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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  336 reviews
Blending fact and fiction, Colombiano is a heart-thumping journey into the violent and unpredictable world of post-Escobar Colombia.

For four years Rusty Young, author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, worked secretly for the US government in Colombia. During this time he was shocked by the stories of child soldiers he encountered. He vowed that one day he
Kindle Edition, 813 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Havelock & Baker (first published August 1st 2017)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  1,021 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wow! What a powerful story this is, depicting as it does the conflict between the army and opposing Guerrilla groups in Colombia, and in particular it features the child soldiers who were either forced into joining these groups or had very good reason for committing their lives to such a violent cause. Though fictional, author Rusty Young’s Colombiano is based on interviews that he conducted with child soldiers, and he draws on his own life experiences too, having worked undercover for the
Kylie D
A powerful novel, set in Colombia, reliving the conflict of army vs guerilla vs drug lords, etc. You get the drift. It follows two and a half years of the life of child soldier Pedro, who is forced to watch the murder of his father at the hands of guerillas on his family farm, then, wracked with guilt, he enlists with terrorist organisation the Autodefencas to fight the guerillas when he is only fifteen.

We follow Pedro and his best friend Palillo as they go through their training, and start to
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that's packed with a real right-hook. I expected a documentary-style book outlining the research and feedback Rusty Young had gathered from the many interviews and investigations he had undertaken in the region, especially with the real-life Child Soldiers. Not the case!

Colombiano is a novel styled book which is cleverly written, it is engrossing and absorbing with shocking revelations. The story is based on a fictional character, Pedro (probably an amalgamation of several people
Elyse  Walters
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating from start to finish!
“The war was like a slow burning campfire onto which both sides occasionally threw wood. And that’s probably the way it would’ve continued, if not for the arrival of the
Autodefensas”. ( United Self-Defenders of Colombia).

The campaign against organize crime in Columbia, has caused a violent response, increasing vulnerability of the civilian population due to the skirmishes between the organizations and the federal forces.

Author Rusty Young, Australian born, was
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Gritty, Raw, Powerful, Captivating, Thought provoking and gut wrenching.

What happens when you really don't have a choice? What happens when choices are made for you? What happens when your life changes in an instant? What happens when you make a simple decision and it changes your life and outlook.

Pedro Gutiérrez is a happy teenager living in Columbia. He spends his days going to school, fishing, spending time with his best friend, Palillo and his girlfriend, Camilla. His world instantly changes
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great big book.


Is it a great-big book or a great big-book? That's debatable.

Despite the short chapters, it still reads like a great-big book which makes for a less than great big-book.

For me to really enjoy a great-big book I need to connect with the characters on a cellular level. I felt no investment in Pedro and his plight to avenge his father's murder and that disconnect lies solely in the lap of the authors inability to humanize this young character.

This is a fascinating
Ujjawal Sureka
Genre: Biography, War, Terrorism, Violence, Morality.
Publication Date: August 2017

The book is captivating at first glance. The terrorist atmosphere of Columbia has always been fascinating, with people(children and adult alike) being at constant warfare and fighting to live another day.

The strory revolves around the lead, Pedro Gutierrez, an innocent child, who's happy and fun life is turned 180 when his religious and peace loving father is killed by a group of terrorists. In the immediate fit
This book was so far out of my comfort zone that I wasn't sure I should read it, but I'm so very glad I did. The author, Rusty Young, did an excellent job of making the character, Pedro, someone I cared about. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Pedro, his friends, family, and the other people in his life.

Until I read this book, then watched some videos and read other material, I had very little understanding about the massive use of children to fight civil wars in Columbia. This story
Sara Rebotim
I would like to thank Haverlock & Baker Publishing, and the author - Rusty Young, for the opportunity to review this title

I have given the book a rating of 3 stars. I was very excited and couldn't wait to start reading, but unfortunately.... it's not my style of genre.

I felt the book focused too much on describing character backstories and less time focusing on keeping the story interesting for the reader.
leslie hamod
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic journey through a young man's p!an for vengeance and how far he is willing to go.
I thought these stories were more remote than likely until a graduate thesis and much research taught me quite the opposite is true. A young man, actually a child, resorts to violence in retribution as a balance of justice. But how far must he decend to achieve his goal?
Many children are trained as soldiers, taught to use weapons and taught hate at a very ear!y age.
They are used as pawns in a dangerous game
Colombiano is an account of the horrific violence endured by the citizens of Colombia in their decades old civil war fought between the government and the socialist terrorist organization FARC. There are paramilitary groups also involved who are supposedly on the side of the government, but are really just another set of terrorists, as illustrated by this novel.

A young boy named Pedro is the main character, who having watched his father be executed by FARC, determines to kill the men who did it.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 bright stars for a very long(819 pages) book. The author was an undercover agent for the U.S. Government. He was assisting the Colombian Government's anti terrorist operations. During this time he interviewed many former soldiers from FARC, the Communist guerrilla organization, and AUC, the right wing paramilitary organization.
FARC has waged war against the government for 50 years or more. Both they and AUC draft child soldiers as young as 8 years old. The civil war is vicious and cruel. Both
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, best-of-2019
There are books I loved, but forgot about them in a few weeks. And then there are books I loved and won't be able to forget for a long time. Colombiano definitely belongs to the latter category. Even though it is a work of fiction, it is based on a true conflict in Colombia between the comunist Guerillas and opposing Paramilitaries. The author interviewed numerous former child soldiers whose tragic stories are told in the book.

Pedro is a 15 year old boy who lives on a farm in Llorona, Colombia,
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dear Readers,

I received and Advanced Reader Copy of Columbiano written by Rusty Young. This book is very well written, and it is readily apparent the author conducted extensive research into the subject matter. The reader is taken on an odyssey of a young Columbian man named Pedro.

The character development is extensive and these characters are three-dimensional. There are surprising twists and turns all throughout the book. Each character has a unique personality.

In an effort to avoid spoilers,
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Paula by: Publisher
Columbiano is a fast paced thriller about 15 year old Pedro Gutierrez who witnesses the execution of his father by ruthless Guerrilla soldiers. Like many other child soldiers in Columbia he joins opposing forces to seek retribution for his father’s death.

The book is well researched and very informative. Rusty Young shows this world of violence, crime, corruption, and drugs through his own experiences in Columbia. I would have liked to see the book with far less pages.

3 out of 5 stars

Many thanks
Andy Marr
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part, this fact-meets-fiction account of the civil war between the army and opposing Guerrilla forces in 21st-century Colombia, and particularly the role of child soldiers in the conflict, was a powerful and well-written book. With its themes of loss, revenge, cruelty, betrayal and corruption, it kept my attention from start to finish, which is no mean feat for a story that runs to almost 700 pages. In fact, I feel almost guilty giving the book only 4 stars, but a few elements ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on the true struggles of the country of Colombia to rid itself of the drug.
Child soldiers recruited to fight other teenagers in one big cycle of interconnected violence in a struggle for power, financed by cocaine trafficking. The innocent, and not so innocent people of Columbia were caught in the middle of a war between the drug lords, traffickers, police, army and the paramilitary groups.
And yet a love story blooms on this battlefield . . .


A typical teenager dreams of having a lovely
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: y-a, cultural
Based on true events, this story of revenge, betrayal, and corruption follows the fictional character Pedro. Growing up in Llorona, a war-torn land who makes good on the promise to kill those who snitch, Pedro witnesses the murder of his father. At fifteen years old, going on sixteen, he joins the Autodefensas in order to extract revenge on the Guerillas who killed his father. However, his alliance with the Autodefensas creates conflicts in his relationships. It truly is a great story with ...more
jv poore
You can’t truly know what someone else is going through without walking in his shoes. Unless Mr. Young writes about it. In Colombiano, those of us fortunate enough to be far removed from any war zone, see exactly what living amid battles entails; in day-to-day life, as well the overall impact it has on absolutely everything.

Certainly, most people know that the Guerilla evoke evil with their aggressive cocaine manufacturing and distribution. The gross misunderstanding is that the Guerilla are
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Colombiano is a riveting look at Colombia, South America following the reign of terror of drug lord Pablo Escobar and the Medellin with the illegal trafficking of cocaine and all of the associated crime and human carnage and devastation. Rusty Young is from Australia and was in Colombia for four years secretly working for the government of the United States in Colombia. It was during this time that he became aware of the shocking stories of the child soldiers and he vowed that one day he would ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many thanks to NetGalley and Havelock & Baker for providing me with this engrossing, intense ARC in return for an honest review. This was a powerful epic which featured violence, family devotion, moral choices, young love, and a country ripped apart.

I found the story informative and was totally absorbed. I had been in Colombia a very short time in a small town on the Amazon, but my knowledge of the country was severely limited. I knew a bit about Pablo Escobar from Netflix, and how the
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions stated are my own impressions after reading the book.

The book is well written and researched. The book reads like a non-fiction instead of a novel. The story is about children who have been turned into children soldiers. The story takes place in Columbia. The author reveals a world of drug smuggling, FARC guerrillas and lots of nasty unsavory characters. Of course, there is lots of action in this
Maria Espadinha
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Behind the Curtain

What did I know about Columbia?
I knew it had emeralds, I knew it had cocain and I pictured it as a land of breathtaking landscapes.
The cocain was there, between the emeralds and the astounding wild nature, as a testimony of the filth we always find among the beauty. I popped in that thought cos exposing filth is definitely the scope of this book, and while reading it, you’ll probably feel something like peeking behind a curtain covering a reality you never guessed nor dreamed
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew something about the situation in Colombia through films and news about organisations such as the Medellin Cartel and Pablo Escobar but this book made the terrible situation that Colombians faced all too real. This is Pedro’s story and his experiences in Autodefensas following the murder of his father by the communist FARC Guerilla. Pedro is 15 (some are as young as 12) when he joins this militia with the intention of seeking revenge against his fathers killers. This is an unrelenting ...more
This is the story of Pedro, a fifteen-year-old boy becoming a paramilitary warrior after he witnessed the murder of his father. In the small towns embracing the dark, sinister jungles of South America, communities try to survive the war raging between the government forces, the rebel groups and the drug cartels. Nobody dared to remain neutral, or even humane, for that matter. It was the story of survival of the fittest, if you could forgive the betrayal and dishonesty of people you thought you ...more
NAT.orious reads ☽
4.75 stars
This book is for you if… ‘well-researched, long-paged book, compelling in its brutal authenticity’ is a catchphrase worthy of your attention.

This is one of the books that reminded me of
a) why it is that I love reading so much: it's insightful and nail-biting.
b) that I should not shy away from books that I know are interesting and have potential but may frighten me due to length, emotionally heavy content or their foreign genre.

Rusty Young spent many years in Colombia,
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Colombiano is probably the best book I have read this year, and it is a year where I have read several good books. A story about innocence being quickly lost in the face of tragedy & violence, though love still offers hope. It is an extremely well written and powerful story.

Llorona is a small town where the Guerillas (a violent mob leading to Communist philosophy) hold sway, with the Colombian police and army being especially weak. Col Buitrago has the right intentions but does not have the
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am blown away by Colombiano. At close to 700 pages this is a tomb of a novel, however, it passed very quickly and I found myself wishing it was a lot longer. This is a powerful, heartfelt, terrifying story based in fact about Colombia's child soldiers. There is a lot of graphic violence but it never feels gratuitous; it explores the topics of murder, war, corruption, drug trafficking, exploitation, violence, racism, revenge and eventually the redemptive power of love. Part thriller, part ...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

I really loved Rusty's Marching Powder A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail by Rusty Young which proves that truth can be stranger than fiction. While I think Colombiano is an important book with a story that needed to be told, I can't rate it quite as highly.

Young isn't a naturally gifted writer. This didn't matter so much in Marching Powder where the charismatic Thomas's voice shone through. But working in fiction, Rusty can't make his characters come alive. He lacks a gift for dialogue and, other than Pedro's best friend, Palillo, all the figures remained
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Rusty Young (born 1975) is the Australian-born author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, the true story of an English drug smuggler in Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro Prison and the bestselling novel, Colombiano, a fact-meets-fiction revenge thriller about a Colombian boy who sets out to avenge his father’s death.

Rusty grew up in Sydney, and studied Finance and Law at the University
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“Part of being a man is doing what is right, no matter what people think of you. That is the sacrifice you must make.” 6 likes
“The war was like a slow-burning campfire onto which both sides occasionally threw wood. And that’s probably the way it would have continued, if not for the arrival of the Autodefensas.” 4 likes
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