Captain John Fisker, a US military officer working to strengthen the forces of moderate Islam in the region, is kidnapped by terrorists. At the same time extremists are threatening the Christian mission hospital where John’s brother Bobby works as a doctor.
It is time to call for the New Mercedarians, the clandestine military order dedicated to fighting for Christians under attack around the world. Operatives Brother Half Angel and Brother Luiz fly urgently to West Africa.
Add to the mix a Korean holy man who communes with God at the summit of a sacred mountain, a crazed Russian drugs courier, a young American studying to be a Sufi mystic and a CIA officer on the run from his own superiors, and you have the exciting new book in Martin Roth’s acclaimed Military Orders series.
Having read four books now in the Half Brother Angel Thriller series, I consider this one the best so far. This might be surpassed by Book 5, but that is next on my review list.
I found that Roth's writing style is more refined in this novel. Clearer, sharper and to the point. I found myself riveted to this one with a slightly faster pace than the previous novels. I loved the plot (despite the West African setting, which does not appeal to me at all) and found this to be riveting and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
When an author applies his research to the plot of his novel, it really does add to the structure of the story. Adds depth and credibility. Roth's degree of research shows here and achieves this aim. Roth has depicted the political and religious climate of Mali well, and it is this that is the backdrop of this novel that plots Christian against Muslim, father against son, Christian doctrine against Christine doctrine, CIA against a rogue operative, Church against the State. Quite a diverse mix, but Roth deals with this very well.
I loved Roth's description of the life of the hospital and the motive for its existence. The discussion/arguments between the Medical Officers regarding how they operate under such a limited budget and dealing with the threats from the Muslim extremists against them being Christian is very realistic and an eye opener. Here again, Roth poses the question, as Christians do we endure persecution for the sake of Christ or do we fight back even literally with physical weapons if necessary? This was the issue that confronted the Medical staff when the Islamists started harassing the Nursing staff about working in a Christian hospital and later when they physically attacked the hospital with rocks, rammed the gates and infiltrated the building, trashing the hospital. The arguments put forth by Dr Bobby Frisker for enduring this persecution for the sake of Christ versus taking action by Dr Steyn successfully portray this issue that would confront Christians working in the mission field in political and religious environments that are hostile to the Gospel and Christianity. On a smaller scale this issue is one that confronts all Christians where they are when they are persecuted, and physical violence is initiated upon them by others hostile to them being Christian or representing the Gospel.
This issue was introduced in the first book in this series, Brother Half Angel, and it is very much an integral part of this fourth book as a continuation of this.
I really enjoyed the subplot concerning the relationship between the Frisker members, father Harry having to deal with the consequences of losing his position in the CIA due to the actions of his younger son, Bobby and the resulting deteriorating relationship between them that this caused, his concern for his kidnapped eldest son, John and engaging Bobby to do something to help find John. I found it very appropriate that Harry highlight to Bobby that he is asking his son to help for the sake of his brother and not out of any guilt or remorse concerning the reasons for their estranged relationship between himself and his son. Roth has portrayed these family dynamics very succinctly with the provision for forgiveness and reconciliation. I guess the final scene at the end of the book shows that this family succeeded in achieving this. This was a fitting end to this novel.
However, this ending did not explain what happened to the Desert Mission Hospital. Did it close? Did the governing Christian organisation in Germany withdraw their financial support? And further still, what happened to Brother Half Angel and Luiz? The compromise to the undercover existence of The New Mercedarians was left hanging and the fallout from this on the mother church in Korea. I am hoping this is answered in the next novel, The Coptic Martyr of Cairo.
Despite this, I still felt it was worth the five star rating. As I said in the beginning of this review, this is the best novel out of the four so far. Roth really shines in this one.