Author Event with Mark Sullivan (All the Glimmering Stars)

  • Where: Shakespeare & Co. 103 S 3rd St W Missoula, Montana
  • When: May 14th, 2024 at 7:00 pm

Shakespeare & Co. is pleased to host a reading by award-winning author Mark Sullivan on Tuesday, May 14, at 7:00 pm. Sullivan will read from his new novel All the Glimmering Stars (Lake Union Publishing, May 2024). This event is free and open to the public.

Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of more than twenty novels, including the #1 Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson. Mark has received numerous awards for his writing, including the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award, and his works have been named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. He grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in English before working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he earned a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and began a career in investigative journalism. An avid skier and adventurer, he lives with his wife in Bozeman, Montana, where he remains grateful for the miracle of every moment.

About All the Glimmering Stars:
All the Glimmering Stars, a heart-wrenching and inspiring new novel from journalist and #1 New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts author Mark Sullivan, is based on the harrowing real-life experiences of two Ugandan teens kidnapped along with some 35,000 others and turned into underage warriors for a messianic warlord. Propelled by shocking and tragic details of what Anthony Opoka and Florence Okori were forced to endure as members of Joseph Kony’s fanatical Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA), Sullivan’s page-turning narrative is also a triumphant love story filled with life-affirming humanity.

Anthony Opoka can run like the wind, routinely beating all of the other boys at footraces in his village. From an early age, his loving father taught him to be a good human and how to always find his way home by reading the stars. When LRA soldiers arrive to steal children from his village, Anthony offers himself to save his younger brother from a dismal fate. He and five hundred others are marched into the mountains and put through grueling tests of endurance, which many will not survive. Anthony witnesses the unimaginable, but through the grace of God, his life is spared when he tries to escape—usually an automatic death sentence. The only way to survive, Anthony comes to realize, is to pretend to embrace the doctrines of Joseph Kony and the LRA while really hating his captors in his heart. His deceit is so convincing that he will rise to become the Great Teacher’s radioman, his navigator by the stars.

Growing up sixty kilometers from Anthony, Florence Okori is a great dreamer, influenced by a mother who believes in the power of love. Barely surviving the measles as a five-year-old, Florence spends months alone with her imagination in the hospital, away from her family. This experience emboldens her and convinces her that she wants to be a nurse when she grows up. She cannot imagine, though, that twisted fate will trap her into becoming a combat nurse for Kony and the LRA.

Halfway through their ten-year ordeal, after Anthony is wounded for the second time in battle, he and Florence meet. They fall in love, and the power of that love allows them to resurrect their humanity to survive. They escape by the stars and then help rescue other child soldiers. Ultimately, Florence and Anthony will bear witness, testifying against Kony’s henchman at the LRA war crimes trial in the Hague.

Mark Sullivan learned of Anthony and Florence’s story from a former squadron commander of SEAL Team 6 and the former CIA chief in Uganda. Believing the tale needed to be shared with the world, he traveled to Uganda in 2021. Over the course of fifteen days, he interviewed Anthony and Florence, who, despite all they had lived through, were “warm, intelligent, gracious, thoughtful, and painfully honest.” Sullivan has taken the raw material of their ordeal and transformed it into an engrossing, faithful, and soaring work of historical fiction.

In an afterword to All the Glimmering Stars, Anthony writes, “It is a story that we hope will be known, not for us, but for every child soldier … to help end the use of child soldiers … [and] to ensure that those who are forced to fight can finally find peace and come home. Through our story, Florence and I have found meaning in the time we spent in the LRA, and we hope to leave the world a better place than we endured.”

If you're giving dry a try this month, Missoula has plenty of spots for mocktails. Check out some of our favorites

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