Surgeon Frank Lambert is suffering from PTSD, volunteering to serve in one danger zone after another to escape the emptiness of his life and soul.
Sent to disintegrating, civil war-ridden Yugoslavia, Frank is stationed at a United Nations health mission serving the medical needs of ravaged locals. What he discovers is a stream of young women, Christian and Moslem, seeking his help to eradicate the results of ethnic cleansing.
The mission holds secrets. Colonel Richter, mission commander, has his own ideas of running a good operation; Father John, the chaplain, has a dark secret he cannot escape; even the cooking staff are conflicted in their loyalties. But UN Liaison Hradich is the most enigmatic. And the young women keep streaming into the mission, seeking abortions, threatening to overwhelm Frank. Only Gwen Pakin, a nurse with her own demons from a prior campaign, is able to understand Frank’s turmoil.
Evacuation is the only choice as the casualties mount, the roads are mined, supplies dwindle, and the sound of bombs approach. Loyalties fray, mistakes are made, and Frank has to make the final decision as helicopters come in single file to take the survivors out.
Click on this link to listen to Klaus Jakelski discuss his book Relief on CBC radio: Relief – the interview