The ISIS Hostage (Hardcover)

One Man's True Story of Thirteen Months in Captivity

By Puk Damsgard, David Young (Translated by)

Pegasus Books, 9781681774671, 352pp.

Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (5/8/2018)
MP3 CD (11/8/2016)

List Price: 27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Danish photographer Daniel Rye was taken capture by the Islamic State for thirteen months —this is his story.

In May 2013, Daniel Rye traveled to Syria for a planned three-day trip to photograph the effects of the war on civilians. While there, he was captured by ISIS and held for a nightmarish thirteen months. Held alongside hostages of 13 different nationalities, Daniel was starved and tortured, and he was the last of the hostages to leave captivity alive.

Walking readers through Daniel’s everyday experiences in captivity, this compelling account also follows Daniel’s family and their nerve-wracking negotiations with his kidnappers, tracing their horrifying journey through impossible dilemmas and offering a rare glimpse into the secret world of the investigation launched to locate and free not only Daniel, but also the American freelance journalist and fellow hostage James Foley. Capitalizing on a Danish legal loophole, Daniel’s friends and family were ultimately able to raise $2.2 million to secure his release. Written with Daniel’s full cooperation and based on interviews with former fellow prisoners, jihadists, and key figures who worked behind the scenes to secure his release, The ISIS Hostage offers a compelling window into life under the veil of the Islamic State and tells a moving and terrifying story of friendship and survival.

About the Author

Puk Damsgard has been the Middle East correspondent for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) since 2011, having previously lived for several years in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has won several awards, including the prestigious Cavling Prize, the National Press Club of Denmark's Storytelling Prize, and the 2015 Readers' Book Prize. She lives in Cairo.

David Young has been translating from Danish since 2003, everything from Greenlandic graphic novels to academic works. He has a first degree in English and European Literature and lives in Odense, Denmark, with his Danish wife and co-translator Lotte. Further information at

Praise For The ISIS Hostage: One Man's True Story of Thirteen Months in Captivity

Puk Damsgård’s unadorned chronicle of Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye’s capture, confinement and eventual release delivers a lesson as astringent as medicine: in the modern era of irregular warfare, battlefields are no longer demarcated by flags or trenches but by ideology and memory.

Provides a captivating account of his days inside the early incarnation of the ISIS machine, where he was only kept alive as a financial pawn, and a dramatic tale of hostage negotiation and family sacrifice… Captures an inspiring message about the collective reaction of humans to such brutal trauma.

In The ISIS Hostage, the full extent of the jihadi’s brutality is laid bare.