Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo is set in war torn Sudan, a sad sorry place, and Kenya where aid agencies launch what help they can across the border. Caputo is a Pulitzer Prize winner who earned his chops first as a soldier then a reporter in Vietnam. He knows a bit about the shifting vantage of good intentions. It is amazing what people will do, what means they will justify, to achieve their ends. Fitzhugh, a Kenyan, is booted out of one aid agency when he tips the press off to the massive amount of food going to waste, acutely being burned to cinders. He partners with a brash American pilot, Braithwaite, who intends to fly into off limit areas where supplies are desperately needed. Quinette is a born again Christian from America’s heartland working to buy back the slaves taken in raids on the Dinkas. Isn’t there a saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?
— Deon Stonehouse
Philip Caputo’s tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There’s the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can’t help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.
As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry.
About the Author
Philip Caputo worked for nine years for the Chicago Tribune and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his reporting on election fraud in Chicago. He is the author of six other works of fiction and two memoirs, including A Rumor of War, about his service in Vietnam. He divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.
“Devastating. . . . Acts of Faith will be to the era of the Iraq war what Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American became to the Vietnam era. . . . Powerful.” —The New York Times
“Acts of Faith should be required reading. . . . Caputo’s best novel yet.” —The New York Times Book Review
"Philip Caputo's Sudan is a place drawn so real, dust and despair fall from the pages. . . . So beautiful, so awful, so authentic, so wonderful, so hopeless, it grieves the heart." —The Miami Herald
“Destined to be a generation-defining book.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A miracle. . . . You can hardly conceive of a more affecting reading experience.” —Houston Chronicle
"Caputo, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter turned novelist, writes with astonishing authority, launching several complex plot lines and an enormous, vibrant cast of characters -- aid workers, soldiers, militants, mercenaries, missionaries and corrupt officials. The plot threads join in a propulsive, satisfying finish, inevitably inching demon and deity ever closer together." —Michael Ollove, The Baltimore Sun
“Philip Caputo, from Vietnam onwards, has understood the hardest truths of the modern world better than almost anybody. Acts of Faith is a stunningly unflinching novel. On the surface it is set in Africa, but in fact its true landscape is the ravaged soul of the twenty-first century. Philip Caputo is one of the few absolutely essential writers at work today.” —Robert Olen Butler
“In Acts of Faith Philip Caputo has fashioned a gripping cast of characters and placed them in a spellbinding story. You can’t get any better than that.” —Winston Groom
“Caputo’s ambitious adventure novel, set against a backdrop of the Sudanese wars, makes for a dense, riveting update on Graham Greene’s The Quiet American . . . Caputo presents a sharply observed, sweeping portrait, capturing the incestuous world of the aid groups, Sudan’s multiethnic mix, and the decayed milieu of Kenyan society.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Acts of Faith offers an image of Africa deserving comparison with Conrad, Hemingway, Peter Matthiessen, and Jan de Hartog’s forgotten near-masterpiece The Spiral Road.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Philip Caputo is a splendid, muscular story teller who possesses the crucial power to make endearing ordinary men from diverse fragilities and stubborness.” —Gloria Emerson, Los Angeles Times
“For the past twenty years, Caputo has written parables of hubris upbraided, populated by outsiders whose defects lead them into trouble as unerringly as does fate.” —David Haward Bain, New York Times Book Review
“Caputo lets no one and nothing off the hook.” —Richard Bausch, Washington Post Book World
“Caputo takes on most of the hot-button issues of our time–racism, random violence, disempowerment, the decay of social fabric, even the nature of evil itself–and more than lives to tell the tale.” —Roget L. Simon, Los Angeles Times