Anissa of Syria opens by depicting the initial phase of the Syrian Civil War, which ended the safe and comfortable life that Anissa and her family had enjoyed as members of the relatively prosperous Christian minority in Syria.

The uprising known as the “Arab Spring” that swept across the Middle East and North Africa hit Syria in March of 2011. The mostly peaceful protests, which began in Damascus on March 15 and quickly spread throughout the country, were quelled by an increasingly ruthless Syrian regime, and the conflict soon evolved into a brutal civil war.

Most of the Syrian rebels were Sunni Muslims with legitimate grievances against a secular but oppressive state that had been controlled for forty years by the minority Alawite sect. The rebels initially focused their violent attacks on members of the Syrian state but, as the conflict assumed an increasingly sectarian tone, they also targeted the religious minorities that had enjoyed the regime’s protection and privileges.

By the end of 2011, the future of Christians and other religious minorities had grown bleak as religious persecution and violence claimed many lives and forced countless refugees to flee their homes.

In this epic story of survival and love, Anissa’s family is swept away by the harsh winds of history, and she must find a way to survive and help her endangered Christian community.

Here is a free sample from the early chapters of this refugee saga and romance (before Anissa escapes Syria and rebuilds her life as a student in New York City).

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