Broken Angel

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-05-05
  • Publisher: WaterBrook
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Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy. Her destiny is beyond comprehension. Her pursuers long to see her broken. She fights to soar. In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn's existenceand understand her father's betrayal. In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America and his newest book is Fuse of Armageddon. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.

From the Hardcover edition.


We had agreed–the woman I loved and I–that as soon as you were born, we would perform an act of mercy and decency and wrap you in a towel to drown you in a nearby sink of water.

But in the motel room that was our home, the woman I loved died while giving birth. You were a tiny bundle of silent and alert vulnerability and all that remained to remind me of the woman.

I was nearly blind with tears in that lonely motel room. With the selfishness typical of my entire life to that point, I delayed the mercy and decency we had promised you. I used the towel not to wrap and drown you, but to clean and dry you. As I lifted your twisted hands and gently wiped the terrible hunch in the center of your back–where your arms connected to a ridge of bone that pushed against your translucent skin–I heard God speak to me for the first time in my life.

He did not speak in the loud and terrible way as claimed by the preachers of Appalachia where I fled with you. Instead God spoke in the way I believe he most often speaks to humans–through the heart, when circumstances have stripped away our obstinate self-focus.

Holding you in your first moments outside the womb, I was overwhelmed by protective love. Even in the circumstances that you face now, believe that my love has only strengthened since then.

I do not regret the price I paid for my love for you. But I do regret what it has cost you, all your life. And I have never stopped regretting all that I’ve kept hidden from you.

My confession begins with how I deceived you the day after your sixth birthday. You may still believe that we went to the surgeon to help the dove, the one you named Angel.

It was a lie. If only that were the worst of my sins…

In the afternoon of the day after Caitlyn’s sixth birthday, the waiting room had been quiet, without the coughing or groaning found among those down the hall waiting for a general physician. The physician, an Appalachian like them, had determined their ailments were ones to be treated by a sharp scalpel, and he’d sent them here to see the Outside surgeon, who spent a week every month inside the Great Fence.

Standing beside Papa, Caitlyn felt self-conscious among these strangers. She held a small wooden box with her white dove inside, lifting the lid occasionally to whisper encouragement to it, glad to find its black eyes still bright and attentive.

She’d found Angel below a window and had given her care for a week already. Papa had promised Caitlyn that a surgeon might fix the dove’s broken wing, and she had prayed all the way from the collective that God would allow it.

To ease her nervousness, she used her tongue to wiggle a loose tooth back and forth. She had already lost four and was proud that she had learned not to cry at the quick pain that came when Papa helped her pull them loose. She wore the red shoes she’d been given for her birthday but couldn’t fool herself into believing they made her look pretty for these people. She held Papa’s hand for comfort and kept her back pressed against the wall. She wore a loose jacket but still felt as if all these strangers knew that her back was not like the backs of other girls.

Once, before they’d settled at the collective, she and Papa were at a church gathering in a small town along an abandoned railroad, deep in one of Appalachia’s hundreds of valleys. Children had been playing around the adults, who stood in a tight group to discuss the weather and the morning’s sermon. Caitlyn had made friends with another girl who was tiny like her. They wandered among the boys, who were rough and tumble and pushed Caitlyn to the ground. Her new friend helped her up and patted Caitlyn on the back. A question was asked, and Caitlyn began to shed her coat, innocently. Papa ran toward them, shouting.

Excerpted from Broken Angel: A Novel by Sigmund Brouwer
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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