THE BOOK

A harrowing and heartwrenching memoir of humanitarian aid worker Jessica Buchanan’s kidnapping by Somali land pirates, her three months in captivity, her rescue by the SEAL Team Six, and her husband’s extraordinary efforts to help bring her home.

In 2006, twenty-seven-year-old Jessica Buchanan arrived 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. With dreams of starting a family, they moved from Nairobi to Somalia, and 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 land pirates. For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters. 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 spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors. Finally, on January 25, 2012, President Barack Obama ordered a rescue operation by a team of twenty-four Navy SEALs. The team killed all nine kidnappers, 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.

"I heard Jessica Buchanan speak today at the Southeastern Family Office Forum in Atlanta….I wanted to thank her for the courage and candor she showed today. Her story is even more harrowing when shared in the first person and in her voice. It is a story of hope and a testimony of faith. I felt honored to be in her company and hear her story. "
 

–Alston Watt, September 25, 2013

 

"It was great to hear Erik and Jessica at SEFOF in Atlanta on Friday and also to personally interact with them. They were very personable and easy to talk to.........like talking to a friend."

 

—Mark Longnecker, Sept. 25, 2013

© 2013 Jessica Buchanan