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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

God's Lions Series: The Secret Chapel, Book 1, House of Acerbi, Book 2,and The Dark Ruin, Book 3 by John Lyman



Three short reviews of the God's Lions Series by John Lyman As Read in 2011-2012
                 
     
 The Secret Chapel (Book 1, God's Lions)

Summoned to Rome by an old friend, a Jesuit scholar finds himself using a code discovered in the Bible to unearth an ancient, hidden chapel in the catacombs under the city. When a rogue force of Vatican security officials are alerted to his discovery, the priest flees to the Holy Land with a clue ... a clue that will lead him and a team of Israeli Christians to a much larger secret in the middle of the barren Negev Desert.


Meticulously researched and drawing on scientific fact, John Lyman's intriguing story takes readers into the world of scholars, archaeologists, code-breakers, and intelligence specialists who have discovered a prophetic code hidden within the Old Testament that authenticates the Bible as a book of supernatural origin and points to a divine plan. This gripping novel is truly a thought-provoking and action-packed thriller with implications for our future.

 The Secret Chapel is currently in development as a major motion picture.



Link to the movie company blog: http://www.kuysleis.com/blog/

Review: 

I enjoyed this novel. Lyman has developed the plot very well and has plenty of twists and turns.

Having being brought up Catholic and then converting to Pentecostalism, I found it difficult this plot being very Catholic orientated. I do understand that a main part of the plot is located in the tunnels and catacombs under the Vatican but does that mean that it has to be Catholic orientated? Maybe this is because the author is Catholic? From this I can understand his view.

My only criticism is that the characters needed to be fleshed out more, they seem to be a bit shallow and two dimensional.

I loved the spiritual warfare and the supernatural elements; not far from how this is in real life as far know. I hope Lyman includes this in the next installment. This is one reason for me buying this book.

I do look forward to his next novel. He does write well and I am sure he will be even better next time round.

Highly recommended.

 
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Returning to Rome from a forced sabbatical, a Jesuit cardinal discovers that a dark force born of vengeance from an ancient religion has been unleashed against the world. Thrust into an end-game scenario, the cardinal joins with a dedicated team of Israeli and Spanish scientists as they race across the globe to stop a unspeakable evil ... only to discover that they may already be too late.

Once again, the meticulous background research that has become the hallmark of author John Lyman's novels is evident in this bone-chilling sequel to his bestselling book, God's Lions - The Secret Chapel, as readers are transported into the cloistered world of scholars, archaeologists, code-breakers, and intelligence specialists who have discovered evidence of an evil force that has ruled a single family for over seven hundred years. Put on a pot of coffee. This page-turning thriller will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning.

Review: 

Will The Bible Code Team Be Able To Conquer Evil Again? This is the question readers are confronted with in this second instalment of the God's Lions trilogy. Here is the set up:

"Returning to Rome from a forced sabbatical, Jesuit cardinal, Leo Amodeo, discovers that a dark force born of vengeance from an ancient religion has been unleashed against the world. Thrust into an end-game scenario, the cardinal joins with a dedicated team of Israeli and Spanish scientists as they race across the globe to stop an unspeakable evil ... only to discover that they may already be too late." (Amazon Product Description).

After reading this description from Amazon, I knew I was in for a great ride, a cannot put down this book experience and to again be reunited with friends, well researched history and a great plot.

This time round Lyman has developed the characters further and the relationships between each of The Bible Code Team. More like minded characters are added to this team, and I hope they are part of the third and hopefully not last instalment.

Despite the plot and pace that keeps you reading and no wanting to put this down, it is the atmosphere that Lyman creates in his writing. It is simple yet descriptive. Even the segments that provide background information or history to plot do not make you frustrated or want to skim over. Again, in this novel I felt at home with the characters as if I am there with them but as a silent observer. This makes the story to feel as if it would not end. When I get like this, I am in another world and as happy as a pig in mud!

John Lyman is an author to keep an eye on. He is on a winner here with this trilogy. I highly recommend this novel and also the first book, The Secret Chapel (God's Lions).

 
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Forty years after a mysterious billionaire disappears, he suddenly resurfaces with a dark secret that shocks the world. In this enthralling third novel in the "God's Lions" series, Cardinal Leopold Amodeo is once again teamed with a group of scientists and archaeologists who are led to the inescapable conclusion that a very real evil has arrived in the world.

Based on recently de-classified documents and real-life technological breakthroughs that are already on the drawing board, John Lyman takes readers on a wild ride into a future that is already here, where technology takes flight in the hands of one who has vowed to destroy mankind. Make sure your coffee pot is in good working order, because you'll need it when you curl up with this book into the wee hours of the morning.

Review:

 
The Bible Code team are back in this third instalment of the God's Lions Trilogy. However, the way this book ends, it cannot be classed as a trilogy. There has to be a fourth book to continue this story. It has ended with the Antichrist beginning to wage his wrath and hatred towards the Team and the remaining Cathars.

The supernatural elements are there again in this story although in this instalment they are darker and more satanic, leading up to the possession of Adrian Acerbi with satan's spirit and then being the Antichrist.

Storylines from the previous book are developed further especially between Leo and Evita. Two characters are killed off which adds to the fast pace and depth of this plot.

The reader learns more about the Acerbi and Cathar history from started in the previous book. This also serves to imply that there will have to be a fourth book in this series.

Like the previous two books, the pace is fast, and you cannot put this one down. It is an easy read as the author writes well.

I am looking forward to seeing where a fourth book with take the reader, if indeed there is to be one, but as I have stated, there are two many obvious plot lines not finished at the end of this instalment. You are left hanging from the last page with the thought, there has to be a fourth book.

 
Highly recommended.
 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Warrior's Journey (The Warrior Kind, Book 2) by Guy Stanton III


A Warrior's Journey (The Warrior Kind, Book 2)

It’s been over twenty years since the fateful day that the might of the Zoarinian Empire’s great army was destroyed within the Valley Lands. Since then it has been a time of peace and prosperity throughout the Valley Lands under the guidance of Roric Ta’lont, but is another war coming to the Valley Lands? A dark war not able to be won by the sword alone?


The past two years have been uneasy ones for Roric. Rumors of a dark cult and its increasing influence have been spreading throughout the Southern Settlements. Roric fears that it’s only a matter of time before it invades the Valley Lands with its darkness of belief. Will the people resist its dark influence? How can they? The people have already drifted from the faith of their fathers and are ripe for a takeover of their souls in a war of the spirit. Something has to be done, but what? A war has begun in which a sword might not even be raised to win the hearts of the people. How does one fight an idea that has the backing of a dark leader that endows his followers with powers that terrify the soul? The enemy has a complete work of dark import, while Roric’s people have but the tattered remnants of the word of God caused by a tragedy long ago in their past. How can Roric inspire faith in the people, when the people don’t have the instruction they need to resist darkness’s wiles and deceptions? A bold plan is called for, and Roric finds the means to accomplish it buried in a secret place far below the mountain that Thunder Ridge castle was built upon. A place of secrets as old as the time of Roric’s people on this world, watched over by a guardian that answers only to the house of Ta’lont.

Review: 


I was so excited to get into this second instalment in this series. I had many weeks interval from Book 1 to this instalment (reviewing other books I had committed to). It was so good to be back in this story; back in the world of the Valley Landers! I did not realise how much I had missed this world that Stanton has so very successfully created. It is very addictive and very escapist!



I must confess that I had some trepidation when I learned that a large part of this plot involved certain Valley Lander citizens having to travel into space to the modern world of their ancestors (Earth). I wondered how they would cope with advanced technology that is very different to the technology that they had just been subjected to in their own world that enabled them to reach Earth, albeit many centuries before. But most of my trepidation was how they would cope with the different way of life and a world more devoid of manners, decorum, and a much more sinful and decadent way of life that is further removed from their Creator's standards than they are used to in their own world. 

Stanton has created a world on Earth where religion is banned, outlawed and a criminal offence to have any connection with it. I wondered how the Valley Land crew would find a Bible as these were destroyed when religion was outlawed and banned. I knew it would not be as easy as them coming across one by chance. That would make a plot line too weak and predictable. But what Stanton developed was a very creative way to intertwine a few plot lines to introduce a new character, connect this to how they acquire a Bible, show more of God's character of mercy, forgiveness and love and to add action, suspense and the corruptness of the degenerative society of Earth. 

Speaking of this new character, Evette, this is one very intriguing addition to this plot. It is well done how Stanton portrays her as a ruthless agent but as the reader progresses further into the story, this tough exterior is exposed showing a deep vulnerability from the hurts of her abused childhood and she uses her ruthlessness to cover up this hurt and protect herself from further pain. Stanton uses her situation to reveal a deep need for resolution and healing and that her healing can only be found in the Creator. This is shown in the behaviour and attitude of Larc and through a supernatural visitation by the Creator Himself. This is one very tender account and Stanton again shines in portraying God as a loving, merciful and forgiving Being who loves His fallen creation unconditionally and will give His creation a second chance.  

This forms a great love story between Larc and Evette that has a really sweet culmination in their marriage when they return to the Valley Lands at the end of the story. I wonder if we will hear from Evette in future books in this series? Stanton describes himself as a romantic, and he shows this very well in this and in the previous book between Krista and Roric. 

One factor I enjoyed discovering in this plot was introducing someone from Earth (Evette) who is from the descendant's of Noah's time to the people before Noah's time (the whole premise of The Warrior Kind series is that Roric's ancestors, the Vallian, left Earth before the Flood to colonise another world, being disillusioned with the decadent society at that time and wanting a better life for themselves). The gene pool before the flood would have been more diverse compared to the post Flood gene pool as this latter population had its origins from the Noah and his sons and their wives only. So in the plot line where Evette and Larc have a child (at the end of the story), we see these two gene pools mixed. Yes, this is poetic license of course, but it is still an interesting factor to consider even though this will never happen in reality. 

I loved the warfare scenes describing how Zevin and his team return to the ship. Action packed, suspenseful and thrilling as a scene like this should be and needs to be. As mentioned in the second paragraph of this review, I wondered how Stanton was going to explain space travel to a people who had not known such technology before and who had been told that this technology was destroyed centuries ago. But I applaud Stanton for his unique concept of space travel that is not what I was expecting. My main concern with this explanation was how would a very technologically illiterate society cope with learning about space travel when you consider what happens in real life? But, not to give away spoilers, Stanton delivers the goods in a very unique way, and I do wonder if this technology is entirely his imagination or how much is based on existing technology or knowledge? Doesn't matter, it fits in the plot very well and serves its purpose. 

Again, one of the things that I love about Book 1 is the spiritual aspects and the supernatural visitation of angels and of God Himself. Stanton does this again in this instalment and again it is well done and shows the heart of God towards us. I would hope that any reader who may not be a believer and who is seeking God would be touched by this and ministered to by His Spirit. Christian fiction is a great avenue for the Gospel to be shown here and this series is one great example of this. 

This is a worthy second installment in this entralling and escapist series. 

Highly Recommended.  

Monday, 17 February 2014

God Inside The Fire: An Amazing True Story by Greg Stelley


Joni is no stranger to miracles. Her prayers and even her dreams have a habit of coming true. Her husband is regularly amazed by her strong faith and her premonitions: "I had a dream, Greg. There's going to be a fire. I saw Kathy and Frank in the middle of it." Frank Scalari is a physicist. Frank, Kathy, and their four children, along with their horses, goats, and chickens, have just moved onto their new five acre ranch high in the Cuyamaca Mountains, 60 miles northeast of San Diego. On October 25th, 2003, the ravenous Cedar Fire sweeps down into San Diego on strong Santa Ana winds. Two days later the monstrous thirty-mile-long firestorm reverses course and heads back to the Cuyamaca Mountains.

Joni assures Kathy, her ever-skeptical best friend, that she is praying for her property and that: "Nothing is too hard for God! Not even this terrible firestorm!" But neither Kathy nor Frank believes in the supernatural. GOD INSIDE THE FIRE is a true life page-turner of epic proportions. As the 427-square-mile Cedar Fire takes direct aim at the Scalari family's ranch, Joni, and Danielle, her 9-year-old daughter, each pray for a miracle. They're praying for more than just a horse ranch—they're praying to open their friends' hearts and minds to the reality of God. The impossibilities within this amazing true story will astound you. If you look, you just may find...GOD INSIDE THE FIRE.


Review: 


When a book, whether fiction of non fiction, impacts your life on one level or many levels, then you are blessed and made a better person. This is what the author, Greg Stelley has achieved in this true account of one of America's most devastating fires and the impact it had on the community, and the miracle that followed. 


This has impacted me greatly and challenged my attitude towards my relationship with God and my family.

As a first time writer, Stelley writes well and describes the fire, its pace, ferocity and devastation just as well. From this angle, this books reads like a novel. I love fiction so I was in my element here. He has done every reader, himself and his family and the family, Frank and Kathy, at the centre of this true account justice by portraying them as they are, real people and as true to how they are as real people and not as two dimensional as some characters are portrayed in fictional stories. This adds so much credibility to himself as an author but also to the main characters and the true account of this devastating fire and miracle that occurred as a result of the faith expressed by the Stelley family. 

I agree with the author that this story needed to be told. What happened to Frank and Kathy's property defies logical, scientific and rational explanation. Everything points to the supernatural. When you read the specifics of the prayer that Danielle, Juliette and Joni prayed and then to see that in reality, after the fire, this evidenced exactly as prayed, is truly wonderful. For Christians, this is not surprising as to the Author of this miracle. To those who do not know God in a personal way, it will be used by God as a great witness and example of who He is, what He is capable of in a wonderful and benevolent way and to lead those seeking purpose and meaning to why they exist, to Him. 

I applaud Greg Stelley in writing this to honour and give God the glory for what He has done for Frank and Kathy. I can say this also for any Christian to be challenged in their faith and to take God out of the boxes we enclose Him in due to our own failings, fallen and sinful nature and use what God has done in this account to challenge us to see Him in a deeper way with a deeper faith. 

I was very scared at reading the fire account and the experiences the victims went through. I got anxious, frustrated, angry and cried at those accounts. I also cried, but with tears of joy, at the miracle that unfolded after the fire. I was rejoicing in this wonderful God I love and follow! It is really hard being on a train commuting to work and trying to conceal the fact that you are crying!! I got some very strange looks for fellow commuters!! 

This is a wonderful blessing of a true story, a great message from a wonderful God. Faith, hope, redemption, supernatural power from a supernatural God who will do anything to show who He is, no matter where you are, even in the most devastating and horrible circumstance anyone could be in. 

Highly Recommended.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Burning At The Boss, (A Johnny Ravine Mystery, Book 3) by Martin Roth


Pastor Jim Reezall is renowned as the hellfire preacher always calling down fire and brimstone on the sinners of the world. So when he dies in a wild bushfire there are some who believe he got what he deserved. Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, asked by the pastor's daughter - with whom he is trying to develop a relationship - to solve the mystery of the death.


It quickly becomes apparent that it was murder. And very soon Johnny learns that huge sums of money are missing from charities administered by the pastor. Was the pastor really using the funds to pay off gunrunners? And, if so, why? The answers - along with the truth about Johnny's long-lost father - come in a thrilling climax amidst a raging conflagration in the most bushfire-prone region on earth.




Review: 

The third book in the Johnny Ravine mystery trilogy. I am sad to see it finish but glad that he has a good outcome to his quest that runs throughout this trilogy. I must confess that I did not see this coming, and it was a nice twist.  


As stated in my review of the previous novel, this has all the hallmarks of a Roth novel, and I am glad to see Roth's consistency here. In this novel, Roth introduces one very zany character in the radio disc jockey, Rad Blacken. He comes across as the comedy relief but still show a serious side when dealing with his mother. And she comes across as the typical mother who cannot see an end to his son living at home; she wants him out and married off, but he does not see it that way. You cannot do anything but love these two characters. 

I was pleased to see a love interest for Johnny as I had wondered about his singleness in the previous two novels. I wonder if Roth had subtly implied in his writing for Johnny wanting to settle down? It was a good plot development to have Johnny's love interest the reason he gets involved in this murder mystery. Good to see that after all he had been through as a rebel leader in East Timor, his epiphany to leave that life style, search for his father and sort out his life, he was willing to allow himself to experience love and learn to love in return. However, due to the twist in this plot that I mentioned above, this turns out not to eventuate but Johnny does gain from this twist and for him this was totally unexpected. I liked this to end the novel, but it seemed at a sacrifice for the ending to be not with Miriam the way I was expecting.

Roth introduces suspense really well here when Grapper and his cohort start to threaten Miriam and her sister, Sarah in demanding the money that their father is accused of embezzling. I must confess I have had more intense suspense from similar situations in other novels, but I feel Roth had the correct intensity here for the pace and style of this trilogy.This added some balance to the plot. Another layer of suspense was when Grapper was threatening Johnny and Johnny tries to counteract this with reason and negotiation. It was a nice ploy as it is here that Roth sets the stage for this twist mentioned before!! 

I must confess that one of my weaknesses in understanding a plot line is when an author introduces financial embezzlement and how this is played out in deception and fraud. I found this hard to understand but this is due to my wiring and not Roth's writing.  I don't believe that Roth has written this with poor or irresponsible writing or plot construction, on the contrary, I feel he has explained this very succinctly. It is balanced with just enough detail so as to not lose the reader in this part of the plot. 

Through the character of Jim, I can see that maybe Roth has a soft spot for the orphaned and neglected children of those countries with either a poor economy or those of corrupt ones. This provided a balance to Ron's character and commitment to Christ in standing up for what he believed in ranting and raving about the things of God, albeit in an over zealous way sometimes on his radio show. Setting up these orphanages showed the caring side of his nature and that of the transformation that only Christ can do through a relationship with Him. 

I live in Victoria where this novel is set, but I have never been to the Yarra Valley. I have heard alot about it from media, friends and the occasional person who lives there. Roth describes this are well and gives descriptive account to this location. It definitely sounds like a beautiful place to live. 

If there is one thing that I have enjoyed about this trilogy is having Pastor Ron and Rohan in all of the books. Together with Johnny, they make quite a team. By this third book, the reader has become quite fond of them. 

All in all a very enjoyable novel and a fine ending to the Johnny Ravine mystery trilogy. 

Strongly Recommended. 


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hot Rock Dreaming (A Johnny Ravine Mystery, Book 2) by Martin Roth


An old-fashioned murder mystery with a private detective and a beautiful femme fatale, set in an exotic location - the Australian outback - with potent under-currents of spiritual warfare.

Australia's most famous Aboriginal painter is dead, supposedly killed when a heavy object tumbled onto him in his studio during an earth tremor. But then doubts arise. For a start, the police now suspect murder. And how come the victim had been heard earlier predicting his own violent death? 

Enter private detective Johnny Ravine to solve the mystery, and suddenly he finds himself thrust into a byzantine world of art and artists where questions are far more numerous than answers. 

Where did the victim's art dealer obtain the incredibly rare artwork that he was secretly selling? Is the controversial green energy company Rokpower really going to harness power from hot rocks deep under the ground, and did it kill the artist's Dreaming spirit when it injected water onto the rocks? And who is the beautiful and mysterious Asian lady who seems to be able to converse with the dead, and who says she knows how the artist really died?

A killer is on the loose and even Johnny's own life is in danger. But first he needs to understand that the death of the artist has unleashed spiritual 
forces that threaten an entire community.

Review:

I remember reading the following when I first read the description on Amazon a few years ago: 

"Hot Rock Dreaming was one of seven finalists - and the only novel - for the 2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year award, chosen from sixty-seven 
entrants."

The judges wrote:

"Hired to investigate the death of an Aboriginal painter, private detective Johnny Ravine is drawn into a complex mystery as dangerous as it is intriguing. Environmental politics, land rights and Aboriginal spirituality are explored with subtlety. For the hero and reader alike there is a valuable lesson to be learned about the importance of discerning which voice is proclaiming life and love when all is not as it seems. A compelling novel." 

After reading this novel, I can see why it became a finalist and totally agree
with the judges findings. 


If the reader of this novel does not know anything about Aboriginal spirituality, they definitely will after reading this. Roth has embedded this
seamlessly in the plot and in portraying the religious and cultural life of the
Aboriginals of the Australian Outback.


I knew a little about their spirituality from growing up here in Australia but was definitely given an in depth education and appreciation in this novel. Roth has shown great respect for Australia's original residents, and it is this that enhances the entire novel. Once I had finished I came to the conclusion that it is a great injustice to the Aborigines and all Australians born and educated in this country that we do not have the history of this fascinating and very spiritual people in our history curriculum in our education system. Instead, we insist that we learn about other countries cultures and history only. I think we have it wrong to not include as well Aboriginal history.

Even from a spiritual point of view, Roth has portrayed their beliefs very realistically  even though I say this from the little I know of them. The incident of pointing the bone and its associated curse leading to death I have read and seen portrayed in movies and in a TV series in my adolescence. Roth includes a biblical solution to this situation when this has been placed on Johnny, and it is a very descriptive and enthralling account.

I would consider the spirituality of the Aboriginal people as one that governs their thinking, behaviour, culture, and one that has a great connection and respect to and of the land. Roth portrays and shows this in the plot concerning the green power company Rokpower who has shown that when water is pumped through the earth onto the hot rocks beneath the resulting steam can be harnassed as a renewable power source, but in aboriginal spirituality, this act has released Kurtal, the rain spirit, of whom Albert Wallaby Walker, Australia's most famous painter is believed to be a descendant. So strong is this belief and connection to the land, that Mi Young Cho, the femme fatale,
described in the book description, describes it almost as spiritual folk lore,


".. Kurtal is a rain spirit. He can make rain. He traveled through the desert in the form of a serpent.... he looked for a warm place to live. So he went deep under the ground where all the hot rocks are. Old Albert told me that his ancestors have always known about those hot rocks. For thousands of years. And he told me that pouring water onto the rocks would force Kurtal to escape. And (this) would kill him.... (Albert) always knew he was going to die. He told people he faced a violent death, from the water being poured onto Kurtal" and later, "...once Kurtal was forced from his home he would pour out 
his fury...torrents of rain after his (Albert's) death...".

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Prophets and Loss (A Johnny Ravine Mystery, Book 1) by Martin Roth


Forgiveness is the most attractive of the virtues. Until you actually have someone to forgive.
When Melissa Stonelea’s born-again Christian husband Grant is found strangled in the bondage room of the city’s classiest brothel, a page of the Bible stuffed in his mouth, she doesn’t need to hear more of her pastor’s sermons on the healing powers of forgiveness. She needs revenge.
Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, seeking the quiet life in Australia after more than twenty years as a freedom fighter in East Timor. The murdered man was his best friend. But, as he starts to investigate the slaying, a mysterious phone call and then a bullet through his window plunge him into the heart of a deadly terrorist conspiracy.
Suddenly he finds himself locked inside a shady world of stock market manipulators, sex workers and underground militia, while desperately hunting the killers. But Johnny is concealing a violent past and demons of his own. Can he crack the mystery before he himself cracks?
In Johnny Ravine we have a brilliant, but flawed hero who is plunged into the far reaches of the human psyche - forced to confront a cycle of evil that could destroy him and all he loves. But also forced to confront the evil that lurks in his own heart.

Review: 

This is the first in a new series by Martin Roth. Told in the first person narrative by the main character, Johnny Ravine, a half Timorese (mother), half Australian (father) ex freedom fighter (during the fight for East Timor becoming an independent country from Indonesia).

This has all the hallmarks of a Roth novel. Well researched, fast paced, strong spiritual themes (in this case forgiveness and learning to cope with loss and the letting go of the past), characters you can relate to and Roth's unique style of showing the Gospel message and related tenets without being preachy. 

Using the first person narrative by the main character, really does allow the reader to understand Johnny's point of view in searching for the killer of his best friend, Grant Stonelea and in accepting and dealing with the demons of his past. I have not been a fan of first person narrative in the past but there has been a few of these over the past year that have converted me to this. I am now looking forward to this style in the remaining two novels in this series.  

I love the character of Johnny's Pastor, Ron Thomas, an elderly but wise man who has a great insight into human nature and applies this to Johnny, showing him that he understands where Johnny is coming from and seems to know what makes Johnny tick, better than he does himself. It is through this character that Roth shines in showing more of the nature of God, about why we need to forgive, to let go, to leave our past behind us and leave it with God. Ron provides a great role model for Johnny to aspire to in being a Christian and learning to live his life God's way. From my perspective, it is through this character that the reader gets a glimpse of the depth of relationship Roth has with his God and from my POV, I like what I see.  

One advantage I have that endeared me further to this novel is the setting: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, where I live. All the locations I have either been to, or know where they are, or have heard of them (the only exception being La Rue, the brothel! I have no idea if that is a real brothel or a fake name for this novel). This really did enable me to picture all the events as they unfolded much better than if I had not had this local knowledge. 

Roth has knitted a plot together with some good twists and turns as Johnny gets closer and closer to solving the mystery of who killed Grant. All the pieces come together very nicely and so does all the pieces of Johnny's past that is connected with this murder and the terrorist attempt on Australian soil. Roth has implemented very well his research of the political environment of East Timor to the plot and the main characters. We also discover a link to who his father is but we are left hanging as to what Johnny does next to locate him. I guess that is the further background to the remaining novels. 

After all has been resolved, Johnny has come through this rather badly scathed physically but with less baggage towards his past and towards the leader of the terrorists and this is where he shows his spiritual and personal growth. It reminds me of the bible verse that says that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called to His purpose. (Romans 8: 28). I like this spiritual undertone and that of the forgiveness tenet that lies in the background of this novel and forms an important message to all. 

This is one very good read and one that will hold you to the end and leads very well into the next novel, having just started that yesterday. 

Highly Recommended.