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Corban Addison
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A Harvest of Thorns: A Novel

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,476 ratings  ·  247 reviews
A beloved American company with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping image—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, h
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Felice Laverne
A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison proved to be the quintessential “crossover” novel (career-wise, not genre-wise). By that I mean that in reading this novel, it is clear that Addison has a background in law, among other things, and that writing was not his first profession. This, in itself, is not a bad thing, and we see it all the time nowadays: novels about painters, journalists, lawyers, etc., written by authors with firsthand experience in the field who caught a fancy for writing somewhe ...more
When a factory burns down in Bangladesh, killing over two hundred people and injuring many more, a young girl's broken body, with a label of a big American brand attached to the garment covering her face hits the international headlines.

The largest retail clothing company is under investor revolt, a citizen protest and media bloodletting. Sales on Black Friday is in danger and company shares drop with each minute the news is spread all over the world by the media who leech from the event as muc
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
A fire breaks out in a shoddy factory in Bangladesh that manufactures clothing. Back in the United States, a media storm is unleashed about the event yielding negative press for Presto Corporation whose labels appear in the photos. We meet Cameron Alexander, general counsel for Presto. Cameron’s job is to now perform damage control over the negative press and launch an investigation of the fire. Cameron needs to ensure that the company has airtight compliance over their global sourcing standards ...more
Susan Johnson
3.5 stars

This is a hard book to review. It tells a compelling story but could have used the hand of a wonderful editor. It is obvious that the author's first profession is not writing but the story is so compelling that it draws you in. It could have been edited by a good 75 pages and should have been. And yet it tells a dirty secret that we all know but prefer not to examine too closely to all of our shame.

The story starts with a horrific fire in a clothing manufacturing factory in Bangladesh
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As far as I can remember, this is the first time I've given a review without finishing a book, but I'm tired of the language and lack of Christian theme. I just can't escape the idea that Christ would want us to avoid language in reads. This genre even holds His name!

Thomas Nelson is an enigma as sometimes they publish tremendous Christian reads. Then other times I don't understand why they publish a book under their name since they are owned by a general fiction company. That is where this book
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is my third Corban Addison novel (I've also read A Walk Across the Sun and The Tears of Dark Water). While I didn't find this novel to be a page turner like the other two, it was incredibly informative and wove interesting story lines about a corporate attorney and a journalist.

The main point of the novel is to bring to light the poor working conditions of those creating clothes in developing countries. While this may not come as a surprise to the reader, the layers of companies or firms th
Margie Jeursen
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite author at present. Have loved every book he has written because he writes on social injustice practices in the world to highlight the plight of these people. . I also love the passion he has for people and that he puts so much time and effort into researching his subjects. This book is about the conditions in lots of factories in the poorer countries where the clothes we buy which are so cheap are made. These people have faces, names, families, souls. Another five stars from me.
Cara Putman
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Harvest of Thorns is a book that will challenge you and make you reconsider American consumerism. The book follows the aftermath of a tragedy at a foreign garment factory. It feels like a John Grisham novel as it takes you from corporate boardrooms to locations around the world and finally into a courtroom. This story is gripping and has truly made me consider the supply chain effect of where our goods come from, but all within a story that I couldn't put down. ...more
I have read all of Corbin Addison's novels and he puts his heart and soul into each one. In this novel he takes us on a journey across the world, tracking a brand of clothing from retailer to distributor to manufacturer to sweatshop factory.
This book opens with a fire in Bangladesh in a sewing factory that is making clothing to be shipped to America.
The writing reads like a non-fiction and it is often very sobering in its content. He is informative too, as I never knew the production of textile
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This begins as a novel about two Friends, Vance and Cameron, who have founded a company which was launched with the promise of “Putting People First”. The company, Presto, now sells much more than clothing, including electronics, etc which are now produced overseas.

The story quickly cuts to a news story which is going viral about a fire in Bangladesh which kills and maims hundreds of workers. The picture splashed across televisions and newspapers shows a girl with a pair of pants tied as a mask
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting well-researched story about globalization and the fashion industry. The characters were very well described here. Writing was mediocre. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.
An exposé of the fashion industry set in USA, Bangladesh and Malaysia and more...

This review first appeared on our blog, where we also talk to Addison about his research for locale:

I first came across Corban Addison when we reviewed The Garden of Burning Sand and A Walk Across the Sun. These novels have stuck with me to this day. Essentially it was the passion and quality of his writing that dug deep. And once again – in this novel – he has taken on a huge
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." - the prophet Amos

"A Harvest of Thorns" is a startling fictional expose of the garment industry from a very primal level, forcing the eye of the consumer to focus on those who will never wear the fashionable clothing they toil to manufacture; in fact, some scarcely have the privilege to exist. Forced to work in deplorable conditions, with little security against the advances of their employers, or barely enough freedoms
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am loath to call this book entertaining because I know how real is the tragedy. This story is challenging and infuriating and frustrating and inspiring and uplifting and heartwarming and ultimately gratifying. Just like the average human being. Which is likely why I identified with and cringed at so many of the emotions this novel elicited in me.

There are clear and important messages here:
All is rarely as it seems, despite how obvious a situation appears to be.
A good man is capable of hiding
Brigid Gallagher
A fire destroys Millenium's garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hundreds of workers perish. A young girl named Sonia lies in the rubble with a pair of children's trousers masking her face. It bears a label of Presto Omnishops Corporation. The press capture her photograph and it goes viral around the globe.
Cameron Alexander is the chief lawyer with Presto and is tasked with launching an internal investigation. It appears that Millenium was on the company's red list, and should not have been man
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Corban Addison can write about social injustices that makes you feel empathetic toward both the victims and the perpetrators. He does an incredible job of giving each person involved a fully formed character.

This particular story talks about a company, similar to Amazon, that uses suppliers around the world to produce their clothes. When a fire breaks out, taking the lives of many workers, the CEO and general counsel are left to figure out what happened so their sales don't do a nosedive.

Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Riveting Story Exposes Abuses in the Fashion Industry

Over two-hundred people are killed in a terrible fire in a clothing factor in Bangladesh. Cameron Alexander, General Council of the Presto Corporation, is upset by the horror of the fire, but when he sees a young girl lying on the ground with a pair of pants covering her face, pants that were destined for Presto stores, he knows there’s trouble ahead.

The pants were being manufactured in a factory that Presto’s supply chain was not supposed
Henk-Jan van der Klis
On November 24, 2012, a fire broke out on the ground floor of the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The eight-story building had no fire escapes, no emergency exits. According to official reports, at least 117 workers perished that night, and over 200 were injured. The way large western brands like Walmart, Zara, Gap, C&A, etc. have their clothes produced and the aftermath of this 2012 fire inspired Corban Addison to develop the novel A Harvest of Thorns.

Presto is the Walmart like m
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my fourth 5 star rating for Addison. His exquisite and compassionate fictionalizations of the great inequities between the privileged and destitute uncover both our pandemic inequalities and the anguish that besets any class, rich or poor, navigating the road of life. Who knows if goodness can truly triumph? But this so well researched work gives us hope. One of the rare reads that moved me to tears. What a great author!!
Katie Shuter Rompala
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A story about tragedy, corruption, and a hope for justice. The author really did their research and it shows. There a few places that felt a little disjointed and I had to read passages over again to try to understand a plot point that seemed to just appear but on the whole it was well laid out and evoked a lot of emotion about the consumer world we all live in.
Deana Dick
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a powerful beginning I knew this book was going to be an emotionally charged story. It is gritty and messy with details that can shock people at times. We know things go on in factories all over the world that are unfair , yet we turn the other way and refuse to address it. That is until the world is stunned by a picture that captures the utter inhumane treatment of workers in a factory far from the United Stated. I loved this book because the author is not afraid to tackle a subject that i ...more
Toni Osborne
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do we really know where and under which conditions our clothes are made? Do we even question ourselves….I admit to simply look at labels to see where it is made and that is the limit of my curiosity till now. After reading Mr. Addison latest novel where he takes us on a journey tracking a brand of clothing across the world I may think twice before purchasing my clothes in the future but again rarely do I see clothes made in my country reasonably priced so what choice do I have?….. Based on real- ...more
Linda Lou
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults/YA
A Harvest of Thorns
by Corban Addison
Rating 4.5..
A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret.
A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption.
A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.
(from the book description)

The story begins in the corporate offices of Presto. From there it hopscotches through Asia and the Middle East leTaving a farflung trail. The chapters are headed by date and location so it is imperative that you pay attention to these chapter headings otherwise you
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this book in a podcast I was listening to on sustainable fashion and it immediately sparked my interest. The book is fiction but Addison’s notes make it clear that the way it depicts the inner workings of the global fashion industry is very much informed by real dynamics and conditions in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Jordan.
Addison’s background in law and journalism is evident in the manner he constructed the storyline and dialogues. While the insightful writing and moral discussions b
Joan Arning
A Harvest of Thorns is a well-written, interesting book dealing with an investigation into garment factories in Bangladesh. The book starts with a fire in a factory in Dhaka where many people are killed or injured including a 14 year old girl who jumps from a window. It will make you think twice about who is sewing the clothing you purchase! I rated A Harvest of Thorns low because I purchased it as a Christian book, published by a Christian publishing company, from a Christian book distributor b ...more
This was quite the exciting story. Corporate intrigue, journalistic investigations, greed, redemption, death, justice, and so many other things all wrapped up into a very nice package. Based loosely on a true court case, we start at the beginning, with a horrible 'accident' that should have never happened.

We follow the investigation of journalist Joshua Griswold as he learns to navigate the tricky waters of several foreign countries. With rules drastically different than the US - bribes, favors
Christina McLain
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a better than average thriller about the dark underbelly of capitalism -in this case the retail world-and the high price paid by many workers in the Third World who endure horrendous conditions so that people in the West can buy clothes at cheap prices. No wonder globalization has its detractors. Reading this book made me want to check where my own clothes come from and lo and behold many were from the very countries where a lack of transparency and real oversight have led to many abuse ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few times when I won't focus on the actual nuts and bolts of an author's writing, and focus on the content. I have to say, I have never really thought much about the clothes I wear, the people who made them or the conditions in which they worked. This book has, if nothing else, opened my eyes to the horrific, inhumane conditions that many of the workers endure, just so I can buy a cheap pair of pants. For that alone, I highly recommend this book to friends and family. ...more
Margaret Mackley
A good insight into the production of cheap clothing for the malls and superstores of the western world. The hidden costs are immense. Although this book is fiction, it is based on the author's investigation into real events similar to the fire described in the first chapter. I found the story kept me absorbed from beginning to end. Now I face the dilemma of where to buy clothing - I think I'll go back to making my own! ...more
I liked the premise of this book but it felt so tedious and was a major chore to read. It took me 7 months of picking it up and putting it back down to finish. I enjoyed this author’s other books and will read future works —but I echo the sentiments of others about the editing or lack of in this book. Had this book been edited more tightly it would have been much better.
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Corban Addison holds degrees in law and engineering from the University of Virginia and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He began to experiment with writing at the age of fifteen, about the same time he developed an interest in international travel. His early works were mostly essays, reflections and travelogues, but his true love was fiction. For eight years he searched f ...more

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