New York Times Bestseller
Written by Anthony Flacco
As told to him by Jessica Buchanan & Erik Landemalm
In 2006, twenty-seven year old Jessica Buchanan stepped off a plane in Nairobi, Kenya, with a teaching degree and long-held dreams of helping to educate African children. By 2009, she had met and married the man of her dreams, a native Swede named Erik Landemalm, who worked to coordinate humanitarian aid with local authorities in Africa. Together the two moved from Nairobi to Somalia, to continue their good work together. With dreams of starting a family, their future couldn't have been brighter…
But on October 25, 2011, Jessica and a male colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by an organized band of Somali pirates who had moved their operations from sea to land. For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters who carried assault rifles at all times and worked themselves into near delirium by chewing addictive khat leaves. She was held outdoors in filthy conditions and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated. Negotiations for ransom dragged on, and as the ordeal stretched into its third month, the captors grew increasingly impatient.
Every terrifying moment Jessica Buchanan spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors. Erik also carefully chronicled each and every day of the ordeal in letters he hoped to one day share with his wife, some of which are reprinted in these pages.
After ninety-three days of fruitless negotiations, and with Jessica's medical state becoming a life and death issue, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to attempt a rescue operation. On January 25, 2012, just before the President delivered his State of the Union speech, the team of twenty-four SEALs, under the cover of darkness, attacked the heavily armed hostiles. They killed all nine with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.
In riveting detail, IMPOSSIBLE ODDS details Jessica and Erik's mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica's fight to stay alive, and Erik's efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States Government.