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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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Friday, 30 October 2015

The Tyndale Code: (An Armour of God Thriller, Book 1) by Daniel Patterson


Many will seek it... Some will die for it... But only one will unlock its secret...

When covert artifact recovery specialist, Zack Cole is hired to retrieve a priceless sixteenth-century Bible, he unwittingly takes on the most dangerous mission of his life.

What seemed like a straightforward recovery job turns deadly when the holy text is the target of a bloody heist, and an innocent missionary is brutally murdered. Zack soon finds himself caught up in a centuries-old mystery, and his only clue is a cryptic code, believed to have been written by William Tyndale himself.

Wanted by the National Police and pursued by a merciless assassin, Zack races against time through the jungles of Guatemala to unlock the secrets of the Tyndale Code. A non-stop adventure is set in motion, intertwined with mystery, intrigue, and a conspiracy that stretches back to the time of King Henry VIII.

Can Zack recover the Bible and prove his innocence before it's too late? Or will unlocking its secrets prove too formidable for even Zack Cole?

From bestselling Christian fiction author Daniel Patterson comes a thrilling, page-turning adventure that masterfully combines "history with a little mystery."

The Tyndale Code

Join Zack Cole as he races across Central America to unravel the mysteries of the Tyndale Code by grabbing your copy now!

The first book in the bestselling Armour of God Thriller Series, the Tyndale Code will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat until the very last page.

The Armour of God Thriller Series combines heart-pounding action, with page-turning adventure, and non-stop suspense.

Book 3: Coming soon
Book 4: Coming 2016

The Guru's Review: 

This is the first book I have read from Daniel Patterson. A reviewer on Amazon states that this book is a good introduction to his writing and I would agree now having read TTC. 

I am quite impressed with Patterson's writing. It is specific, concise and is descriptive enough to enable the reader to be in the story. No stumbling blocks or having to interpret or decipher what the author is trying to say. I also loved the subtle examples of humour scattered throughout. 

The length of this story is just long enough to do justice to the pace and events of this action packed, fast paced plot. Any less than this length and this novella would fall flat.

There is a lot to like in this novella. Zac is very likeable and relatable. I enjoyed the depiction of his struggle with his faith and relationship with God based on what happened to his parents. I can fully understand the doubt, anger, bitterness he feels towards God and I guess even blaming Him for not saving them. Despite this, I loved the way Zac is still perceptive to what Sister Grace has to say in encouraging him to let go of these emotions and give them to the very God he is aiming them at. It seems that he leaves it open for Zac's spiritual journey to continue in the rest of the series, The Codex being the next novel in this.


I loved this sincere, truthful and gentle counsel that Sister Grace gives to Zac. It reinforces in me how any Christian needs to be when they are in a position to encourage and care-front someone with their doubts or negative emotions towards God as a response to life's tragedies. I have a suspicion that what Daniel has included here as counsel for Zac is part of this author's experience in real life, which for me adds credibility for him as an author, Sister Grace's character and the biblical/spiritual theme of forgiveness and being reconciled to God. I also feel that Zac's character is based on the author himself, or parts of him. I say this as Zac has the same passion for archeological/biblical artefacts that Patterson has for what he has poured into this story.

Sister Grace is one versatile character, devoted to God and her calling as a Nun, radical enough to wear hiking type boots under her habit, rescue Zac from the mafia type cartel who are after the bible, keep her cool after being shot during this rescue, and as mentioned, being quite a counsellor. Quite a character Sister Grace is. 


And despite Frank Waterson being such a devious, street smart coward (well that is how he appears to me!), you have to love him and almost laugh at his antics! 

I also found myself liking Ana, aka The Cobra. Despite being one hardened crime boss, she has a soft feminine side that she knows where and when to allow this to be exposed, not as a vulnerability, but as part of this crime boss persona. I honestly thought that Zac and her could have a romantic future! 

For me, what attracted me to this novel is what Patterson has included about William Tyndale and his translation of the Bible. I can see from this novella that Patterson has a real passion for this topic and has researched it well, which has enabled him to pour this passion into the development of this novella, giving the entire novel, solid structure, consistent pace, mystery and intrigue, and suspense. I knew very little about Tyndale, his translation, and the political background before reading The Tyndale Code and this novel has now increased my curiosity about him and the obstacles that he faced and overcame in publishing the Bible into the English language for the first time. My respect for Tyndale has also increased from the information Patterson has included in this story. I absolutely loved the inclusion of the common verses from the Bible that are directly from this Tyndale's translation. I found it disturbing that one reviewer has been very critical about this issue, that Patterson has attributed credit to Tyndale for these verses, but if this is the first English translation then would it not be a natural progression that this would happen?  How is this insulting to the author of those particular books of the Bible that the verses belong to? We could say this for any of the other English translations that have been produced following Tyndale's! 

I loved the mystery and intrigue that surrounded the hidden code created by Tyndale that had sparked such graft and corruption surrounding the possession of this 1526 Tyndale Bible. Patterson is very adept at creating this environment and getting the reader hooked. Not sure how much truth and/or poetic licence Patterson has included here but he certainly is very persuasive in his creation of this part of the novel.

I would not say that this novel has strong Christian themes or focus as the main thrust is the search for the Tyndale Bible and deciphering its code, but I am glad that Patterson has included some biblical doctrines/themes in the subplot of Zac's disillusionment with his faith and God from his parent's death as I have mentioned above. I guess also that Patterson had a limit to what can be included in this story within the boundaries of what constitutes the length of a novella.

I must say that everything in this review is my opinion and has not been influenced by anything to do with the author, despite the fact that he has named one of the minor characters after myself. 


The Tyndale Code has been a rewarding introduction to the writing, creativity and passion for the things of God that Patterson has and I look forward to experiencing this again in The Codex. 

Strongly Recommended. 4/5

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Doboro The Bottlenecker by Kevin M Kraft

Doboro the Bottlenecker by Kevin M. Kraft

Dave Granger took the wrong job with a bad man.

That mistake cost him the life of his wife and daughter and nearly his own. Rendered crippled and blinded from an assassination attempt, he was spirited away to distant South Korea for his own sake, where he underwent seven years of extraordinary physical and personal rehabilitation under both the harsh tutelage of a martial arts master and the God of his youth. Pushed beyond what he thought were his own limits, he discovered a new strength of human spirit with his new lease on life.

Now…seven years later, he is back in the states as a transitory street musician—a brand new man with a brand new name. And with his new lease on life, a new mission: to anonymously protect his daughter, whom he had assumed dead, from the malevolent forces that soon resurface with his appearance to finish the job they attempted seven years ago. His vigilance is undeniable. His skills are remarkable. But he’s only human. And his love for his little girl could very well be the thing that finally dooms them both, unless he can summon strength beyond himself, to finally confront the threat against them.

And that is only the beginning.

The Guru's Review:

I have reviewed two previous novels of Kevin Kraft on his request for an honest review to which I did and now am doing again. I must confess, this novel is very different from his previous, but all this shows is how versatile and diverse Kraft's imagination and ability are. 

I will be honest, I did not think I would enjoy this novel purely from looking at the cover and the description. Not saying that there is something wrong with the cover just that it did not look like a novel in the genres that I love to read and the same for the description. But that is just me as I am fussy on the genres I read. However, having read this novel, all fits into place and this is one very deceptive piece of writing. Now I love the cover, it is very unique and I love the author's account on Facebook on how it developed. It really does capture the essence of who Doboro is, it gives him a brand, an image, that is him and what he stands for. There is beauty and gentleness surrounding this novel that I found very appealing. I would not say it is fast paced, or having multiple layers, but Kraft's construction of this novel keeps the pace that suits the plot in both halves, yes, two distinct halves, that detail his previous life and how this created his new life, that is very different from the first.  

Amidst this beauty and gentleness, Kraft has included a plot line of corruption and mafia-like crime that causes David to have an assassination attempt of his life and leads him to believe that it has taken the lives of his wife and daughter. It is based on this that forms the first half of the novel. It is from this point that Kraft deals with David's rehab in a safe haven that forms the flavour for this first half of the plot. It has a dichotomy of flavours; patience, understanding, care, nurturing, affection, love from Sujin, but harshness, impatience, provocation, demandingness, strictness, discipline, routine, rudeness even racism from her father, Daek, in order to train him in martial arts and use his disability (blindness from the assassination attempt) as an advantage if he was to be targeted again by Takuma (Japanese crime boss) and his henchmen. During the years that David is in the Baek family, he also learns to deal with the death of his family and adjust to being blind and I felt that Kraft had depicted his grieving pretty well and I felt for him despite not knowing what it would be like to lose your wife and child for any reason, let alone it be by murder.

I loved the romance that developed between David and Sujin. I have said this in other reviews that it seems male authors can be just as good as their female counterparts (maybe even better in some novels!) at creating romance. Kraft has joined the club here! On the other hand, I disliked the attitude and behaviour of Daek towards David in training him for his future. I know that this is what it can be like in training in martial arts, but it was a tough read. 

As I stated, the second half of the novel is very different from this first and we not only have a different geographical location, but a very different David Granger. Now returned to America, he has a new name, is a very talented street musician, it is hard to recognise him as the same David Granger from his previous life as husband, father and prime witness in the court case against Takuma. At first I felt that I was dealing with two different people but once you get to know this new man called Doboro, you realise that Kraft has maintained the same person in this new persona. The more you read, the more you become endeared to Doboro and I felt that I liked this version of David Granger more than the original from the first half. In that half, I felt sympathy for what had befallen him and admired his tenacity and strength of character to endure his rehab and accept the loss of his family. In this second half, I despaired for him having to start again in a whole new world with his blindness, martial arts training and new environment, but I grew proud of him as he established himself with confidence from using his martial arts training and enhanced senses from this training and consequence of his blindness to do this and also his musical training during his rehab.

However, I knew from the description that he discovered that his daughter was, in fact, alive and he needed to protect her from Takuma's henchmen. I had mixed feelings about this as I wanted so much for Doboro to admit that he was her father from the time he met her but, on the other hand, I found it very hard to read him keeping this for her in order to protect her.

The author admits that this novel is not an overtly Christian one and I would agree. However, Kraft has included themes of why bad things happen to good people, being angry at God for what happened (to David), God's healing, and generally how adverse events can challenge, yet enable a relationship with God grow. By the end of the novel, both Drew and Doboro have developed a better relationship with God and understand Him better. I do get the impression that more of these themes will be explored or existing ones developed more. I am looking forward to this.

Kraft successfully creates the world of teenagers in Drew and Mercy. They compliment each other. Mercy is the ever cautious one, albeit judgmental as evidenced by her attitude to Doboro being "a bum", she is the one who does not take risks, but Drew does, she is more impetuous and spontaneous. I like the way that you know you are dealing with teenagers, not because the author states so, but how he has depicted them in language, culture, speech and behaviour. 

I guess any reader of this novel would be expecting the inevitable attack from Takuma's henchmen in this second half and Kraft keeps us waiting to the end forming a cliff hanger type ending, but I learnt from his Facebook page that a sequel very soon will be released. This conflict ties us some loose plot lines but also sets the stage for more. I am looking forward to this. 

Another fine Christian novel from the creativity of Kevin M. Kraft. 

Highly Recommended. 5/5

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Interview with Robert Roush

When I came across In The Image of Man (Unseen Dominion Book 1)I had a feeling that this would be a very different angel versus demon, spiritual warfare novel and I decided that if this was so, it would be worth interviewing the author, Robert Roush. I am glad I did, as my feeling was correct. Roush has taken this genre to the next level in plot, characterisation, spiritual warfare, and the supernatural. However, what also struck me running through all this, was the depth of his relationship with God and his love for discipleship and Christian living. 

I believe that every novel you read, you are seeing part of the author's heart, mind and personality. I definitely saw this from Robert as I read this novel. 

So sit back, and let Robert Roush reveal to you his desire to write this novel, his journey to published author and how he wanted to reflect as much as possible what he knows about God and his relationship with Him and explore the themes of spiritual warfare and other aspects of In The Image of Man


Thanks for stopping by, Robert, now let's start with you telling us a little about Robert Roush, the person.

I grew up in a Christian home, which you might say was born out of tragedy. My birth mother passed away the day after I was born, due to complications. God used this tragedy to get my dad’s attention. As a result, he took a deep look at the lifestyle he wanted to model for his newborn son. The following year, my dad remarried and I grew up with a strong Bible-based family.

Fast forward to when I was 19, I married my now wife of twenty-six years. Yes, we married young. It was the best decision I’ve ever made, with the exception of following Jesus Christ. We have five children, ages 11 to 22, three sons, and two daughters. At one point, we had four teenagers in the house at the same time. Now, that’s excitement.

I’ve worked in the fields of engineering and software development for my entire professional career. Though for five years, I was the Pastor of Worship and Adult Discipleship at a small church. As a pastor and student of theology, I spent considerable time writing Bible studies, dramas, video scripts, and theology papers. After returning to full-time work as a manager of engineers and software developers, I decided to try my hand at the more creative endeavor of writing fiction.

This is a good start, Robert! Now some questions about your writing:

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always enjoyed reading. I believe that while non-fiction study can bring transformation to a person’s thinking, nothing speaks directly to the heart like story. Jesus modeled this when he devoted so much of his ministry to teaching with parables.

I’ve been blessed with a creative personality type, the spiritual gift of teaching, and a talent for writing. I’ve taught through formal teaching and preaching, demonstrated creativity in my engineering and software development, and I’ve written all forms of material. Yet, I see being an author as the unique blend of all that God has created me to be.

You are a new author. How did you come to construct your novel? Authors tend to use one of the following methods:

-by extensively plotting it out (plotter),
-or as it came to you (pantser, that you write by the seat of your pants) or was it a bit of both?

I’m definitely more of a pantser. I tend to start with a concept, usually a question. (For example: If mankind succeeded in cloning a humans, would God give them souls?) From the concept, I just pick a character and follow them through the intriguing world created by the premise. As ideas occur to me, I jot them down and keep going. By the time I’m about half way through, I have a pretty solid mental outline of where the story is going, though, at times, the characters decide to take a different route than I plan. Through notes and multiple editing rounds, I try to tie everything together from start to finish.

How has writing and being an author impacted your relationship with Jesus Christ and vice versa?

As with any ministry endeavor, you quickly discover that you can’t do it in your own strength. Whether it’s carefully weaving the principles of God’s sovereignty and forgiveness into a complex storyline, creating characters that have real-world problems and flaws, or attempting to reach the readers who might benefit from reading it, a prayerful dependence on God is a must. As a result, both the author and his creation are shaped by the Creator through the process.

Do you have a favorite genre that you read?

Mystery, suspense/thriller, sci-fi, speculative, fantasy, I enjoy most anything with a solid storyline and an intriguing premise. While I certainly prefer novels with a Christian worldview, I feel there is much to learn about people, and the world we live in, from secular writing as well. I try to read a variety of authors, well-known and unknown. As long as the writing is clean and appropriate, there is always something to be learned that can sharpen my own writing.

What have you learned about becoming an author?

Being an author is hard work. I remember the days when writing a 500 word paper for school seemed daunting. Writing a novel is like writing 200 of those papers, tearing up 50 of them, and rewriting 40 of the 50.

And writing the story is the easy part. As an indie author, you need to be adept at writing, editing, proofreading, graphic arts, promotion and marketing, and business. Choosing the indie route isn’t the easy way out. You need to be highly motivated, and it can’t be by money, success, or fame. There has to be a bigger reason to stay with it.

Have you always found writing to be an easy or difficult feat? What have you done to improve your writing? Writing course, NaNoWriMo?

Writing has always come relatively easy for me. On the other hand, when I first started writing fiction, I had no idea what I didn’t know. Even after I learned the basics like POV (point of view) and “show don’t tell,” there was still so much more to learn. One example would be going deep into the POV character for each scene to ensure that everything that is said, thought, and narrated comes from that POV character.

Much of what I’ve learned has come from attending multiple ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conferences. Being exposed to the wisdom of so many experienced authors, agents, and editors proved invaluable to me. In addition, I try to read regularly, both other novels and books about writing novels.

I have also found myself reading heavily about people. Understanding psychology, personality, and expressions of emotion all serve to create real characters and reactions to the world you immerse your characters in.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Aside from my “day job” and writing, I serve at church—coaching other leaders, and mentoring soon-to-be-married couples. Currently, I also serve on our Elder board. I love to travel with my wife, and having five children keeps us just a bit busy. Oh, and in all my spare time, I love to read.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

This may seem a bit odd, as the best piece of advice is something I’ve not yet proven to be true. But, one of my highly-accomplished author friends told me that the best promotion tool for selling my book was the next book. This advice helped me move on with writing the sequel to In The Image of Man, despite feeling there is still so much more potential for the first book. I guess only time will tell whether the advice proves out.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

As I eluded to earlier, I would say it is really important to examine your motives for writing. There needs to be a sustaining purpose bigger than success, money, or fame. It won’t always be easy and you need a motivation to keep you pressing onward through the difficult times.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

Based on your review of In The Image of Man, I’m guessing this won’t be a surprise. Frank Peretti’s writing is without a doubt one of the major influences in my writing. His powerful Darkness series had a profound impact in my life, revitalizing my prayer life and drawing me deeper in my relationship with Christ. It is truly my desire that others may one day say that about my own writing.

What tools have you found most successful in advertising or marketing yourself and your novel?

This is definitely an area I’m still working on. With a limited budget and no big-name authors or publishers promoting my work, I have found social media connections to be my strongest marketing tool. You never know when you might connect with a blogger, who will write a compelling review or interview you for their blog.

I have also found that free book giveaways are very effective in getting the word out about my book. It is still hard to tell how much this equates with improved sales. But, in keeping with my “best advice” from earlier, I do believe that building a readership will help with sales once there are multiple books available to readers.

You are the founder of Hearts of Compassion Publishing. Tell us about this Publishing company, why you founded it and the connection to your writing.

When I talk about having a bigger purpose for writing, this is mine. Hearts of Compassion is a small independent publishing company that I started with the purpose of directing the proceeds from my writing, and potentially other authors, to meet compassion needs around the world. This is motivated by Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’” – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
My desire is that readers would see HoCP as a source for inspirational, high-quality stories, and take comfort in knowing that their purchase also makes a tangible difference in someone’s life. Currently, all proceeds from In The Image of Man, and soon book two, Restoration’s Journey, go to provide clean drinking water to places around the world where this is a desperate need. Every hardcopy sold provides clean water for someone for a full year, and an ebook provides about six months. To date, we have been able to provide clean water for about 135 families for a year.

Now let's discuss your novel, In The Image of Man.

Not having any previous experience as an author, did you have any help/mentoring in the development of the plot, characters, flow, depiction of angel/demons, spiritual warfare, or the development of the supernatural?

From the perspective of plot and flow, I wouldn’t say I had much guidance beyond being an avid reader and knowing what I enjoy seeing in the stories I read. Character development, along with deep character POV, is probably where I received the most instruction. This occurred through reading what other writers, agents, and publishers had to say on what works for them. I had some critical feedback from critique partners. And, the ACFW conferences were the most instrumental in shaping my writing.

As far as depicting the angels, demons, and spiritual warfare, I primarily relied on what we are told in Scripture. Obviously, Scripture gives more detail as to their motivation and purpose, than appearance. I did my best to be consistent with what is said, and then to extrapolate a believable portrait of the rest. The other factor that played into my development of this aspect of the story is the historical treatment of the supernatural. This included Peretti’s portrayal in his writing, myriads of historical paintings and statues, and even some more modern portrayals such as movies and television.

You went on a cruise to The British Isles for your 25th Wedding Anniversary last year and you saw a huge number of statues of Angelic and Demonic creatures. You state on your blog,
This got me thinking about how much our "modern" society has moved away from an awareness of the spiritual realm at best, or even a belief that such a realm exists at worst. First, this belief requires a significant ignorance or at least reinterpretation of the Bible. We are witnessing in our culture what C.S. Lewis called the "Materialist Magician" in his work, The Screwtape Letters. People are willing to accept psychic abilities, the untapped power of the mind, the paranormal, but not the angels, demons, and spiritual realm of the Bible. The enemy rejoices at such an illogical worldview.
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement and it supports the view that satan's biggest deception is that he does not exist. You certainly show that the opposite is true in this novel, that satan does exist, as does the spiritual realm of the Bible. Yet, the true spiritual realm is what the Bible says about it, not what you have listed above or what is portrayed on TV, and in other forms of the media, such as by paranormal, non-Christian authors or those who dabble in the occult. Any further thoughts on this?

Only that my concern isn’t as much with what the world at large believes about the existence of the spiritual realm, but rather what we as followers of Christ believe, or maybe more accurately, what our lives say about what we believe. Do we live as if we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy, where God’s Word and prayer are the primary weapons? Or do we live as if other people are the enemy, where debate and isolation are our weapons? Jesus called us to love God and love others. Our battle is NOT with flesh and blood.

In that same blog post, you also say,
I will be the first to admit that In The Image of Man is a novel. It is a work of fiction and at times I take liberties that divert slightly with how I would likely interpret certain aspects of theology with regards to angels and demons. However, I cringe anytime the book is thought of in the category of fantasy. To me, fantasy implies a made up world that doesn't really exist. I prefer the category speculative fiction. I believe the realm exists, but my interpretation and portrayal is certainly speculative.
I would say that your novel is not just speculative fiction, but edgy, as well, and therefore, classed in an emerging and evolving genre called edgy Christian speculative fiction. I understand your concern of the fantasy classification and I agree with you. Classifying it fantasy, takes away from the truth and reality of biblical, spiritual warfare and in one sense undermines what it is and taints the whole truth and reality of the Bible as well. However, on the surface, I can see why this fantasy classification is applied, when a subject matter such as this, does not obviously fit in other genres, the fantasy classification is applied. Any further thoughts or comments?

I think you’ve pretty well summed it up. I would only reflect back on my previous comment about Jesus using parables to instruct. It would seem that these parables were not actual occurrences but rather situations created to challenge the listener to consider the implications. Regardless of the genre classification, my only desire is that the reader does not read my writing and think, “well, that was cool,” and then toss it into the same mental bin as all the other fairy tales they’ve heard over the years. But, ultimately the impact of any story on a person’s heart is the work of the Spirit, not mine.

One aspect of your novel that really impressed me was the inclusion of other topics such as romance, infidelity, forgiveness, trusting God, why does God allow bad things to happen, reconciliation, brokenness, sexual temptation, obedience and submission to God. All these in various sub-plots but with a strong connection to spiritual warfare principles (prayer, bible reading, spiritual discernment etc), and the main plot of the novel. In my review, I stated,
Through all these characterisation and situations, they are all connected to the spiritual warfare elements and provide for one very cohesive, smooth flowing plot. Sometimes these subplots can derail the main plot and make it very disjointed by not in this novel. Roush is one very good plotter here and this novel reads like it would as if the reader was observing all these events in real life.
Did you find it hard to connect all these subplots together? What was your purpose in including these subplots when their very inclusion could have derailed the main plot and made it disjointed as I stated? I am not complaining, mind you, as the inclusion of these topics as sub-plots added some great layers of suspense, action, and realism to the novel and in depicting a realistic Christian's life. Looking back on ITIoM, I cannot imagine this without them.

First of all, thank you for your kind words about the novel. I wouldn’t say that I included these subplots for the sake of having subplots. Rather, it is these aspects of the characters’ lives that make them real. Each of us has a complex matrix of strengths and weaknesses, positive achievements, and failures we want left in the closet. These are what make us unique. So, giving the reader a glimpse into these aspects of the characters’ lives helps make them unique and relatable.

That being said, I probably could have woven a few less subplots. In fact, Restoration’s Journey, the sequel to In The Image of Man, has a more personal, less epic feel to it. And as such, I’ve woven less subplots into the story. Though there are several. But, the presence of these perceived subplots in Image is primarily a result of what I view as the prevailing theme of the story. Even bigger than the topic of spiritual warfare, my primary purpose for this story is to communicate God’s sovereignty and forgiveness.

If humanity clones people, would they have souls? That is up to God, the true Creator. It’s His choice. Do we who cheat and lie, envy and steal, hate and kill, ignore injustice and look the other way, deserve God’s forgiveness? No. But, in Jesus, He offered it anyway. God has every right to act as He chooses. Yet, He loves us enough to want what is best for us. That is the true theme of this story.

I found the romance element between Chris and Sarah one very refreshing plot line. I like romance in a novel when it is a 
subplot and not the main, dominant theme. You have done well in this novel to have this as well as the other sub-plot lines mentioned in previous question balanced against the main theme of spiritual warfare. What was your purpose for including romance in this novel? It was something I was not expecting! And by the way, you develop romance very well. Men can be and are just as proficient at writing romance as female authors!

Romance is a great way to demonstrate God’s love for us. We are created with a longing to be loved and cared for. This is why most enduring stories have a strong plot or sub-plot of love. This could be a romantic, brotherly, or parental love. Without some aspect of this, I believe a story would be missing a vital dimension of humanity. As with so many other aspects of writing, the key is to have this aspect be real and believable, not sensationalized and over-done.

In other spiritual warfare novels and those based on the Peretti format, the demons want to rule over mankind as part of their rebellion against God and their hatred of man. However, you have introduced a very interesting twist on this in the form or cloning of humans as a way to further mock God, imitate His creation and control the human race. Where did this idea come from?

That’s a good question. God has given me a unique mind. I love to ponder the mysteries of God and His creation. Much of my life has been a mix of seemingly conflicting contrasts. Science and theology, logic and art, sci-fi and romance, you name it. So, as I wandered down the mental trail of cloning, the existence of the soul, demonic activity, and the human will, I found this unique storyline developing.

As for the distaste that demons must have for the grace and forgiveness that God has offered humanity, this concept was expertly addressed in the novel Demon, by Tosca Lee. I believe her book had a significant impact as I considered the motivations of the demons and their work in my story.

I was really intrigued about this cloning issue as I recently read a novella called Parmenter's Wager by Terri Main. In this novella, a human clone grew up with Christian (foster) parents and she admits to her Pastor that she is a clone and asks him the question, Does she have a soul? The Pastor does not know the answer as this is uncharted territory, (even in today's timeline), so he uses the theory of Pascal's Wager to address this issue.
Pascal's Wager (or Pascal's Gambit) is the name for an idea that Blaise Pascal had. He said that it is not possible to prove or disprove that God exists. Therefore, it is better to bet that God exists. If God existed, and the person believed in God, he would be rewarded (with happiness forever); if the person did not believe, he would be punished (with what is called eternal damnation). If God did not exist it would make no difference. For this reason, it would be better to believe in God, Pascal said. Indeed, Pascal strongly believed in this ideal.
(https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager).
You have taken a very specific tact in that you have God denying these clones a soul as they are not created by Him and are an abomination of satan. This is one very controversial issue. Your tact is similar to what some theological and Bible students believe about demons, that they are the spirits of the deceased Nephilim (Genesis 6:4) and are earth- bound and are denied salvation or a soul as they are not directly created by God. Have you had any negative feedback/criticism about this?

As mentioned previously, my desire was to emphasize God’s sovereignty. It is He who breathed life into Adam. It is this breath of God that makes us unique from the animals. So, can mankind create life, apart from God? I don’t believe so. It is His choice.

And, the story isn’t over, either. This issue continues to be examined throughout the twists and turns of the sequel.

As for the Nephilim, as I’m sure you know, there is much debate regarding the meaning of Genesis 6:4. I would probably be more conservative in my interpretation of that passage than many. Though 2 Peter 2:4 certainly provides grounds to infer some level of demonic involvement in the events of Genesis 6. It is this involvement that I lean on in my novel.

I haven’t had any real criticism about my interpretation of the supernatural realm. However, I suspect this is more due to a somewhat limited readership to this point. I would not be surprised to receive critique on some of the presented, or even perceived, positions from a theological perspective. God is a God of mystery, thus none of us should ever presume to understand the things of God without any room for error.

Why did you have God intervene personally during the final confrontation between the demonic, angelic and Christian forces at the end of the novel? Again, I found this a very refreshing element as this does not happen very often in other Christian novels of spiritual warfare that I have read.

God is the Creator who with just a spoken word created everything that exists. Too often, we see the battle between good and evil as some unending war born out of parity, a dualistic striving. Satan desired to rise to equality with God. Yet, even he knows that he is merely a created being. There is no battle for supremacy when the infinite all-powerful God goes up against His finite creation. The enemy’s attempts are more of a misery-loves-company effort. Their only real way to “hurt” God is to break His heart by drawing His beloved creations away from Him.

While this divine intervention approach is risky and required setup to pull off, it seemed most appropriate to present this God-is-in-control solution, when addressing a theme of God’s sovereignty.

Another aspect that impressed me about your novel is how you have depicted the angels. You have them depicted as they are in the Bible, messengers, warriors and guardians. I find it annoying when they are depicted as lustful, self-seeking, autocratic beings who exist on their own, make their own decisions apart from God and who have no problem falling in love with human women! Depicting them as they are biblically adds another layer of realism and biblical truth to your novel. In this way you are honoring God, the Bible, and educating the reader on bible truth and doctrine. Your thoughts on this?

I don’t really have any additional thoughts, but to agree and say thank you. You’ve described my intentions.

Who is your favorite human character? Angelic character? Who was the hardest to develop?

Favorite character? That’s like asking, which of your children is your favorite? No, but really, I would probably say that Sarah is my favorite human character. As a reader, and yes, even the author, you tend to put yourself in the shoes of the protagonist (Chris). This means that I developed a desire to care for and protect Sarah. Though my wife did ask me, “what are you putting that poor girl through now?”

As far as the angels go, I’d probably say that Huw was my favorite to write. I enjoyed his wisdom and the hints of a Welsh accent.

The demons were the hardest to develop, as I needed to make them evil, self-serving, and blasphemous while keeping the book appropriate for a broad Christian audience.

Any of the characters based on yourself?

I always love this question. Absolutely, all of them. Well, at least all the humans. As an author, I think a bit of myself ends up in every character, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though, in the characters these traits are often more extreme.

I wouldn’t say that any one of the characters in primarily based on me. And, I certainly hope that very little of myself ended up in the portrayal of the demons.

Without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect from the next book in this series?

As I’ve indicated, the second book takes a more intimate perspective on the question of God giving, or not, souls to the mims (acronym for the human clones, Manufactured Image of Man). The story follows twelve-year-old Ima as she flees from CeSiR Tech. What would it mean to be one of these abominate creations of science, in a world that would not possibly understand? How do you run from forces you can’t see?

A majority of this story takes place in parallel to the storyline of In The Image of Man.

Other than the Dominion series, is there a new project in the works?

I have the first book of another series about half written at this point. This book does not contain the direct look into the spiritual realm like the Unseen Dominion books. However, it does center on the premise of a man being able to see the state of a person’s soul. The tentative tagline is, “If you could see into people’s souls, would you dare look in the mirror?”

I am trying to discern whether to publish this new book before working on the third, and probably final, book of the Unseen Dominion series, or not. In fact, I may even weave the two storylines together at some point. I guess, we’ll all have to wait to see what God has in store for us.

What take home message do you want readers of the In The Image of Man to embrace?

We are in a spiritual battle and there are no neutral parties. God has called us to prepare and participate in the battle before us. Ephesians 6 gives us some very specific instructions for how to prepare and participate. But, we do not need to fear. God is in control. The war is already won, in Jesus. Our battle is to tell others about the Good News of His victory.

Where can readers find you?



Facebook – Rob. Roush

Twitter – AuthorRob

Goodreads – Robert Roush

Amazon Author page – www.amazon.com/Robert-Roush/e/B00IX52GS8

Any closing comments?


Just to say, “Thank you!” It is such an encouragement to come across readers that both liked the book and are willing to commit some of their time and energy to promoting it.

Robert, it is my pleasure to promote your book as I thoroughly enjoyed it as you not only entertained me but encouraged my faith and reinforced biblical principles of spiritual warfare. That was one very engaging interview and I am sure readers will agree with me that we received more than a glimpse of what makes you tick as an author and your passion for honoring God in your writing and adhering to biblical principles. I look forward to all of your future writing. You are one author I am now following.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Invasion of the Ninja (The Adventure Chronicles, Book 1) by Jeffrey A. Davis


Invasion of the Ninja (The Adventure Chronicles Book 1

Jamie and Yoshi are late twentieth century members of the Funakoshi ninja clan who were trained by Yoshi’s uncle, Tanemura Funakoshi. When the Waruiyatsu, a sinister clan with an ancient grudge, attack Jamie’s high school and hold his classmates hostage in an effort to bring Tanemura and his two students into the open, Jamie and his clan sister are forced to attempt a rescue. 


Going along are a close group of friends, each with his own interest in the fighting arts. From Dave, whose muscle-bound frame and love of a good scuffle are overshadowed by his cheerful personality and kind heart, to Buster, whose Bible is his greatest weapon, each of their friends has a loyalty to them and each other that is stronger than the Waruiyatsu can ever fathom.

This is a story of courage, friendship, and faith ....

The Guru's Review:

This will be my first novel involving martial arts, the first one combining this with Christianity and the first from this author.

I have not had much to do with martial arts, maybe only what I have seen in the movies/TV, so I will have to take what the author says as gospel so to speak as far as the terminology, practice and culture of this discipline.

Now based on this, Davis makes a very convincing case in his depiction of the behaviour and practice of the ninja's martial arts discipline, especially the fight scenes. In the former, I could see that the training in this discipline had contributed to these teenagers having greater maturity and focus for their age not just on the events in their daily life but especially in the terrorist/hostage situation that the Waruiyatsu clan has inflicted on them. In the latter, Davis may have an advantage over other authors as these have to learn how to write fight scenes or write them blind but due to the nature of martial arts and having grown up in this culture, Davis would have known what and how to write these scenes. And he does this very well. Sometimes I struggle to follow descriptions of fight scenes but Davis has created them realistically and simply and I could picture it much easier in my mind than in other author's fight scenes.

The prologue provided a very sound background to the feud between the Waruiyatsu and Funakoshi clans that visits Tanemura Funakoshi and his clan, including protégé Jamie Raleigh who is not part of this clan. This storyline would have fallen flat otherwise and the plot would be reduced to both clans fighting for the sake of fighting and this is not what martial arts is about. I appreciate Davis' commitment to the realism of martial arts and honouring this disciple. Makes for a convincing and credible plot for the reader.

I noticed in some of the reviews that there seems to be some criticism of Davis for combining martial arts with the tenets of Christianity, that both are incompatible with each other. Maybe on the surface it is reasonable to think like this but upon further inspection I don't feel this argument holds up. From what I can see about martial arts, it is about self-defense, as well as building self-confidence and developing self-control. Any program that has as it aim to equip someone to defend themselves if physically threatened is a good thing. I don't believe that as Christians we need to do nothing if we are attacked physically (or even verbally for that matter). If a Christian's health and safety is violated, they have the responsibility as steward of what God has entrusted to them, (their life, body, family, job, possessions, money, ministry, various roles: parental role, spousal role and gender) to look after this and honour it as part of who He made them. Not fighting back gives the offender unnecessary power and condones their behaviour. If any training, in this case, martial arts, equips a Christian to achieve this, then I cannot see how this conflicts with Christianity. In this novel, that is all the Adventure team were doing, defending themselves and their fellow students from the terrorists that threatened them and put their health and safety at risk of death. Any terrorist that was killed in defending against their attack is all part of self-defense.

Putting this serious issue aside, I found this novel to be a fun read. I like the characters and Davis seem to have a knack for depicting teenage characters as teenagers and the dynamics that go with their relationships. Seeing this is a young adult novel, this novel succeeds. I pray that the spiritual aspects of this novel encourage the young adults that read this novel and the subsequent ones in the series. It was impressive to have one of the teens, Buster, the Adventure group's resident spiritual leader, lead the group in prayer at the most critical moments of the offensive against the terrorists and have them respond sincerely exercising their faith. To me, this seemed to not only encourage this group to trust God in this situation but to also receive His guidance to counteract them relying on their ninja skills and training alone. I also found it significant that there was a specific aspect of their prayer to allow Him to control their martial arts skills and training and they would stay within this boundary.

The only aspect that concerned me was the plot development concerning the students held hostage in the school. This came across as if they were on a school camp rather than the seriousness of being held against their will, with their freedom curtailed and future is grave doubt. What reinforced this was the lack of frequent instances to show how it would be for them.

Apart from this, I was very much taken with this story and am glad there are two more novels in the series to enjoy and be transported to the world of teenage ninjas.

Strongly Recommended (4/5 stars).

Sunday, 11 October 2015

In The Image of Man (Unseen Dominion, Book 1) by Robert Roush


In The Image of Man (Unseen Dominion Book 1)

When Officer Chris Davis, of Arrow Springs, Missouri, rescues a young woman from a mysterious attacker, he steps into the center of a spiritual showdown. Following his heart, and a trace of circumstantial evidence, he embarks on a collision course with a government research facility and an unseen foe.

One year before Dolly the Sheep, three humans were cloned in a small town in Missouri.

Twenty-five years later, THEY'RE READY!

The Guru's Review:

If there is one thing that I dislike immensely is reading Book 1 of a series then having to wait for Book 2 when this first book has entertained me immensely, uplifted me spiritually and reinforced spiritual truths from the Bible. All the three things that I expect to see and like to see from Christian fiction. This author delivers this with ease and expertise. Quite a feat and talent for his debut novel.

This novel is predominantly about spiritual warfare between angels, fallen angels and humans. If anyone has read Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing The Darkness, they will understand what this novel is about and how it is structured. This novel is up there with Peretti and all the other authors who have successfully gone down this path like Peretti.

I must say though that what I found refreshing about this novel is that Roush has added a different motive to the fallen angels quest for takeover. In other novels of this genre, it has simply been to usher in their agenda of control, deception and rule, but in this novel, Roush has escalated their agenda. The fallen angels do not just want to control by deception and spiritual bondage by leading Christian and non-Christian astray but by cloning the human race, effectively making them almost similar to the Nephilim of Genesis 6: 4. In reality, Satan has made it his aim to counterfeit everything of God's creation in order to mock and defile God and His creation and this latest venture in this novel makes the reading more compelling, intriguing, and concerning.

I was impressed with Roush's premise that God would not give these clones a soul and for obvious reasons, that they are not created by Him, and I love the plot twist that Roush gives to Mael, evil fallen angel, to further mock and counterfeit God and his creation. This theme of whether a clone has a soul has some interesting ethics for mankind in reality and has already made it in another story by Terri Main, Parmenter's Wager: A Short Story, where she explores this from a Biblical/Christian worldview, but with some differences to the origin of clones in this novel.

The spiritual warfare aspects of this novel are well done. Roush is very much an advocate (as all Christians should be) of paying close attention to the spiritual warfare that exists around us that we cannot see, but experience its effects. This novel, like Peretti's, and all the others in this genre, is based on the biblical
verse that instructs,

Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12).
He, therefore, shows the power of prayer as evidenced by the prayer and bible study practice of the main character, Chris Davis, various church members individually and corporately, and Pastor Thomas, showing him being sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and being spiritually discerning and the power of fasting. I found this to be a great strength to this story and it is an important discipline of a Christian's behaviour and one to not take lightly. I applaud Roush for including this so strongly in this novel.

I loved the portrayal of Chris, main character, as a strong personality but also as one whose is totally reliant on God for direction and guidance in both his personal life and occupation. Nothing separating the two and this just adds to this character being portrayed as realistic and relatable and one Christian male role model, who is tempted sexually, has his doubts about faith, frustrated in his battle against the politics and deception of his own police force and the government research facility, but seeks repentance and forgiveness for these shortcomings. I love this in a Christian novel, the characters are real, and relatable and show Christians for who they are, real people with a fallen nature but who are works in progress from an ever patient and loving God.

Roush portrays the other main characters with similar failings but who find hope and restoration in God. Sarah battles through sexual abuse by the killers of her parents, betrayal and mistrust of men and human relationships, loses her faith in God and humanity, but finds trust, hope, reconciliation with God through the example of Chris Davis who represents the protective, nurturing, and saviour like quality of Christ, and what Christian men should be like, while they both recognise their strong feelings of attraction for each other; Daryl learns that the only way to forgive himself is to accept the forgiveness of God as he realises his need for God as Saviour, Marilyn also finds that she cannot forgive Daryl until she learns to trust God and accept that she needs to let go of her bitterness and anger.

Through all this characterisation and situations, these are all connected to the spiritual warfare elements and provide for one very cohesive, smooth flowing plot. Sometimes these subplots can derail the main plot and make it very disjointed by not in this novel. Roush is one very good plotter here and this novel reads like it would as if the reader was observing all these events in real life.

Roush has portrayed the angels as you find them in the Bible, as messengers, warriors and guardians. Perhaps the most important part of their portrayal is their obedience to what God has instructed them to do in these three roles. They never act independently of God's instruction or of their own will or initiative. They may wonder why they cannot act in a certain way according to the what they can see should happen in the circumstance they are in, but they keep themselves in check knowing that God's intention and outcome for this circumstance may not be evident at the time. I loved the rapport that Roush has developed between them, they are a team, they respect each other, joke with each other, encourage each other and keep each other in check. Their obedience and submission to God and how they treat each other has important lessons for us as Christians in how we are to do the same and our relationship with God.

I really enjoyed this novel better than I thought I would. Roush has quite a talent for writing, for entertaining the reader, educating in spiritual warfare and the power of prayer, and honouring the Bible record of these matters and God himself. I believe that Christian fiction shows more of the heart toward God that an author has as evidenced in how he deals with his subject matter and from this novel, I can see that Roush is one very devoted, committed man with a heart after God's own, just like David of the Bible. 


I look forward immensely to the next instalments of this series.

Highly Recommended.


Friday, 9 October 2015

Novel Spotlight: Eden Undone by Anna Lindsay

Every now and then, a reader will come across a novel that grabs their attention and are struck with awe at the plot description. Some find themselves with their mouth open in incredulity, or that their mind just cannot accept the premise of the plot.

Such was the case when I discovered Eden Undone: What if Eve had said, 'No'? when it was advertised on one of the Facebook Author/Reader groups I belong to. My first reaction to the What if Eve had said, 'No'? question, was how much more edgy and speculative could an author get by targeting one of the main tenets of the Bible, that of Eve's temptation by the serpent that led to the fall of Man? What a great hook to draw a reader in than something like this? I just knew I had to investigate this novel further and its author. 

My opportunity offered itself in the aforementioned post when the author, Anna Lindsay, asked for support in promoting her novel and outlined her crowdfunding program. When I read this, I decided Eden Undone would be ideal for a Novel Spotlight. 

So what is Eden Undone about? Read on.......

What if... Eve had said ‘No’?
What if... they hadn’t eaten from the tree?
What if...?

This simple premise lays the foundation of Anna Lindsay’s imaginative and thought-provoking novel, Eden Undone. What would have happened if Eve had said, ‘No’?

The author paints a beautiful picture of life in Eden, of the unbroken relationship between humankind and Love Himself, as they walked and talked together in the Garden. The reader is drawn into the joy of the Dance, the intimacy of perfect relationship, the harmony of the whole of Creation, unblemished and unfallen, in a spellbinding tale of perfect unity.

Yet the enemy lurks, waiting for an opportunity to tear Paradise apart.

Later, when another is asked the same question, their answer will rip Creation in two, and the picture is changed beyond recognition. As the fallen face the inevitable consequences of their choice, we share the heartbreak of the unfallen, and of Love Himself, as humanity seeks to come to terms with loss, anger, disobedience – and death.

This ‘what if’ scenario is one that, surprisingly, does not appear to have been explored before. It is a story that Anna couldn’t believe had not already been written. ‘Hence,’ she says, ‘since no one else had yet written it, I needed to.’

By placing the story in the realm of ‘what if’, Anna continues, ‘it permits a meditation on fundamental biblical truths in a way which is simultaneously gentle and unthreatening, yet perhaps all the more thought-provoking precisely because they have been transposed to a safe environment. Readers find themselves mourning the relationship with God, Creation and each other, thrown away by the Fall; atheists have absorbed the message without antagonism, while Christians have come away with a new and refreshing reminder of His joy and grace.’

Eden Undone is a story of grace and joy, loss and sin, hope and redemption. It is accessible to all – from the age of 9 to 95 – and is enjoyed equally by Christians and non-Christians. It is funny and tragic, gentle and powerful, original and thought-provoking.

We are on a roll here, so let's see what some of the readers say about this novel:

“I found myself drawn into this book. Its story stays with you and works away at
a deep level. For me, the book worked like a meditation, allowing me to explore early Genesis - the completely natural and wonderful relationship between Creator and creation and the disaster of the fall unfolding. With so many brilliant details woven in, the creation story comes to life so that you are right behind the scenes getting a fly-on-the-wall perspective.

This book is beautifully simple, yet its richness continues to grow inside me. I
loved the way the author dropped in truth through conversation and her emphasis on relationship. There is living revelation in this book and reading it is like sitting down with God himself and allowing him to show himself to you. This is a book you will read more than once and recommend to others.” - Heather Cursham

This is one of the most wonderful reads I've had in a long, long time. Was
simply possessed by the language. Rankling with lesser creatures, isolationism and our address to offspring, EDEN UNDONE has convicted, startled and changed me. What if Eve had said 'no' to the Serpent?! ...Unbelievably poignant. I am already scheduling a second read! - By T Haggerty

I loved this book - I found I could not put it down! It made me look at the beginning of Genesis in a totally new light - really delving deep into the sheer joy and love of the relationship between Elohim, the Creator God, and His creation. It is beautifully and imaginatively written - it made me wonder, and cry, and smile in turn. I will definitely be recommending this to my friends! - By cd

Anna, use the following however you'd like! Enjoyed the book. Particularly found Glory's explanation of Judgment in Chapter 6 (Part II), and Cain's and Yan-i's inability to correctly judge, as an eye opener. Of course, there are little bits of this throughout the book, as I attempted to convey in my blurb below. Well done!
“Anna Lindsay’s mind is a garden where fertile imagination flowers into Eden Undone. In the tradition of great symbolic storytellers of the past, Anna takes readers on a journey through fantasy where relational realism explodes with color. Eden Undone is a story, not a theological treatise, but it helps the reader visualize what human relationships could be like without the curse of sin. It’s been said that “You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.” Here’s hoping that many experience a grace awakening while reading Eden Undone so that one’s reality is even better than one’s fantasy.” – private email from Wade and Rachelle Burleson, Istoria Ministries Blog (#30 in world rankings of Christian blogs) at www.wadeburleson.org
If all of the above has whetted your appetite, you can read some samples chapters here:

Sample chapters of Eden Undone:

NB. Throughout this book, names for God are used interchangeably, depending on which facet of His character is to the fore.
Glory, Majesty, Love… all these are wholly Him yet none by themselves encompass Him.

PART ONE

CHAPTER ONE

24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him;
(The Book of the Beginning 1:24-27)

Memories of memories, without shape or form. He was floating up, rising, surfacing through inchoate shadows. Fragments of impressions, feelings. Light and dark. Palms to rough bark. Knuckles on soft soil. Dust. Wordless sounds. And then – explosion of lucidity, consciousness. Opened eyes meeting the face of Love, radiating joy.
“Your name is Adam,” He said. “Welcome, my beloved!”
And: “Come. Come with me.”
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground —trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. […] 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
(The Book of the Beginning 2:8-15)
“I’ve got something to show you. Close your eyes,” He said.
The world moved.
“Look,” He said.
It was a garden. The man knew it was a garden, knew the word, knew the name. Garden. Eden.
There were trees. Trees of every kind, shape, and size, as far as the eye could see. And flowers. Riots of colour, exuberant cascades, shy petals in tiny nooks. A gentle breeze filled Adam’s lungs with the subtle afternoon perfume: nothing cloying, nothing clashing. A bird chirruped. Curious eyes turned to them, drew towards them. In the distance, some animal let out an ecstatic bugle of welcome.
And a moment of stillness, breathless, expectant.
“I planted it,” He said. “For you. Do you like it?”
There were no words. Words aren’t sufficient for first glimpse of beauty, first breath of awe. Only the heart that fills until it feels as if it could explode from joy.
Only a nod, and the heart that leapt.
God rejoiced.
And a thundering of hooves, pounding of paws, as noses nuzzled and soft fur touched. “Welcome,” they said. “Welcome. We have been waiting for you. Come and see! Come and see! Come and stay!”
“Will you?” He asked.
“Yes,” said Adam. “Oh, yes!”

CHAPTER TWO

13 …every precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz and emerald, […]
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.
So I threw you to the earth;
(Fragment: The Lord’s Lament)

He had kept most of the gems. Smuggled them out with him when he was cast out from Heaven. Idiot …One…, not to have realised that the gems were being sneaked out. Or worse, to have realised, and not cared. He couldn’t quite bring himself – not even now, when he was entitled to his fury! – to curse God. Not that it would be blasphemy, of course; how could it be, when that …One… had shown Himself to be so weak? It was simply that, well… and so what of it? It could not, would not, could not be interpreted as weakness on his own account. If anything, Lucifer thought, it was, well, proof that he had been maligned. And it certainly could not be taken as proof that deep inside he was aware of who (a pause. Even in his own thoughts he could scarcely bring himself to think of …that Being…) …the One… was. He was no mere throne bearer, worship leader, guardian of the holy places, cherub he! He, Lucifer, who by rights should be on the throne, not merely bearing it. He, Lucifer, the most beautiful in all the hosts of heaven: he who had been adulated by all, and called the bright morning star, son of the dawn. Even without the living jewels whose fire had reflected his beauty before and still showered him with their lustre now.

And power. For the umpteenth time, Lucifer nursed his bile against his Creator. What did that …One… know about power!? Power was for using. Power was for creating more power, bartering for what you could get, and simply grabbing what wasn’t up for exchange. Power was created by those strong enough to lust for it, strong enough to foment dissension, to weaken everyone else and to make oneself look bigger. Power went to the strongest. The strongest deserved power.

He could not have been created himself. Could not. Particularly not by that… that... …One… who had failed to surrender His throne to him. Granted, he had no specific recollection of what he’d been doing when light was separated from dark, and dark from light, but … but that did not mean that he was created. Or, even if he had been created, then certainly not by that… that weakling who occupied the throne and wielded the power he craved, the throne and power which should by rights be his…

Take the Earth. The Earth was supposed to be his. To use as he saw fit. To take the things he wanted. Such as more gems. He was certain that with gold and jewels one could accomplish all sorts of things. Precious stones reflected his beauty, dazzled and awed those around him. Especially the living jewels, the stones of fire, which adorned Heaven and in which he had clothed himself too. Granted, those he had smuggled out were losing their life and becoming …hard… but they were still precious. And still reflected his beauty. And still instilled awe. And where you could instil awe, you had power. And power... power was everything.

What use was power if you didn’t use it to exploit those around you, if you didn’t use it for yourself, if you chose instead to use it for others? Sign of a weakling, that was, and by the end, he’d even managed to convince others of the angelic host the same thing. Managed to convince them that he would run a far tighter ship if he were in power rather than the present incumbent. With, of course, the right incentives to those loyal to him…

Didn’t that count for something, that he’d succeeded in convincing some of the lesser angels that the power should be his?

And where were those beings now? Scattered. Weaklings.

He was surrounded by weaklings, that was the problem. Above and below… Why, even the fact that he’d been exiled from Heaven was proof of that impotent …One’s… weakness and stupidity. Now if he’d been on the throne, he’d have known the right way to treat a menace as powerful, beautiful, and, and, and powerful as himself. If the roles had been reversed, hah! then Heaven would have seen what Power truly meant. And he wouldn’t have been so idiotic as to leave his enemy running loose…

There, he’d said it. The… One… was… the enemy. All that faff that the… One… had said about grieving for Lucifer, all that mourning his so-called corruption, all that pleading with him to throw away his pride and come back to be forgiven. Forgiven?! How dare He? How dare He suggest that Lucifer was wrong? Or patronise him by mourning for him? Just signs of weakness, hypocritical cant to cover up a Lord too weak to do what needed to be done. Lucifer wasn’t going to fall for it. Would not be taken in by that pretence of love. Love? Even the word now tasted disgusting to him. Slimy. Lucifer spat. The horrid taste remained, and the churning of his insides. Love? Pah!

Well, He’d regret it, Lucifer vowed. Power was his by rights, and since the …One… had been so stupid to let him loose…

Nursing the dimming gems and his enkindling grievance, Lucifer beat his great wings and continued to roam the world of his exile.

CHAPTER THREE

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
(The Book of the Beginning 2:19-20)

They danced there with him, leading the way, showing him, welcoming him. “Welcome,” they cried, the merriest confusion of sizes and shapes and colours, ‘til he could scarcely begin to take it all in.

The colours alone – just glancing around him, why, if he’d been the one to create green, and it had occurred to him, then, well, perhaps a single shade? But here – just the greens alone, in too many shades to even begin counting. And that was just the greens. Every colour was a celebration of variety on its own: put together and the infinite colours sang of their Maker’s joy and unbounded exuberance. And then there were the textures. And the shapes! And the interplay of them all…! And then the animals! Fur and feathers and scales, rough and smooth, big and small!

He hardly even knew where to start. There was so much to do, so much to learn! It was so gloriously new, so endlessly challenging, so full of awesome wonder.

He put up his hand toward one of the leaves caressing his face. It was delicate, a fresh green, unfurled from a branch with smooth silvery bark. Birch.

But even as he was touching it, he became aware of a chorus of voices, getting louder by the instant. “We’re coming! We’re coming! Wait for us! Here, let us through! We’re here! We’re here!”

With a rush and a rustle of undergrowth, a parting of surrounding hoofs and paws, whiskered faces and feathered wings, two new somethings careened out of one of the bushes, through the throng, and hurtled against his legs in a flurry of silky fur, wet noses, wagging tails, and furred paws, bowling him over.
With a thump, Adam landed on the soft grass, laughing.

“Welcome! Welcome! Oh, welcome!”

It took a few seconds, but finally the two somethings succeeded in untangling themselves from Adam’s legs and each other, and Adam found himself looking at two pairs of excited eyes.

“Hello,” he said. “Er, I’m Adam. What about you?”

“We’re… we’re…”

They almost floundered for an instant, until He said gently to Adam:

“Actually, I thought you might like to Name them all. Who do you feel they are, Beloved?”

It was his first Naming. He could feel their Name shaping itself in his heart and mind. It was the right Name, he could feel it, the Name that belonged to them. “Dog,” he said.

The two bounded up. “We’re dogs! Yes! Dog! We’re dogs! Here, did you hear? Did you hear? He’s named us, he has! We’re dogs, we are!”

They chased each other ecstatically round and round the clearing, weaving in and out of the surrounding forest of legs and hoofs and paws, while Adam picked himself back up off the soft sward. One of them was so excited that he tumbled head over heels before continuing the romp, and then they both landed, panting, pink tongues lolling, back at Adam’s feet.

“We’re coming with you,” they said. “We’re here! We’re here!”

Adam laughed, rubbed their ears, and looked up into the next pair of great brown eyes, set in a long face with a velvet nose and a black mane. A happy whoosh of warm sweet breath fanned his face. “Lord Adam!”
“Horse,” he said, and with a joyful nicker, Horse made way for the next somethings.

They were all there, big and small, welcoming him, receiving their Names, while God beamed with delight.

Lion. Swallow. Elephant. Sheep. Mouse. Bear. Bee. Cat. Eagle. Rabbit. Giraffe. Beaver. Owl.

Glorious Tiger with her stripey hide.

Tall Serpent with his proud carriage and jewelled colours.

Cow and Bull with their glorious horns.

The pair of Squirrels with their pitterpatter of tiny paws, scampering and skittering along the branches, leaping featherweights from twig to twig, bushy red tails held high.

“We’re here too! We heard! We heard! Welcome, Lord Adam!”

Adam’s heart danced a jig of pure joy, and the soaring paeans of praise rising unprompted to his lips harmonised with the hushed choirs of angels above.

CHAPTER FOUR

You were […] perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: (Fragment: The Lord’s Lament 28:12)

And Eden. Eden should have been his. Was his by rights. He’d been there when the …One… was creating it.

The …One… had even asked whether he liked it! Of course Eden had been meant for him – why else would the …One… have shown it to him and to the other angels, if not because He’d secretly been intending to give it to him all along? And then… then to discover that it had actually been meant for that… that … creature! That weak, fragile little two-legged monstrosity that He’d created out of dust, raised from the mere fabric of the world itself, given life and consciousness by His breath! How dare He pass Lucifer over in favour of that…. that mud-man? He didn’t have the power that Lucifer had. Nor his perfect beauty. Nor his wings. Nor his position. He hadn’t been a throne-bearer to the Almighty. What right did that interloper have to… to usurp his rightful prize?

And to add insult to injury, now that he’d been banished from Heaven, he wasn’t even allowed back into Eden either! When anyone else could have plainly seen that Eden was his by rights, and that in mere deference to his former position, he should at the very least be given Eden to set up his residence. As… as an apology for the way he’d been shamefully passed over and then banished. Banished! When by rights his ambition should surely have led to his promotion! So Eden was, after all, his by rights – he’d set foot in it long before the …One… had created that thing. He’d been there first. How dare He then snatch it away again to give to that creature?

Well, if he couldn’t have Eden, then it was up to him to see that that creature wouldn’t have it either. Or the …One…. Lucifer would show Him. He’d see. He’d pay. No-one was going to mess with him.

And then, who knows, once he’d evicted that… squatter, then he’d have shown that idiot …One… just who had more power, he or the squatter, and then the …One… would see sense and give Eden back to him.

After all, Eden should have been his in the first place.
And if he couldn’t have it, then no-one could.

CHAPTER FIVE

9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(The Book of the Beginning 2:9)

Joy upon joy, awe upon awe, wonder upon wonder. Each step they took together, each corner they turned, each dell he explored in God’s company, it seemed to Adam that they came upon something new and more beautiful than the one before. Sometimes, he’d almost have walked past it had Glory not drawn his attention to it and opened his eyes to see it properly and share God’s passion for it.

It wasn’t just the animals who had different names and personalities, likes and dislikes. The plants did too, and during their walks together, Adam got to know each of them.

“This one,” He’d say, “likes your help keeping it trimmed,” and the vine put its pretty blush into its grapes.

Or:

“This is the Avocado. See how her fruit covers itself? Try it!” and so Adam peeled the glossy, nobbly black coat and tasted the perfect nutty richness within, buttery-soft and satisfying. They shared merry laughter when the fruit – so ripe that the coat came away in easy strips – skittered out of his hands and left a trail of green cream along his arms and down his leg where the fruit had slid. Adam rinsed himself in the nearby brook, cool and sparkling as it burbled along its bed, and flicked some of the water towards Dog, who had been bounding along beside them. Dog responded by plunging in and spluttering with delight, and the two of them enjoyed a brief splash-fest before emerging again, dripping, onto the bank, water diamonds glistening before the warmth of the sunshine dried them again deliciously. Dog decided that shaking himself vigorously and making the water droplets fly up in great arcs was almost the best bit about getting wet.

Cherries – huge, rich, black, bursting with flavour – became an instant favourite. And the flowers on the tree (for all the trees in the Garden had both flowers and fruit on them at the same time) also took his breath away with their beauty. Beauty down to the smallest detail.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden,” He said. “But you mustn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”.

“What does “die” mean, Lord?” he asked then.

A great sadness crossed His face. “It’s when someone is cut off from my presence, Adam.”

A chill ran down Adam’s spine. Cut off from Love’s true light? That… that would be like drawing breath and finding no air, opening his eyes and seeing nothing. Conceivable only in the dimmest fashion, but gut-wrenching even at that remoteness. No, dying was not something to which he felt drawn...
But then “Come, dearheart!” and the moment of the shadow of fear melted in the light of His Love, tucked away from experience and stored only in knowledge.

They bent down to speak to Mole, who had swum his way up through the rich soil to greet them and had now emerged, sneezing and blinking in the sudden sunlight, with his great shovel paws resting atop his little mound. Crumbs of soil still covered his velvet fur, and his nose twitched. “Welcome my Lords, welcome,” he snuffled. “My burrow is yours, if you’d like to visit? It’s cool and restfully dark,” he added, squinting in the unaccustomed light, and plainly convinced that any sensible being would be equally uncomfortable in so much blinding brightness. “If you give me a few minutes, that is, to make the hallways a little wider?”

Adam gravely thanked him, touched by the invitation, but reassured him that they were quite happy up here in the fresh air, and might find soil quite difficult to breathe.

“But there’s lots of air here!” defended Mole. “In between the soil. And the roots. I like roots,” he added. “The roots here are lovely. Ask the Lord. HE knows.”

Glory smiled, and assured him that indeed He knew; and Mole, finally convinced that the Lord Adam would not be joining him and Mrs Mole for tea, disappeared again in a flurry of earth as he burrowed back down again into the welcoming blackness, full of the clean scents of soil and roots.

And the Lord showed Adam how the loam crumbled, and spoke of the different types of soil and how this one was loved by such a tree, and that one was loved by that. Adam ran his fingers through the soil, feeling its beautiful texture, and marvelled anew at the vastness of God’s conception, that knew and loved every atom of this world He had created, from the depths of the earth, and the crumbs of the soil, to the trees that fed on it and the creatures that lived on – and in – it.

And Dog enthusiastically got his muzzle covered by the loose dirt where Mole had been, before deciding that perhaps he too was too large to breathe the air in between the soil and had perhaps better stay up top instead of taking up Mole’s invitation.


~~~~~~~~~~

We just cannot promote a novel without promoting the author as well, so let's discover a little about Anna Lindsay: 

Anna graduated from St.John's College (Cambridge University) and has worked everywhere from Hong Kong (as a volunteer working with Jackie Pullinger to help drug addicts) to temping in Switzerland and as a teacher in the UK. Health challenges forced retirement, since when she has served her community in a volunteer capacity including 16 years as a Trustee of a tiny local Registered Charity in the centre of Cambridge.

Anna has a little more to say about her novel, 
… Eden Undone is a tale of the love which never fails – whatever happens.

Suspend disbelief. Imagine for a moment that Genesis were literal. And then ask… what if Eve had said no? Murder, loss, abuse… yet through it all, love. From paradise to murder in a single generation: the simple “what if?” question leads to a story of sin and grace, loss and joy, hope and redemption.

It’s a tale accessible to all from young to old (readers so far aged 8-95…), and to all outlooks… It’s whimsical and thought-provoking, funny and tragic, gentle and powerful…
If you enjoyed the C.S.Lewis’ “Narnia” series, or Wm. Paul Young’s 
“The Shack”, you will love this novel.
Amidst all the postive reviews and feedback she has received about Eden Undone, there is on hurdle that she needs to overcome. 

As Anna explains,
I have a lovely publisher. And (I'm told!) a wonderful book. Unfortunately however, it appears that modern-day publishing has zero budget for actually promoting or marketing the books they release. So for anything to be taken seriously by media and retailers - ie., to raise the profile of Eden Undone - it's up to me... with your help. It's one of those "if you're noticed, you'll get noticed" catch-22 situations: once your book is in the public eye, there's a lot more chance of its staying there. I'm doing all I physically can to raise its profile in social media etc. But it's not enough; and a single smallish paid ad in the American "Library Journal" (a popular circular for libraries across the nation which usually takes precedence on the checkout desk counter and is highlighted for reading groups) costs $1200 *gulp* And that's just a single "special concessionary rate" ad 

in a single journal. A review in Kirkus: $575...Factor in others, and... 

But I also need to cover the cost of review copies to send to opinion makers, and everything else that I - ?and you? - can think of to raise its profile... The time window we have is incredibly short: it's much harder to build up momentum slowly than with concentrated ooomph to accompany its initial release. Hence this crowdfunding ahead of its USA release in November: I would love you to be part of this adventure!A stretch goal - if we surpass the original target - would be to be able to pay someone to work webmaster miracles on www.eden-undone.com, and paying for a full audio version to be edited... 

But with your help, we can do it. I'd love you to be a part of this book's journey. Will you? 
If you would like to support Anna in her CrowdFunding venture, click here: Support Eden Undone on CrowdFunding

You can find Eden Undone at these sites: