Thursday 3 October 2013

Book Review: Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour & Marziyeh Amirizadeh

Review by Hazel Barker

Publisher’s Summary

Embark on a chilling journey inside one of the world's darkest and most dangerous places: Evin, the notorious Tehran prison. Here, prisoners are routinely tortured, abused, and violated. Executions are frequent and sudden. But for two women imprisoned for their Christian faith—Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh—this hell on earth was a place of unlikely grace as they reflected God's love and compassion to their fellow prisoners and guards. Against all odds, Evin would become the only church many of them had ever known.

In Captive in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh recount their 259 days in Evin. It's an amazing story of unyielding faith-when denying God would have meant freedom. Of incredible support from strangers around the world who fought for the women's release. And of bringing God's light into one of the world's darkest places-giving hope to those who had lost everything, and showing love to those in despair.

My Review

The book takes readers on a journey into an Iranian prison, giving a haunting description of the horrors and humiliations experienced by women of all ages. Captive in Iran focuses on the personal sufferings of each inmate and shows how the word of God touches them.

What struck me was the writers’ steadfast refusal to hate their persecutors, and the love and kindness they showed to their fellow sufferers. Their rejection of persuasions to compromise their Christian beliefs and their patient proselyting among the prisoners and even their captors is much to be commended.

The idea that many of the inmates were ready and willing to convert to Christianity but held back for fear of torture and death was an eye-opener.

Captive in Iran is a candid account of life in a country where one is not encouraged to speak to God heart-to-heart in one’s own language, where women are beaten and abused by their husbands, and where blood is spilled in the name of God if one converts to Christianity or if one induces another to convert.

The book is a factual account of events and is certainly not an entertaining one. Towards the end, I even found the number of characters and their foreign-sounding names rather confusing.

I recommend Captive in Iran to all those who desire to know something about the treatment of Christians in countries like Iran, and anyone who is enthused with missionary fervour for the conversion of souls to Christ.

What are your thoughts of the book based on this review? Is it likely to appeal to you?

Review by Hazel Barker. My memoir, See No Evil: story of a warchild is under consideration by a publisher, and I am now working on its sequel, Hear No Evil: Speak No Evil.

I have also written two, as yet unpublished, historical novels—The Chocolate Soldier: story of a conchie and The Soprano. Both manuscripts have been edited by a Christian editor recommended by Mary Hawkins. Thank you, Mary. The former is under consideration by a publisher and the latter is in the polishing stages. They both convey the Christian message of faith and perseverance. I can only hope and pray for their publication.


  1. Wow - I may have to read this. It serves as a reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters imprisoned for their faith. Thanks Hazel.

  2. Thanks, Hazel. This is a remarkable book that would have escaped my attention. And, as Catherine says, it is a wonderful reminder.

  3. Thanks, Hazel. This is a remarkable book that would have escaped my attention. And, as Catherine says, it is a wonderful reminder.

  4. Hazel, thanks for your review. It sounds like a powerful and compelling read, especially knowing it's a true story.


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