John D Balian • Reviews and Praise


Reviews And Praise

Reviews and Praise

“Dickensian! An Inspiring Tale! This is a sparkling read, Dickensian in tone. Hanna's courage and spirit in battling through his difficult life strongly reminds one of Pip in "Great Expectations", with overtones of “Nicholas Nickleby” and “David Copperfield.” His coming-of-age plays out in a tumultuous world entangled in ancient religious and political conflicts still being fought and, in some cases, with no quarter given. This story is part thriller, part mystery, all drama, fast paced, occasionally careening wildly along then ending with a satisfying conclusion.

…Although set in the nineteen sixties and seventies it is a timeless tale of human nature. There are vivid, memorable descriptions of place, rich in detail. The characters are complicated, strong and sometimes unpredictable, locked in a struggle between good and evil played out in a world with a palpable, daily sense of one's history and Faith. Their culture and their Church infuse their lives and the story. Those who have gone before are close in spirit to inspire.

Hanna's courage enables his survival, manfully facing a crucible of adversity and adversaries, which forge him into an honorable young man. He maintains his "honor bright" by ultimately being true to himself and to what is right. Many of his struggles make one think what it must have been like for a young Jewish boy in Occupied France early in World War Two….

One cares desperately about Hanna and his family and friends and wants it all be well for them, but it seems impossible that it will ever happen. When it is all over one immediately starts to wonder: what happened next? Putting the book down one simultaneously longs for the movie and the sequel.”
- Victor Lawrence, MD

“Gripping Thriller and Masterful Storytelling, Dr. Balian demonstrates a remarkable ability to weave together historical detail with heart rending emotion….History…ever present, never forgotten and always available to inflame passions and incite violence. And throughout, the pace compels the reader onward, increasing in intensity as the story advances….Characters arise fully realized and as complete as anyone found in a Dickens novel.”
- Robert W KalisonD

“(Gray Wolves and White Doves) offers the depth and richness of classic literature: it conjures a spectrum of emotions while addressing fundamental human experiences in all their daunting complexity….The tale of young Jonah's epic escape from the pervasive dangers surrounding him is inspiring. His courage and conviction recall those of Nicholas Gage's 'Eleni'.”
- Chris Rael, Writer

“A ‘can't put it down’ adventure/thriller which rivals Billy Hayes's incredible escape from the "gray wolves" in the Academy Award winning 1978 "Midnight Express". (This story is) a journey that takes a child to manhood packed with experiences that could only be had in a hundred lifetimes. Upon finishing this book one can only hope for two things; first, like that of Midnight Express, this story gets told in the theatres and second, there is a sequel in the works….We may have uncovered the next Grisham, Patterson and DeMille!”
- Craig Barrila

"A masterpiece for the ages!”
- Jethro Ekuta, DVM

“The only word to describe Gray Wolves and White Doves is "amazing." I can say it is one of the best books I have read in the last ten years. I include this book in the company of Nicolas Gage's classic book Eleni.”
- Corey A Holstrom

“Kite Runner-esque thriller.”
- Dan Strauss

“A gripping tale about a far-too-often neglected chapter of history…within the broader conflicts that fester in the Middle East…The book not only shed light on this at once fascinating and tragic history, but did so in a way that interwove common human dilemmas we can all relate to - how to define one's identity in a very complex world, how one should manifest this identity, how to manage the transition from childhood innocence to assuming heavy responsibility for oneself and others. With a poignant, fast-moving storyline that takes the reader from the mountains of Anatolia and the bazaars of Istanbul to the churches of Jerusalem and Cold War Berlin, this novel immediately captured the undivided attention of both myself and my parents the moment it began.”
- Lujia Lin,College Student

“Amazing Book - A Must Read! ...once I started reading the first chapter - could not put the book down! Definitely "movie ready"! If you liked “The Da Vinci Code” - you will LOVE this book! It is now on the short list of must read for my high school students!”
- June D McIntyre, High School Teacher

“It is rare to lay one's hands on a work of fiction that is so rich…that captures so many of life's important lessons and that educates and informs in such an apparently effortless way. The story weaves a rich tapestry. Historical, ethnic, religious, geopolitical and cultural threads all come together with profound impact to create a vivid and hard to forget image of a child who is destined to defy overwhelming odds. A potent personal cocktail of smarts, tenacity, opportunism, risk taking, an unerring sense of justice and a precocious worldliness, topped with a little luck but oodles of charm, come together to secure the outcome we hope for. Jonah's journey should help many of us put our own life's challenges into perspective. The message it left me with was clear-believe in yourself.”
- David Boyko, MD, Senior Executive