Sri Lanka through Sri Lankan eyes

Sri Lanka’s full spectrum of colours and depth are fused into Sacred Tears – the first book in a trilogy by Roderic Grigson

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Sacred Tears Book

Sacred Tears Book Cover

1982 and Sami is far from home, trapped in war-torn Beirut, a city under siege by the Israelis.  All he wants is to go home to his family in Sri Lanka but in order to stay alive he must learn to kill.

David, a captain in the Sri Lankan army, is sent to the steamy jungles in the north of the country as punishment for an indiscretion and is thrown into the brutal insurrection by militant separatist Tamil Tigers.

As civil war erupts in Sri Lanka and tears this once peaceful nation apart, David’s love, the beautiful Priyani, makes a difficult choice and the paths of these two men cross on opposing sides of the struggle.  They must plumb the depths of their courage and question their beliefs about right and wrong.

Sacred Tears, the first in a trilogy, is a powerful and evocative depiction of Sri Lanka’s great beauty and recent tumultuous history.  It will take you inside the story of this ancient nation and into the heart of a gripping human struggle.

Roderic Grigson

Roderic Grigson

Roderic Grigson was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and lived there until he was twenty-one. Rod’s family were Burghers, descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonials who ruled the island nation for 450 years. His Scottish grandfather worked for the British before independence and was responsible for managing all Government-owned guest houses in the country.

Rod felt he had no prospects in a country which had become a socialist state run by Sinhalese Nationalists. With the help of a distant cousin, he left Sri Lanka and with ten dollars in his pocket entered the United States on a tourist visa. In New York he obtained a short term job at the United Nations Headquarters, processing documents on the night shift for the Annual General Assembly Conference. Later, with his visa about to expire, was offered a permanent job in the UN Department of Conference Services, where he worked for the next twelve years.

After studying at New York University he joined the UN Technological Innovations team developing French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese language programs on computers and implementing office information systems in UN offices around the world. For a two-year period in the late 1970s he volunteered to join the UN Peacekeeping Forces serving on the Suez Canal during the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty and in South Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.

Soon after returning to New York from the Middle East, Rod met and married a Tamil girl from Jaffna who worked for the UN Conference on Trade and Development. In the late 1980s Rod and Menaka left their jobs at the UN in New York to migrate to Australia. The year they arrived in Melbourne, they bought a home in a leafy south-eastern suburb of Melbourne where their son Eric was born and where they still live.

Sacred Tears is a work of fiction based on real characters and events in the land of my birth. Set in both Lebanon and Sri Lanka, the story follows the recent ethnic conflict in a country rich in history, culture and natural beauty. It follows the lives of two young men – a Moor and a Burgher (the two smallest ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka) – and the effect of the country’s civil war on their family and community.

From Sri Lanka to UNEF Sinai

Author and ex-UN Peacekeeper in Sinai

While I was working for the United Nations in New York for over 12 years, in the late seventies I served two years as a volunteer with the UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Middle East. I was inspired to write the novel as a result of experiencing some of the events I have written about and meeting and talking to people who were affected by the conflict.

Just before I left the Middle East in 1979 to go back to New York, I met a number of young Sri Lankan men training with the PLO in camps across South Lebanon. The civil war in Sri Lanka would not begin for a few more years and with no outward sign of unrest in the country I was intrigued by their presence in the camps. One youth in particular, a Sri Lankan Moor from Colombo, had an interesting story to tell about how he ended up with the PLO in Lebanon.

His story forms the basis of Sacred Tears and I have expanded it to cover his return to Sri Lanka. Having witnessed the horrors of the Lebanese civil war when I was with the UN, I have combined those experiences with this young man’s journey in Lebanon and what may have happened to him on his return to his own country.

Introduced to reading at a very young age by my Scottish grandfather, I have always wanted to write a book of my own but never found the time. When an opportunity arose in 2012 to give up my corporate habit and concentrate on writing full time I grabbed it with both hands. I started writing this version of the book just before August 2012 and completed it in June 2013, almost eleven months later. Sacred Tears was published in October 2013.

Sacred Tears Video and Book Launch Photos

Barefoot, Sri Lanka, Sacred Tears, Colombo, Ceylon

Book launch at BAREFOOT CEYLON

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