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We Never Knew of Darkness

5 Star Review

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Editorial Book Review:

By Sally Farson

Dennis Snyder's "We Never Knew of Darkness" tells a tragic story set against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide, expertly blending historical accuracy with the pace of a thrilling thriller. The story follows Elijah Mutabazi, a Rwandan Army sergeant whose life is wrecked when the Interahamwe, Hutu extremists, cruelly butcher his sister and begin a genocide on the Tutsi minority.Snyder masterfully depicts the raw emotions and heartbreaking facts of this sad moment in history. Elijah's fight to protect his town, care for his crippled father, and confront the savagery of the Interahamwe serves as the framework for a story that is both heartbreaking and captivating. The author's evocative descriptions and compassionate representation turn the reader into a silent witness to the crimes, producing an emotional rollercoaster from which there is no escape.The narrative takes an unexpected turn as Elijah, disillusioned by the betrayal of the world community, falls into a self-destructive spiral of addiction and despair. Snyder's depiction of Elijah's path through heroin, psychedelics, and booze is both unsettling and brutally honest. The storyline takes a risky detour inside a Burundian jail, where Elijah's journey to sobriety begins, laying the groundwork for the redemption that becomes the story's focal point.

The narrative's intricate layers come to life when Elijah, now on a mission for vengeance, encounters his former mentor and leader, Callixte Mbarushimana. The interaction between past and present, as well as the contrast of light and darkness, create a tense atmosphere that keeps readers turning the pages.

The tale also features Elijah's older brother, Cedric, who fled the horrors of the genocide by migrating to the United States. His return to Rwanda with a group of medical volunteers adds a sense of hope and compassion, showcasing the Rwandan people's resiliency. The moral quandary faced by Elijah, torn between becoming an angel of death and mercy, gives a thought-provoking depth to the story.

Dr. Snyder's rigorous study and attention to detail come through, giving readers a gripping and historically accurate account of the Rwandan genocide. Other readers' praise is well-deserved, as the book smoothly merges fact and fiction, resulting in a riveting tale that explores humanity's greatest and worst elements.

"We Never Knew of Darkness" is a superbly written historical fiction with strong character development, plot suspense, and unexpected turns. It illustrates Rwanda's terrible history and unwavering persistence. For those who enjoy historically accurate thrillers that are tough to put down, Dennis Snyder's novel is a must-read.

About the Author

Dr. Dennis Snyder

Dr. Dennis Snyder is one of the founders of Medical Missions for Children (, a volunteer organization that provides free surgical care to children with severe congenital deformities, neck and facial tumors, and burn injuries. Dr. Snyder led the first medical team to visit Rwanda following the 1994 genocide, setting up an operating room and initiating a small pro bono surgical program in the town of Gitwe. Since that time, MMFC has completed 25 missions at multiple sites in Rwanda.

One hundred percent of the royalties from We Never Knew of Darkness will be donated to MMFC, which carries out over 20 volunteer missions per year in 11 different countries around the world.


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