- Expected Jan 14, 2020
Father of Lions is the powerful true story of the evacuation of the Mosul Zoo, featuring Abu Laith the zookeeper, Simba the lion cub, Lula the bear, and countless others, faithfully depicted by acclaimed, award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan in her trade publishing debut.
Combining a true-to-life narrative of humanity in the wake of war with the heartstring-tugging account of rescued animals, Father of Lions will appeal to audiences of bestsellers like The Zookeeper’s Wife and The Bookseller of Kabul as well as fans of true animal stories such as A Streetcat Named Bob, Marley and Me, and Finding Atticus.
“An unexpectedly funny and moving book. ... Through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty, and why both humans and animals crave freedom.” -- Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis: the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Callaghan, Middle East correspondent for The Sunday Times, exposes the perils of life under ISIS for both humans and animals. In June 2014, the Islamic State, heavily undermanned but full of "religious bloodlust," attacked the government forces in Mosul, Iraq, forcing them to abandon the city. Callaghan details how the residents of Mosul fought to keep themselves alive during the two-and-a-half-year siege, among them Abu Laith, known as the Father of Lions, a larger-than-life mechanic with a brood of kids and fiery wife. Laith acts as caretaker for the Mosul Zoo, home of his own lion, Zombie, which he raised from a cub. While hiding from the insurgents, Laith tries to keep the animals from starving with the help of a young, shiftless man named Marwan. The narrative takes time to build, but Callaghan creates a detailed and nuanced account of life in an ISIS-controlled corner of Iraq. The well-researched narrative builds a powerful finale after Mosul has been liberated and an Indiana Jones like Egyptian veterinarian named Dr. Amir takes an interest in the zoo. Callaghan's intense story of saving a zoo serves as a human look at life in a war-torn city.