns out to be ahi-level communist official. The official frees Han’s huband, Voang, from prison and helps the family escape. In Pulau Bidong refugee camp in Malaysia, the Thieu family meet and adoptQuan and Hue. When Quan is forced to kill a drunken camp guard to save thelives of Hue and Han's daughter, Minh Chau, his chances for re-settlement withthe Thieus in Canada are dashed. Mathieu Hibou, a university student, helps the Thieu family integrate into Canadian society. The Thieus still hope in vain that the Quan and Hue will join them, but Quan must again defend his sister against a sexual predator. Quan andHue flee Pulau Bidong for Bangkok where he joins a drug-smuggling Triad tosurvive. When the Triad sends Quan to Canada, the Thieus convince him to abandon his life of crime. At this point, you are a third of the way through the plot. If you like what youhave read so far, I hope that you will order of a copy. It really is a very good read.

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