book review

Book Review: Prince Undercover

PRINCE UNDERCOVER by Ashraf Habbak is grounded, yet thrilling—a passionate action/adventure novel. Check out what Audrey Davis has to say about this Archway Publishing novel.

Book Review: Prince Undercover

Reviewed by Audrey Davis

Grounded, yet thrilling—a passionate action-adventure novel

Prince Undercover tells the story of Mansour, a man of royal blood tasked with going undercover for crown and country, as he advocates for justice from tyranny and persecution. 

A devout Muslim, Mansour does everything in his power to live by his beliefs, always trying to help his family and others any way he can. When he is asked to become a “spy” of sorts, to hide his royal identity, to assess the political system and inner-workings of his country, he takes his civil engineer job very seriously. Mansour learns the hard way that if corruption comes from the top of the chain, it is a lot harder to combat—but with dedication and faith your goals can be a lot more achievable. 

Mansour firmly believes that “life is about becoming a better person.” His belief of trying to make the world a better place for everyone is what drives him to go undercover in his own country, so he can “observe [day to day life] from a far more honest perspective” of someone who doesn’t have royal access and privileges everywhere. 

To his dismay, he finds that things are not at all like the smooth-sailing system he is used to in Arlandica, but rather subject to politicians legislating what’s most beneficial to themselves and corporations looking to maximize profits. His evidence against the king in question is solid—if he can make it to assistance before they can catch him.

Prince Undercover does well in skipping around Mansour’s timeline. The reader is presented with a fast-paced action chapter/scene, which is then juxtaposed with a slower scene of backstory. It allows us to see what choices Mansour makes and why, but also the effects of those choices. This works well to emphasize the fast-paced scenes. 

I also really liked the author’s incorporation of Muslim culture and values. Daily prayer is an incorporated part of the characters’ lives as are readings and lectures of the Qur’an, but unfortunately, so is persecution from non-Muslims. Mansour is disheartened by the violence he witnesses, from attacks, to graffiti, to casual micro-aggressions that just “slip out” from his coworkers.

I recommend Prince Undercover to those looking for something introspective with a little bit of action. Mansour’s reflections from reading the Qur’an are insightful and meaningful. Being inspired by true events gives this book the bit of personality it needs to keep the pages turning. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and this novel does a great job of displaying this. Mansour’s admirable quest for integrity propels him through his conflicts in his beliefs and personal relationships, and the reader is able to fully grasp his conviction that “every person has their own struggle, their own unique style and character, and there is nothing wrong with that […] Allah doesn’t judge us for failing, He judges us for the attempt.”

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Genre: General Fiction / Action & Adventure Fiction

Print Length: 296 pages

ISBN: 978-1665712392

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