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 this novel in this new series, I finish it uplifted and looking forward with eager anticipation to the next one, Distant Front.
World Building 5/5
Spiritual Level 4/5
Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5
Overall Rating 4.5/5
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