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Father of Lions is the powerful true story of the evacuation of the Mosul Zoo, featuring Abu Laith the zookeeper, Simba the lion cub, Lula the bear, and countless others, faithfully depicted by acclaimed, award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan in her trade publishing debut.
Combining a true-to-life narrative of humanity in the wake of war with the heartstring-tugging account of rescued animals, Father of Lions will appeal to audiences of bestsellers like The Zookeeper’s Wife and The Bookseller of Kabul as well as fans of true animal stories such as A Streetcat Named Bob, Marley and Me, and Finding Atticus.
“An unexpectedly funny and moving book. ... Through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty, and why both humans and animals crave freedom.” -- Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis: the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin.
“This is an unexpectedly funny and moving book. You might not expect to laugh when reading about ISIS-held Mosul, but through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty, and why both humans and animals crave freedom.” --Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis: the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin.
“Callaghan knows her way around a war. Her portrayal of a city under siege is many-layered and brilliantly told." -- Sunday Times
“Who could resist a book that starts, “Abu Laith was not the kind of man to let another man insult his lion”? This book sparkles... Against the backdrop of tragedy, it’s an ultimately uplifting story.” --NPR
“When ISIS took over a sprawling park near his home in Mosul, Iraq, Abu Laith was confident he could protect his pregnant wife and their 13 children. . . He wasn’t so sure about the zoo animals. . . But Abu Laith was determined to save them.” --New York Post
"Powerful and equally inspirational. ... Outstanding." --Psychology Today
“An engaging yet heartbreaking narrative that reads like fiction.” --Kirkus Reviews
“Callaghan’s intense story of saving a zoo serves as a human look at life in a war-torn city.” --Publishers Weekly
“Callaghan's first book is a true page-turner.” --School Library Journal, starred review
“Father of Lions is a captivating and timely read.” --The Buzz Magazines