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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 new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Pay For My Sin: The Revelation Diary by Iryna K Combs


Maria is a Christian woman with one purpose – save her corrupt family from eternal death. As the apocalypse rages around her, she makes an unlikely friendship with one lost soul and the two women flee into the southern wilderness. Forced to take shelter in a long-forgotten church, they fight to survive as all hell breaks loose outside.

The Guru's Review: 


I was asked to review this novel by the author at the recommendation of a previous author whom I reviewed recently (Brett Armstrong).

I take this as a compliment. This novel is not the author's debut novel, it is her second. Her first novel, Black Wings, became an Amazon bestseller and a finalist in 2 different book awards. Quite a good start and introduction to my reading of her new novel. I was also drawn to the genre and the plot of this novel, eschatological fiction (end times), the supernatural and spiritual warfare.

This novel draws you in from the start. There is a quick introduction to Maria and her family which provides enough information and description to establish them as the characters that Mara ends up fighting for. Once this happens, Combs wastes not time in plunging the reader into the Rapture of the Church. Then the pace revs up and you hit the road running.

I was enjoying this novel up to that point. I was concerned at the plot twist of this Rapture description. I must warn the reader now that there is a major spoiler alert ahead, but I add this for one very specific reason. I don't believe it will totally spoil it for any reader but hopefully be a launching pad to continue with renewed enthusiasm. I must confess, I was aghast with surprise that biblical theology and I guess, “Rapture Theology” (my terminology, I think!) could be stretched to the limit that the author has.

Before I continue, I did contact the author and expressed my concern at what constituted this stretch and asked her to explain her rationale. I am reluctant to being “critical” in a review when I am unable to contact the author for an explanation. In this modern age, access to authors is easily accessible than previously and they are willing to be transparent to explain their work. Their credibility I guess is at stake, especially in today's publishing world. Their explanation helps me understand their mindset and enables me to review it honestly and fairly. I do state in the “Why Christian Fiction” tab on this blog about contacting the author for issues that I am concerned about or where the Bible is silent.

My concern was as follows. Here is the spoiler alert. Combs depicts the Rapture with Jesus appearing to Maria to take her to heaven. She is about to accept Jesus's hand when she falters, realizing that she cannot bear to see her family be left behind because they have not accepted Jesus as Saviour. She then decides to sacrifice herself by pleading with Jesus to take them to heaven in her stead and her to remain on Earth for the duration of the Tribulation until He comes again. Jesus grants her request. Her unsaved family goes to Heaven and Maria remains on Earth for the Tribulation.

I halted reading for a while as this plot twist threw me. It discouraged from reading further but then I decided to see how the rest of the novel would pan out. I got to half way before I contacted the author. I was anxious about what her rationale would be but was pleased that Combs had expected some flack from her poetic license. This to me, meant that she had weighed up the consequences of such a move and therefore would be open to discuss any concerns from readers.

She replied to me as follows, 

Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for writing and letting me clear out this part of the book. Yes, any Christian knows and should know that there are NO exchanging fates when the times comes...In fact, I do not think we will even have time to react, it would just happen. However, please, accept this book that I wrote as a Fictional book. And even though most of it is really close to the Biblical prophecies, the exchange part is what makes it speculative and twisted. Otherwise, how would someone left on the earth to pay for sins?

I feel like it makes the plot unique. I know this theme has been written about many times but I wanted to come up with something a little different....

The other thing I want to share with you is this.. the idea or an innocent woman staying in the earth to pay for her family sins came from my own thoughts. I strongly believe my family is saved but there for a while I was wondering what would I do for my loved ones. And that came to mind.... Thank God I would not have to do that, but I think many people, after reading the book, will realize how unfair it was for Maria and might want to think twice and hopefully work on their non-Christian families. I hope that makes sense.

As for criticism..... I am expecting to get a lot of that from non-believers that will stumble across my book and read it (if they finish, LOL) and as far as believers, that's fine too. I know this is NOT a book for everyone on this earth and people will critique no matter what I write. So far, the Christians that have read it, are fine with it and gave me good reviews and feedback.

I was satisfied with this explanation. It does show the author's mindset and that her stretch of Biblical theology relating to eschatology was not a defiant or an alternative stance from what the Bible states on this issue. As she states, it is purely within the confines of the nature of speculative fiction.

I was able to continue reading with assurance. The rest of the novel was sheer joy to read, despite depictions of horror and demonic activity. Combs has created a character-driven novel written in the first person narrative. Maria is one character that is very relational and three dimensional.

There are some novels where the first person narrative does not work, but in this novel, it works very well. Through Maria, we experience what it is like to live in the post-raptured world under the rule of the Antichrist with all the events of Revelation unfolding. In other novels of eschatology, it seems to be plot driven with the characters being part of the unfolding of Revelation so that the reader can see what happens to Christians and non-Christians alike. In this novel, I found it a breath of fresh air. The events of Revelation unfold in the background with the main focus on how this affects a Christian's faith. In other novels of this genre, we have Christian characters who are left behind because of their unrighteous relationship with Christ. Then there are those who become Christians during the Tribulation.

In this novel, we have a unique situation. We have Maria, a pre-raptured Christian who enters the Tribulation with her faith intact and being in a righteous relationship with Christ. From this perspective, the author uses this to show how it stands up against the attacks of Satan who now rules the earth. With every event from Revelation, every demonic and satanic attack through various means and events has Maria praying, seeking God's wisdom and strength. Her prayers at the end of the chapter that concern its events are very honest, genuine, uplifting and from the heart. They show her asking for forgiveness of her shortcomings and sin during this time, even when her faith is faltering as she is affected by the horrific, demonic and desperate times as Revelation unfolds. You feel her pain, despair, desperation, you experience her joy of knowing the Lord, the love, and security, reassurance she experiences from her faith, from prayer, from the many angelic visitations that occur that show God's faithfulness and protection and physical healing. Maria always looked toward Christ throughout every event of the seven-year tribulation. Even when she experienced those negative emotions mentioned previously, she took them to God and offered them to Him with praise and thanksgiving for who He is, and what He has done for her.

From this perspective, Combs is sending Christians a message of hope in this novel. The Great Tribulation is the worst attack and affront to a Christian's faith and relationship with Christ. Many of us won't experience this as we will be raptured, but through Maria, Combs shows what spiritual attitude and behaviour is needed to overcome the adversity of this fallen world. It is such an encouragement and spiritually uplifting experience to read through this novel. Through Maria, we see how her relationship with Christ can overcome the very worst of what life can deal. So based on this, we can also overcome what is going on in our lives in the pre-raptured world. What is the constant here? Jesus. The Word (Hebrews 13: 8) says that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is the key for the now of our lives and for those who will endure to the end during the Tribulation.

I really appreciated the Revelation timeline of verses and events that set the pace and plot of this novel. This aspect will aim to show Christians and non-Christians the events of Revelation and the associated Judgements and how they will affect every level of life during this Tribulation period. I found it interesting that despite the many supernatural events of the various Judgements having such a horrific and devastating effect on the environment and the human race, including Zara, her healing from some of the effects of these Judgements and the explanation from Maria of what these mean, she still did not see this to look toward Christ. So strong was the deception from Satan and the stubbornness of her will that she chose Satan's temptation over the liberating and saving grace of God. Even when an angel explained the specifics of Zara's deception, it shows how easily someone who does not believe can be lured away to eternal and spiritual destruction. I pray that this example will lead any reader who does not know Christ to see the folly of this and to be encouraged to see what the Bible has to say about it. I also pray that it reinforces in the Christian this principle as well and to use this to witness to their unsaved family and friends.

When the relationship between Maria and Zara deteriorated, it still did not deter Maria from upholding her to the Lord and asking Him to show her what to do to continue to be an example to her of His love. Again, I found this to be such an encouragement to not give up on people despite their circumstances or attitude that are leading them astray, even if they do not respond to God's call. It is like the act of forgiveness, our responsibility is to forgive whether we are forgiven back or not. For Maria and every Christian, our responsibility is to witness, pray and be there for those who are struggling or being rebellious despite the choice they make.

I really appreciated the spiritual side of this novel and the challenge in the message of this novel, to never give up but continually look toward Jesus in everything that occurs in our lives and to be submissive and obedient to him. More of Him in our lives and less of ourselves.

Well done, Iryna. I am definitely looking forward to more from this author. 


Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating 5/5 Stars

                             ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Spiritually, based on this review and on the following reference booklet,
 
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Pay For My Sin contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award Iryna K Combs with


The Reality Calling Spirit-filled Fiction Award


Congratulations, Iryna!


To preview an excerpt from this novel or to buy it, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons below:

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Author/Novel Spotlight: Timothy Michael Hurst

Today, I am highlighting new author, Timothy Michael Hurst. Timothy is the son of one of my favourite authors, Vikki Kestell. I have been blessed by her writing. From the description of The Kinsman's Tree, it seems that the writing gene may have been passed onto Timothy! I am very impressed with this description and it looks like this is going to be a great read.

The other reason I am highlighting him, is that he is a debut author and I like to promote new authors as they need all the support and promotion they can get, especially Christian authors.

So without any further ado, let me hand you over to Timothy. 

Thanks for dropping by, Timothy. Let's start with you telling us a little about yourself. 

I am a writer who believes that the life lived best is lived in service to God, and that only under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit one might produce a worthwhile work. I seek to craft entertaining, enriching, and inspiring tales that glorify the Lord in confidence that the Holy Spirit will use them to change lives and draw people closer to Jesus Christ.

In simply offering myself in surrender to the Spirit, I have discovered the satisfaction of worshiping the Lord as an instrument of the writing process. I believe my experience be confirmation of God’s calling on my life, and pray that each and every person is as deeply transformed in reading these stories as I was in writing them. To Him alone be the glory, for I am author of naught. 

Now let's have a look at The Kinsman's Tree. which will be released on June 19, 2017 first in e-book edition:

Introducing the first novel in an epic new adventure series from Timothy Michael Hurst, The Kinsman’s Tree. 

Enter a magical world where unlikely heroes battle strange and powerful enemies. The world has fallen under the dominion of the evil Empire of Chōl and its mysterious and threatening wraith army, the Nihúkolem. Hidden away in the village of Endego, a race of tiny creatures, the Etom, struggle to survive.

Join two Etom, Nat and Nida, on an intriguing journey to discover the origins of the Empire’s power and its undoing. Supernatural events guide them as they seek to solve the mystery and locate the world’s only remaining hope, the Kinsman.

Bravery, peril, romance, and meaningful truth abound throughout, artfully interwoven to maintain the excitement and interest of any reader. 

I asked Timothy why he wrote the The Kinsman's Tree: 

I wrote The Kinsman’s Tree to provide perspective on the damaging and oppressive effect of sin, and to share the Gospel of our available freedom from it (sin). I have incorporated several sub-themes as well, such as the restorative love of saints in community, and the self-sacrificial love of believers in a missional lifestyle.

If what you have now read has whetted your appetite for more, here is an excerpt. Timothy has also provided a reason for this excerpt: 

The below excerpt introduces a primary character, Mūk-Mudón, who is a dashing, charismatic warrior whose actions ultimately impact the entire world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~Start of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the clash of the cymbal, both threw their knives with blinding speed. The two throws were so alike in speed and trajectory that they zipped past one another, cutting the air over the center of the pitch in an “X” as they drove toward their targets. Mūk-Mudón’s knife, however, began to fall apart as it approached the target, though the speed of the throw was such that bits of his knife yet reached the dangling target, stirring it gently.

The more fortunate Imafel’s knife remained whole, and sunk deep into the target to Mūk-Mudón’s right, the tip of the blade piercing the target completely to show through its back side. The force of Imafel’s knife sent the target whipping wildly at the end of its tether, and Mūk-Mudón sighed in disappointment, awaiting the eventual sting of the migas once the target had stilled enough to activate the pounding mechanism.

On a peripheral level, Mūk-Mudón understood that even this lull as he awaited the migas’ painful sting was meant to shake his resolve. In the forefront of his mind, however, he was honestly rather excited to experience their sting. He had every expectation from the start he might endure the venom, and had found the effects on the prior contest’s loser interesting, to say the least.

Observing from the sidelines how much Mūk-Mudón was enjoying this, Belláphorus rolled his eyes, shook his head, and threw his hands in the air as he turned away from Mūk-Mudón.

Placing his hands on his hips maternally, he spun back around and pointed a finger at Mūk-Mudón, “I’m not carrying you around on my back all day! Not again!”

Without turning to look his friend, Mūk-Mudón waved, a slightly silly grin on his face. Imafel with chagrin recognized that his opponent wasn’t shaken in the slightest at the prospect of the migas’ sting. He glanced over at the large red-head on the sidelines, and smirked, happy to see he wasn’t the only one vexed.

All this passed in the few short moments as the target stilled. Overhead, counterweights ratcheted noisily and the hammer fell. Mūk-Mudón closed his eyes, ignored the gasps of the crowd, and fell deep into his own awareness. From the outside, it might have appeared that Mūk-Mudón sought to escape impending pain when, in truth, he shuttered all other senses to focus on the agony.

The hammer banged noisily into the right side of the box, and again the migas stirred, buzzing angrily inside. Mūk-Mudón felt the first set of mandibles sink into the flesh atop his right foot, then pain exploded across his perception, splashing searing, white light against the inside of his eyelids. He resisted the urge to withdraw from the torment, and instead bent all his will on exploring the plentiful misery, discovering its roots within flesh, nerves, mind, and heart.

Long ago, Mūk-Mudón had decided that pain itself was not an obstacle. Fear was the barrier to victory, cowering in consequence of pain, harm, and humiliation. This was a challenge he intended to overcome. For a few long moments, he endured silently, tears streaming uncontrollably down his face, and legs trembling. Finally, the waves of torment ceased to beat upon the shore of his awareness, and he opened his eyes to find the world quite a different place.

Mūk-Mudón blinked once, and then again, attempting to clear his vision, which the migas’ poison had distorted. While the center of his focus remained mostly clear, the edges of his vision swam and drifted, clouded in a yellowing haze.

It was distracting, and moderately disorienting, but not insurmountable. By shifting his focus, he could yet make out the knives before him, Imafel across from him, and the targets overhead his opponent. Shifting his focus, however, revealed more difficulties, as his focus invariably drifted loosely past his intended target, requiring he correct his focus again, yet gently so as not to scoot past what he wished to see clearly.

It was a tedious effort, and one in which he would have failed if not for his prodigious willpower. Once he had affixed his focus to a target, it was difficult to keep it there, as at random his gaze might meander. His eyes having wandered a few times, the image of the old spectator striking the side of his head sprung to Mūk-Mudón’s mind. He chuckled, again unsettling Imafel, who had yet to see an adversary laugh after feeling the migas’ sting.

Mimicking the old man, Mūk-Mudón batted the side of his head with a palm, and found it quite effective in correcting his vision. Momentarily pondering the codger’s lazy eye, Mūk-Mudón wondered if the fellow had also been stung a time or two, perhaps leaving his vision permanently stymied. No matter. Right now, Mūk-Mudón intended to win the contest, if only to prove to himself he could, and so reached for one of the knives before him.

It was then that he discovered just how much it seemed the venom had sapped his physical strength. His right hand felt slow and heavy in reaching for one of the knives, and put him off balance such that he nearly fell over, doubling instead at the waist due to his inability to fall, locked in at the ankles as he was.

Strange…how slowly his hand extended. An interesting thought occurred to him, and he decided on a quick experiment. The crowd murmured in perplexity and impatience at the odd, golden-haired youth’s behavior while Belláphorus watched his friend closely with eager anticipation. Mūk-Mudón would succeed brilliantly, to everyone’s surprise but his. Belláphorus had seen Mūk-Mudón work through a hundred such seemingly hopeless situations, each time winning through in unexpected, daring fashion.

Mūk-Mudón felt inside his pouch for another coin. It didn’t matter what kind. As quickly as he was able, he pulled the coin out, focused on it best he could, and dropped it. The coin ever so heavily and slowly tumbled to the ground, where Mūk-Mudón observed the grains of sand splashing around the coin where it struck. Uttering another chuckle, this one louder, Mūk-Mudón turned his focus back to the game, more confident than ever in his victory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can follow Timothy on Facebook as well as his blog:

We have opened a publishing house, Vixen and Grove, which is on Facebook and Twitter. Our website is in development.


If this has whetted your appetite to buy The Kinsman's Tree or read a further excerpt, then click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons below:



Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader who likes reading in the genres of Christian inspirational, action and adventure, fantasy, to consider reading The Kinsman's Tree and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Distant Front: Book Two of The COIL Legacy by D.I. Telbat


Distant Front: Book Two of The COIL Legacy


In DISTANT FRONT, Book Two of The COIL Legacy by D.I. TELBAT, we learn that the daring COIL Special Forces Operative Steve Brookshire was kidnapped in Hong Kong two years ago. The communist Chinese government wanted his intel on the Chinese Underground House Churches. His work for Jesus Christ may have cost him his life!



The Guru's Review: 


Telbat has really excelled himself with this one! This is the best out of the COIL Legacy Series! Everything has been upped! There is more action, evil, deceit, persecution and hatred for Christians. But there is more victory in Christ and more of the workings of the Spirit than in previous novels.

I found this one the hardest to read, despite it still being highly entertaining. Telbat has intertwined the 2-year history of Steve Brookshire's captivity and torture into the present activity of Titus and Oleg and subplots. 

It is this 2-year history that makes it hard to read. What Telbat has depicted Steve enduring as persecution, torture and imprisonment are just that bit more detailed than other COIL novels. But this account does show more of the spiritual tenacity of Steve having counted the cost of being a follower/disciple of Christ and being unwavering in his faith and commitment to Christ. At every step of his persecution, including the deliberate amputation of his foreleg, Steve did not give in. In fact, this only made him more like Christ. Not once did he allow any anger, bitterness, resentment, selfishness dictate his behaviour towards his many persecutors. Instead, he told them to their face that he forgave them. At every opportunity, even immediately after being tortured, he witnessed to them, told them that God loved them and that he was praying for them. 

This challenged me as I questioned whether I would be so forgiving, would I respond like Steve did? So Christ-like? If I don't do that now in much lesser circumstances, would or could I do so if I was placed in a situation like this? Definitely, sobers you and convicts you of your shortcomings in this regard to your relationship with Christ. it has encouraged me to take this to Jesus and have a conversation with Him. 

I must remember though, that Steve was able to do this due to his love, submission and obedience to the leading of the Spirit of God. He placed all things of God above and before anything to do with himself. I pray that what Telbat has depicted in Steve's attitude towards Christ and his persecutors encourages Christians to consider this in their own lives and circumstances, however small or insignificant it appears. 

I was gobbed smacked at the fruit of the Spirit in Steve's Christ-like behaviour and attitude towards his persecution. This resulted in the salvation of his persecutors. In nearly all cases, the ex-persecutors, and now new babes in Christ admitted the evil of their hearts was overcome by the witness of Steve and his responses to them during and after his persecution! But then again, it was the working of the Spirit through Steve that achieved this. Reminds me of the verse from Zechariah 4: 6
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
So one hand, there is Steve who is totally committed to God and unwavering in his faith. On the other, we have Titus, who stumbled in his decision making on his assignment to rescue Steve and placed this mission in jeopardy and the lives of Oleg and others. So Titus acts on his emotions and disappears. God uses this to minister to him and allows him to grow spiritually. Yet, he has to endure some painful lessons in humility from a previously unknown source, including some hard love and carefrontation from Corban. Again, the way Telbat has depicted and handled this situation with Titus is very biblical. It shows us a lesson in how to be humbled by God and our fellow brethren, especially those we have wronged and hurt and how to be reconciled to God. In this circumstance with Titus, we see how he allowed himself to be responsive and teachable from the Spirit of God. Titus is returned to the fold of his COIL team a better and stronger operative spiritually. Like Steve, less of himself and more of Christ. And that, in itself, is a lesson and a behavioural trait for us as disciples of Christ.

These spiritual lessons that Telbat infuses into each of his novels are the strengths of his novels. 

Apart from the spiritual side of this novel, there is the usual action and adventure, fast-paced plot, and well-constructed novel. Titus seems to be more humorous in this one than previous. This adds a softening touch to the seriousness of their missions. It also allows the team, mainly Oleg and Titus, to get on better with each other, be the cohesive unit that they are and complement their strengths and weaknesses. 

I would love to collate all of Titus' humorous one-liners about how "...it ain't easy being......" in the many aspects of his life and situations. 

I am so looking forward to the next instalment in this series, Distant Harm, to be released later this year. 

Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5

Overall Rating 4.6/5 Stars


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Spiritually, based on this review and on the following reference booklet,

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Distant Front contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award D. I Telbat with

The Reality Calling Spirit-filled Fiction Award



Congratulations, D.I. Telbat!


To preview an excerpt from this novel or to buy it, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons below: 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Guest Post: D. I. Telbat and The Steadfast Series

I cannot believe it is nearly two years since I started reading David Telbat's The COIL Series. What a blessing they have been to me since!

Here is part of that blessing: In my latest review, Distant Contact, I wrote this about his ministry of exposing the persecution of the Christian church and in some cases individual Christians: 

If there is one thing that a Telbat novel has encouraged me to do is this: pray before starting reading. This way, I can be sensitive to what God wants to teach me in the novel. Collectively, from his novels, there are many snippets contained therein of how we are to live for Christ and learn more about;
  • who God is, his many attributes and their names, 
  • discipleship, 
  • dying to yourself, 
  • obedience to His Word,
  • laying down your life so others can live
  • listening to the Spirit, 
  • putting yourself before others
  • developing a character of integrity, 
  • unconditional love towards humanity including our family and spouse, 
  • standing up for Christ
  • living out your faith 
  • loving the sinner but not the sin
  • praying for your oppressor or those persecuting you, 
  • who you are in Christ, 
I have said in many of my reviews that I don't believe Christian fiction should entertain solely. I want it to: 
  • encourage my walk with God, 
  • not deviate from known biblical doctrine, and not lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • honour God, 
  • not encourage worship of the created (eg Angels) instead of the Creator (God). 
After reading every Telbat novel, I finish with all the above criteria all ticked. Telbat's novels reveal not just the mind and heart of the author, but more importantly, more of the heart and mind of Christ. And it is this that God wants so desperately to do with every Christian author as they allow the Spirit to guide them as they write His message through fiction. I also am encouraged when I see through an author's fiction that they have a heart after God, just like David from the Bible. I see this in David Telbat! While he continues to this and writes novels that reflect God's heart, I will read his work. 
Well, David is still continuing his series on the persecuted church and I am very pleased about this. 

However, I am very encouraged to see that he has branched out into another set of novels, The Steadfast Series, which he describes as "futuristic fiction, encouraging God's people to stand steadfastly through conflict and compromise." 

When I read about this, I could not resist but to offer him another Guest post to promote his new venture. 

So sit back and let David's passion for his new series inspire and encourage you. Over to you, David!

Thanks, Peter, Well, let me dive straight in with a little snippet about the plot of The Steadfast Series: 

Fear forces Eric Radner into the Wyoming Sharrock Mountains as a virus sweeps across America. Millions are dead. Common people turn to stealing, killing, and destroying. Bandits roam the highways. Rogue armies hoard resources. But Eric Radner avoids it all. He lives alone in a mountain cabin, watching, hunting, hiding . . .


The Steadfast Series is my plunge into a new series, storyline, and mission, and I am honored for the opportunity to share this adventure with Reviews by Peter readers. It is my prayer that the reader's faith is challenged and increased through this futuristic fiction, encouraging God's people to stand steadfastly through conflict and compromise. Only the steadfast will prevail!

A New Genre

A few years ago I broke into the writing world through The COIL Series, which features Christian persecution scenarios and Special Forces operatives who rescue the suffering. What a joy it has been to travel the world with so many wonderful characters and share them with readers through plot twists and sleepless nights! The faith of the COIL characters has, I hope, opened eyes to the compassion of God and the needs of His people worldwide. (COIL fans, don't despair; I still have other COIL ventures in mind for future days!)

Now, with The Steadfast Series, I delve deeper into a new sub-genre—what many are calling post-apocalyptic literature. The first three novellas, recently released, continue as clean, inspirational Christian fiction, but the focus is on the futuristic collapse of America's economy and infrastructure.

Previously, I published two futuristic Christian novels, one taking place in Mongolia—Called To Gobi—and the other taking place in the Eastern United States—God's Colonel. But Steadfast isn't just a leisurely project for me as I work on lengthier novels. No, Steadfast, in this new genre, is a major calling for me, I believe, and the start of a new mission in writing for my readers.

A New Mission

Writing about the international persecution of Christians has been enlightening to us all—in our prayer lives, and in our zeal to step out in faith, even in the face of danger. Now, my new mission shifts the focus from foreign nations to our nation of America!

I believe our country is being staged for the Last Days, along with God's sovereign plan for the whole world. Morality standards are plummeting, and truth (reality) is being replaced by self-identification and opinion. As much as America's citizens pride themselves in being "good and honest, deep down," daily lives show otherwise.

As personal desires in our society are consumed by entertainment, self-help, fashion statements, and indifference to destitute neighbors, we are in need of lessons in self-sacrifice.

Sacrifice is the principle theme within Steadfast. When it would be easier to avoid people, Eric Radner sets his safety aside to help others. When many choose violence, prejudice, and discontentment, Eric is motivated by God to show himself vulnerable for the safety of others. He is content with very little. And he is determined to remain steadfast morally and spiritually.

We in America desperately need examples of selflessness, even in fiction, and especially in the context of the faithful Christian lifestyle. Steadfast is an adventure series with action and suspense and even a touch of romance. But at the end of each book, I hope my mission takes root and resounds in hearts: for others, we will remain steadfast and obedient to Jesus Christ, bringing Him glory!

A New Story

Today's media presents heroes that are more violent and murderous than ever. So, in this new story, I had to make a choice regarding my main character, Eric Radner. In my fictional future, the inside view of a collapsed America is quite violent, but would God's people turn the other cheek, or would they fight back? And if they fight back, how would they fight? Can I even show heroic characters in a future within a society that craves killing the bad guys, exacting revenge, and staying on top to survive?

Since my ultimate mission is to bring glory to God, the answers to these questions were easy for me to answer: real Christians—faithful men and women—don't need to kill, steal, and destroy their enemies to be adventurous, courageous, and triumphant. They need only to be steadfast for their Lord.

Once my imperfect characters took shape, the story flowed quite naturally as I threw them into the tumult of a pandemic in America. Eric Radner is the hero, but unintentionally. Really, he just wants to be left alone. But as a Christian, with the Spirit of Christ indwelling him, he is inspired to respond to the needs of the helpless, physically and spiritually.

Gretchen Worcester, in Steadfast Book Two, becomes a rising influence in Eric's life, but she arrives with her own brand of baggage from society's lures. Andy Adkins, a boy adopted by Eric, adds an interesting father-son dynamic in the midst of a climatic wilderness where war and wildlife collide with a few desperate survivors.

The Release

I'm excited about the recent release of The Steadfast Series—Books One, Two, & Three! I have plans for more books in this post-apocalyptic genre and will be writing additional novellas for The Steadfast Series. I look forward to reading your comments and reviews!

Regardless of this nation's future, God is looking for steadfast servants. Christ is coming soon! Whether facing danger, starvation, or even bullets, by God's strength, we will remain steadfast in America's Last Days.

Subscribe to our posts at ditelbat.com to stay informed on my novel news, and receive free Christian short stories, as well as exclusive subscriber gifts.

My wholehearted thanks to Peter Younghusband for the privilege of being a guest on his Reviews by Peter blog.

God's blessings as we each strive to serve the Lord,

David Telbat


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BIO: Christian Author D.I. Telbat is best known for his Suspenseful Fiction with a Faith Focus, such as his award-winning COIL Series, which brings attention to the Persecuted Church worldwide. His End Times Novel, Called To Gobi, was Gold Medal Winner of the 2016 eLit Awards in Religious Fiction. David Telbat delves into the post-apocalyptic genre in his newest novellas, The Steadfast Series. He offers free Christian short stories, or related posts, weekly on his website. Come join the adventure at ditelbat.com.






To investigate more about The Steadfast Series or to buy them, go here

It has been a pleasure to have you stop by my blog, David. I look forward to reading The Steadfast Series and having you as a guest sometime n the future! 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Distant Contact (COIL Legacy Book 1) by D. I. Telbat


DISTANT CONTACT: Book One of The COIL Legacy


In DISTANT CONTACT, Book One in The COIL Legacy Series by D.I. Telbat, we find that a distant shadow hovers over the Caspertein family. Greed and Muslim extremism threaten to erase America's beloved family as killers rise to avenge an accidental death.

There may be no hope for family reconciliation before it's too late. Wynter Caspertein is a primary target of a sword-wielding assassin. Rudy Caspertein is presumed dead but struggles to survive in the Arctic.

In the midst of Middle East terror, the estranged brother emerges. Titus Caspertein scoffs at the danger and flies to the aid of his sister. His Russian companion, Oleg, joins him, and the two undercover COIL agents juggle the needs of persecuted Christians with the Iranian threat that spans from the Ozarks of Arkansas to the deserts of Syria.

Join D.I. Telbat as he draws us into a COIL saga of faith and conflict, dark plots of Christian persecution, and the perseverance of men and women who trust Jesus Christ for strength and final victory.

Distant Contact follows the Prequel, Distant Boundary. It includes a free map download, a character sketch, Endnotes featuring Vision Beyond Borders Refugee Ministry, and a Bonus Chapter from the next book in the series, Distant Front. Cover design is by Streetlight Graphics.


The Guru's Review:


The prequel to this new series, Distant Boundary, was seen as a worthy successor to the original COIL series, and a great entre (novella) to this new Legacy series. What a main course this next novel has been!

I have thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has been a wise choice on Telbat's part to continue this series with the character of Titus Caspertein. It has breathed a fresh air into the series and allowed it to be taken to the next level. That is not to say that the first series was getting stale or boring; far from it. I wondered why Telbat has done this. Why could he not just do this with one of the other COIL agents from that series? We were already endeared to them so that would have engaged us to this new series. From what I can see, there is a parallel to the apostle Paul here. Just as God took an enemy of God and made him one of His most valued and successful ambassadors for Christ and His mission on earth, so too has Telbat done the same with Titus Casperstein. Is the message here that God can do the same today to those who are actively against Him and turn them towards Him? You bet it is, and He can and He does do this and will always do so. He did this with all those who are followers of Jesus to this day. I pray that any reader who does not know Christ will identify themselves in Titus and see what God can do when they realise their need for Him. Just as Titus did. Like him and Oleg, and the other characters who have become Christian through the witness to them from other COIL agents, they all came to the end of their rebellion and sinful lives, realising its futility and emptiness, that it needed to be filled with something sustaining and satisfying. And when that happened, they found the only solution was Jesus Christ, Artos Zoes (the Bread of Life, John 6:48-51) and Living Water (John 7:38).

I loved Telbat's further development of Titus' character in this novel. Seeing him grow more into a disciple of Christ and show more of Christ's character is one of the elements of this series that I find uplifting and satisfying. I guess the best example that showcases this is when he asked God how he should respond to Rashid's infiltration into his house and family. Pre-conversion, Titus would have followed his own plan of action and confronted Rashid in the way his reputation had dictated over the past two decades. But this time, he found peace, reassurance and a calm resolve when he realised how Jesus would have handled this. I pray that any reader, Christian or not, would receive the message here and apply it to their lives. The Christian to see that they need to die to self and be obedient to Christ and His ways. The non-believer to see that there is a better way to deal with life's tribulation other than what they only know. This better way leads to restoration and relationship. I know that every reader of this novel will presume that Rashid will accept Jesus in the next novel. Everything is leading to this. What joyous expectation and anticipation for the next novel! Bring it on, David Telbat! And when he does, we will see it is because the light of Christ shone through Titus. Absent was there of judgement, criticism, arrogance, deceit, from Titus towards Rashid, just brotherly love, acceptance and a sense of family and belonging. All the things that Rashid never had but attracted him like a moth to a flame. It was this witness that nullified his greed, selfishness, murderous intent and covetousness of the priceless artefact but led him to see in Titus something that he so desperately desires.

I must confess that I was tense and fearful of every account of Rudy's survival against one of the harshest environments on earth. This was tempered by the inclusion of one of my favourite breeds of dogs, the St Bernard and Rudy's faith. A St Bernard is living with us at the moment (my son-in-law's dog) and despite their size, they are a great breed and personality. And a lot of fun. And yes, they are a hunting dog of sorts and fiercely protective. From Rudy's faith in action, we see how is allows us to overcome and endure such dire circumstances. When Rudy could see the end coming, he engaged in prayer and into the only lifeline that could save him from death. When we submit our circumstances into His hands, let go of our independence and self-reliance, God delivers. In Rudy's case, God revealed that He is Yahweh Yireh (God our provider), El Roi (God who watches over me) and Jehovah Mefalti (The Lord my Deliverer).

If there is one thing that a Telbat novel has encouraged me to do is this: pray before starting reading. This way, I can be sensitive to what God wants to teach me in the novel. Collectively, from his novels, there are many snippets contained therein of how we are to live for Christ and learn more about:

  • who God is, his many attributes and their names,
  • discipleship, dying to yourself,
  • obedience to His Word,
  • laying down your life so others can live
  • listening to the Spirit, putting yourself before others
  • developing a character of integrity, unconditional love towards humanity including our family and spouse,
  • standing up for Christ
  • living out your faith
  • loving the sinner but not the sin
  • praying for your oppressor or those persecuting you,
  • who you are in Christ, 
I have said in many of my reviews that I don't believe Christian fiction should entertain solely. I want it to: 
  • encourage my walk with God,
  • not deviate from known biblical doctrine, and not lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, honour God,
  • not encourage worship of the created (eg Angels) instead of the Creator (God). 

After reading every Telbat novel, I finish with all the above criteria all ticked. Telbat's novels reveal not just the mind and heart of the author, but more importantly, more of the heart and mind of Christ. And it is this that God wants so desperately to do with every Christian author as they allow the Spirit to guide them as they write His message through fiction. I also am encouraged when I see through an author's fiction that they have a heart after God, just like David from the Bible. I see this in David Telbat! While he continues to this and writes novels that reflect God's heart, I will read his work.

After reading this novel in this new series, I finish it uplifted and looking forward with eager anticipation to the next one, Distant Front. 

Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5

Overall Rating 4.5/5


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Spiritually, based on this review and on the following reference booklet,

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Distant Contact contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award D. I Telbat with

The Reality Calling Redemptive Fiction Award



Congratulations, D.I. Telbat!


To read an excerpt or to buy this novel, click on the BUY/PREVIEW words on the image below: