pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter

About Me

My photo

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 

Search This Blog

Friday, 30 November 2018

Primordium (Prophecy of the Heir, Book 1, Chronicles of Time Saga) by J.C. Lamont


Plotting the overthrow of a power-hoarding King, Commander Haylel trains the Malakim in the art of war…until an omen forewarns that his fate rests in the loyalty of his favored lieutenant, Michael. Wielding a sword that can slay an immortal, Haylel must decide whether to remain subordinate to an oppressive tyrant or kill Michael and usurp the throne. 

Biblical fiction reads like fantasy in this high-stakes drama where a Prince gives up his immortality to be killed by the one he loves, a King must slay his son in order to ransom his daughter, and a warrior is forced to decide between protecting mortals or upholding his allegiance to the crown.

The Guru's Review: 

The author asked for readers to provide feedback so I jumped at this opportunity. I have been following her updates for this saga for years on Facebook. 

From her background as a literary apologist, I knew that the novel would be epic. She has definitely achieved this. With the plot based on the Genesis account of Lucifer's rebellion against God, this epic status works well. I know the author has researched this novel extensively. Lamont has then applied it in such a way that it forms part of a strong foundation for the plot to unfold. The appendices at the end of the novel show the sources and extent of her research. Her explanatory notes of these are invaluable and enable the reader to understand and appreciate this novel better. The included definitions and terminology are worth referencing either during the read or once finished reading. As much as I love poetic licence, having research content that forms the basis for worldbuilding makes for a better constructed and credible plot and overall enjoyable reading experience. 

There are some novels in this genre that seem to be superficial, lacking detail and appear to be solely an array of chronological events outlining the Biblical account. Rather dry and unappealing. Not so with the world building that Lamont has created. I can only compare this to one other author who has done this well and that this Donovan Neal's The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars. Yet, this comparison is only from that novel as I have not read the other two novels in Neal's series. Both of these authors have done this genre/theme justice. Both of them show their passion for this theme in their writing. Both have remained faithful to the Biblical account of this rebellion depicting it in an entertaining way. Any poetic licence from both does not detract from the Biblical account but actually supports it in this fictionalised platform. Being faithful to the Biblical account would, therefore, demand this.

Lamont's worldbuilding is extensive. It forms another part of this strong foundation. It is all engrossing. It keeps you coming back for more and to keep reading. This is also not due to the action and suspense of the plot, which is another pillar of this novel. I found this novel much more than just engaging fiction. Lamont's motivation for this novel seems to shine here, to quote her, 
"......Years later, after accidentally discovering the God of love in the pages of the Old Testament, I bought a Bible and read it in 6 months. Reading it that fast made me realize it was ONE story, and a love story at that. Wanting others ot discover this same truth, I've spent the last 15 years researching and writing The Chronicles of Time, a fantasy inspired version of the Bible that reflects how I now see it — a suspenseful, action-packed, battle-ridden love story."
and from Appendix A,
“The intent of this novel… is to show that coincidences between the biblical account and the archaeological, historical, and scientific evidence are far too numerous to be discounted as myth by people of sound reasoning.”
The development of Lucifer's empire once banished to Earth was impressive. It was almost comical his efforts to interact with the corporeal world, this made me chuckle somewhat! But Lamont shows him to have mastered and manipulated physics, genetics and crossed other boundaries to create an evil empire to deliberately thwart, mock and imitate all the things of God that he has been deprived of wrongly (in his view). If he cannot rule in Heaven, then he would rule on Earth and subjugate everything under him. 

Infused and underpinning this empire is his arrogance, pride and deceptiveness. It is his motivating force. It overtakes him and defines him. Repentance is not found in him. He believes he has nothing to repent of as he believes his attitude and behaviour are correct and God is an incompetent and finite Being. His pride blinds in seeing God for who He is. His hatred for God's humanity is another motivating force. He sees them as the outcome of God's betrayal of him and his fellow angelic creation. 

I pray that any reader, Christian or not, will see how this arrogance, pride and deceptiveness is also infused in the attitudes and behaviour of man. The Christian would know and identify this as a component of our fallen/sinful nature while the non-Christian may not understand until they identify it as truth and accept the solution outlined in the message of this novel, what this Prophecy of the Heir means; the Heir (Jesus), the Prince in this novel, would die on the Cross as the propitiation of the sin of mankind. Propitiation being, 
the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass "over the sins previously committed," (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2). (CARM/protitiation)
Lamont thoroughly entertains through all the events that outline the training of the angels to warfare, the different methods they use, Michael learning to become the Commander of the warrior angels after Lucifer is banished, how some of the angels become better warriors than others, the angel/scribe Gavriel recording all events and reporting to God.  Also described well are the various creatures that habitat Heaven, the Glass Sea, and the Tree of Immortality.

In other novels whose plot is similar to the war in Heaven and Lucifer's rebellion against God, the authors have depicted the angels getting on very well with each other. In this novel, however, Lamont has added a different dynamic to their relationships. Michael is not trusted by his fellow angels and are wary of him. There is tension between Gavriel and Michael. Michael takes his new position of Commander seriously. However, it seems the final confrontation between the angels and Lucifer turns the tide in the relationship between all of them and Michael (excluding Lucifer, but that is a foregone conclusion!). While I found this a bit much sometimes, it does give the angels a more credible and relational persona. It did not detract at all from the plot or seem out of place. I guess I was just used to the depiction from previous authors where everything was peaches and cream between the angels. 


This novel has had an interesting evolvement. It was originally published as a single volume as Prophecy of the Heir about 6 years ago. The reviews of that first edition are currently on Amazon. Since then Lamont decided to expand the series and revisit this novel as well. Hence this re-release of the novel. This new edition is now called Primordium, Book 1 of Prophecy of the Heir. From her website, Bogging History, she has outlined how the series will be. It is now called Chronicles of Time and will have 5 volumes:

Vol. I: Prophecy of the Heir (4000 BC to 2 BC)
Vol. II: Covenant of Blood (2 BC to 33 AD))
Vol. III: Sacrament of Fire (33 AD to 135 AD)
Vol IV: Hallowing of the Realm (135 AD to 610 AD)
Vol. V: War of the Strongholds (610 AD thru Apocalypse)


Primordium is Book 1 in Volume I: Prophecy of the Heir. The other 3 books will be released over the next 6 months:

Book 2: Unbreakable Vow, January 2019

Book 3: Anathema, March 2019
Book 4: Reckoning May 2019

Volumes II to V will also have other books that make up these volumes. This is shaping up to be one epic series that will be completed over many years to come. 


I always investigate the author's website(s) when I review their novel. I visited Lamont's website, Blogging Hisstory [(yes, spelt correctly, this spelling is a play on the words Blogging History, the extra S making it read as Blogging His Story (God/Jesus' Story)]. This site was a pleasant surprise. Lamont outlines what the Chronicles of Time Saga will be based on and supported by, this being Hermeneutics, the methodology of interpretation (of the Bible). It has two interpretations, Exegesis (the interpreter makes the Scripture says what God has to say) and Eisegesis (the interpreter makes the Scripture says what he believes it says). I became fascinated by this and realise its importance and relevance to both Christian and non-Christian alike. I invited the author to be a guest blogger to discuss this practice. It can be found here.

Having read Primordium, I can now see how Hermeneutics has formed a large part of the foundation for this novel and Saga. It also adds credibility and strength to this foundation as well. This can only enrich this epic tale and it does.

I firmly believe that Lamont has created something compelling, uplifting, educational and very entertaining. 


Highly recommended. 5 Stars.

To buy this novel or investigate it further, click on the image below: 

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Hermeneutics by J.C Lamont

My guest today is JC Lamont talking about Hermeneutics. I invited JC to my blog when I was given a review copy of her novel, Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium (The Chronicles of Time Book 1), released Nov 16, 2018. I was fascinated with her website, where I found she bases all her writings and therefore her novels on Hermeneutics. This topic is something that is very important for all Christians to know and use and it is not just for the serious Bible scholar. It is open to everyone and is a powerful tool to understanding God's Word through its correct interpretation and therefore God's message to us. So without further ado, let JC Lamont impart some of the basics of hermeneutics so you can see how when applied to the Word of God, it can then elucidate the truth of His Word. 

Hermeneutics

So, there is actually a science behind the study of interpretation. It's called: Hermeneutics.

If Hermeneutics is the methodology of interpretation then Exegesis (good) and Eisegesis (bad) are the actual interpretations.

Good Hermeneutics: Exegesis (ex-ih-Jesus): The interpretation of the Bible by way of the original, intended meaning by the author and which ascertains what the original hearers/readers would have understood it to mean.

Bad Hermeneutics: Eisegesis (eyes-ih-Jesus): The interpretation of the Bible by way of doctrinal presuppositions, life experiences, anecdotal testimony, and unconscious biases and prejudices which is ascertained by the subjectivism of the present-day reader.

But....

EVERYONE recognizes that Eisegesis is bad methodology (even if they don’t know the term).

And EVERYONE believes they are right, therefore they MUST be using Exegesis.

Thus, eisegesis is usually relegated to those TV evangelists trying to get your money while they sail away on their yacht. In other words, we are usually taught that those using eisegesis are doing it on purpose.

So you see a lot of definitions of eisegesis such as this:


But that doesn’t explain our list of opposing doctrines, does it? 

Your average Methodist (who believes in free-will) and your average Calvinist (who believes in pre-destination) can't both be right. But neither one is making the scripture say "what he wants it to say."

He's making it say what he honest-to-God believes it says.

So...

It's much fairer to explain it like this:


Let me give you an example that might just blow your mind. Before we go any further, let it be clearly known that I believe that Jesus is:

100% God and 100% Man

So with that understood, let’s look at the titles Son of God and Son of Man in the context of both a Jewish and a Greek cultural.

We’ve heard it preached a million times that the Son of God title speaks of Jesus’ divinity, and the Son of Man title speaks of Jesus' humanity.

(Now remember, I believe in Jesus’ divinity. John 1:1 is probably the clearest verse supporting Jesus’ divinity.)

But…

Son of God in Judaism is NOT a divine title.

Son of God is a divine title in Greek and Roman mythology.

Hercules and Perseus being two well-known examples (of demigods), but let’s take Ares, the god of war, son of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera.

Now realize that you are living in a time where Zeus and Hera are just as real to people as Jesus and God the Father are to you. They weren’t just characters in fantasy movies and TV shows.

If Ares came up to someone and said, “Hear me, Ares, Son of God, fight with me in this war,” he is claiming authority by invoking his divinity.

So it would be completely natural for a Greek or Roman reading the New Testament to come to a conclusion that Jesus’ referencing himself as Son of God meant he was claiming divinity.

Note that the Greek or Roman Christian is not making the text say what he wants it to say for any personal gain or to justify sin – he is simply unconsciously bringing his beliefs (subjective to his culture) to the text.

But in the Old Testament, Son of God is a title for Adam, the angels, David, and then every king after him (son, grandson, and great-grandson, etc of David) until the coming of the Messiah.

So in Judaism, Son of God is a messianic title for the Messiah in His role as King.

This brings us to the Son of Man title.

In Second Temple Judaism, the Son of Man is a messianic title for the Messiah in his role of judge on Judgement Day. Its first mention is in the book of Daniel, as a phrase describing the Messiah in his role of judge. During inter-testament times (the four hundred years between the Old Testament and the New Testament), it was used as a title in the Book of Enoch.

(The Book of Enoch was a very popular book during Second Temple Judaism, and is even quoted by Jesus’ brother in the biblical book of Jude—the last book before Revelation).

You may be asking, if Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man why does it matter if pastors’ preach that the Son of God is a title of divinity and Son of Man is a title of humanity??? Who cares if that’s eisegesis, it’s harmless.

Perhaps.

But you'd miss out on the true meaning of a REALLY kick butt scene: 

Jesus is standing before the High Priest, Caiaphas, on trial for treason and blasphemy. Caiaphas, as head of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high court), is questioning Jesus and growing frustrated that witness testimony is too contradictory for him to pronounce a guilty verdict.

Caiaphas: “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”

Jesus: “I am. And you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds.”

Uh…ok.

That’s a really cool scene? you ask. Jesus’ answer barely even makes sense except for the “I am” part.

Well, let’s put on our Jewish (exegesis) glasses.

We already know Son of God means Messiah as king, and Son of Man means Messiah as judge.

Further study into Judaism would reveal that Christ is the Greek (Gentile) word for Messiah,

And “coming on the clouds” is a Jewish phrase for God’s judgement.

So let’s read that bit of dialogue again.

Caiaphas: “Are you the Messiah, who will one day rule over me as King?

Jesus: “I am. And you will see me again, when, as the Messiah, I am the judge at your trial."

So, if you’re not grounded in Judaism, you miss out on Jesus biotch-slapping Caiaphas. In front of the entire Sanhedrin.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s kick butt cool.


Blogging Hi§tory: What it IS and What it is NOT

This is a journey through history, not just the Bible. And not all history, but history as how it relates to God's over-all redemptive plan for mankind. While the Bible is my FIRST source, and the only source that can be relief upon for 100% accuracy, other ancient texts, archaeological finds, and scientific discoveries are also examined.

It's basically a journey through the first 15 years of research that I did for The Chronicles of Time. In other words, this is the non-fiction counterpart to The Chronicles of Time. So if The Chronicles of Time has whet your appetite for more, this journey is for you.

I am not Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Messianic, or Evangelical.

I am Sola Scripture...with a caveat.

Here are just a few examples of OPPOSING doctrines whose adherents all claim Sola Scriptura:
  • Young Earth Creationism vs Old Earth Creationism 
  • Penal Substitution vs Christus Victor 
  • Infant Baptism vs Repentance Baptism Only 
  • Baptism Required vs Baptism not a requirement 
  • Grace-Only vs Lordship Salvation 
  • Annihilation vs Eternal Torment 
  • Pre-Trib Rapture vs Mid-Trib Rapture vs Post-Trib Rapture 
  • Free Will vs Predestination Premillennialism vs Amillennialism
  • Assuming the Holy Spirit is not schizophrenic, the Bible is not as contradictory as we finite mortals make it out to be. So really, Sola Scripture comes down to interpretation.
So how does one decide whose interpretation is correct?

The following are my personal guidelines for determining accurate interpretation:
  • No interpretation can contradict the CLEAR meaning of any other verse 
  • No New Testament verse can contradict the Old Testament. 
  • All passages must be interpreted through the lens of Judaism* NOT the lens of Greek philosophy (After all, it was written by Jews not Greek philosophers) 
  • All verses and passages must be interpreted through the lens of the culture in which it was written (i.e. Jewish culture, not American culture) 
  • The original intent of the author (and the original interpretation of the hearers) takes priority over later doctrinal biases 
  • No interpretation should be based on a verse(s) or passage taken out-of-context 
  • The interpretation does not require New Revelation (in other words, the correct interpretation was not hidden from the early church fathers and "revealed" in the 1800's or any other time) 
  • The interpretation does not impose a modern or English definition onto the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. 
*That is to say, Second Temple Judaism (also known as Inter-Testamental Judaism), which is not the same as Modern-day / Rabbinical Judaism

There are very few verses where a clear interpretation does not emerge when applying these criteria.

With that being said, who wants to learn about hermeneutics as it is applied to the Word of God...because this absolutely fascinating, action-packed, battle-ridden love story is dying to be told?


If your answer is Yes, then go here for an introduction to Blogging Hi§tory on JC's website, Blogging Hi§tory, then continue here for the first lesson that continues each week. The lessons are not long, just a page almost!
And if you want to see hermeneutics applied to JC's novel, check out the new release Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium (The Chronicles of Time Book 1). Click on the title to buy/preview. Here is the cover and description: 


Where the Dead Breathe and the Immortal Die 

The Chronicles of Time 

To escape an eternity of flame, Lucifer Haylel, god of Mortal-earth, seeks to overthrow Jehuva El Elyon, God of Shamayim. With rule of Elyon’s ethereal realm comes the power to create worlds, and a sword that can slay immortals. All Lucifer must do to break Elyon’s power is prevent one of his prophecies from coming true…thus begins the ultimate war between good and evil that has raged unseen since the dawn of time. 

Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium 

Plotting the overthrow of a power-hoarding king, Commander Haylel trains the Malakim in the art of war. Then an omen forewarns that his fate rests in the loyalty of his favored lieutenant, Michael. Now Haylel must decide whether to remain subordinate to an oppressive tyrant or kill Michael and usurp the throne.

I pray your interest in Hermeneutics is whetted now and you embrace this important tool and practice in understanding God's Word. 

Thank you, JC Lamont for being my guest and for this fascinating and important introduction into Hermeneutics.

About JC Lamont: 


JC Lamont is a literary apologist and historian specializing in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity. She is a student of Koine Greek, and a former contributor for the Christian Apologetics Alliance. She hosts an online chronological Bible Study, Blogging His Story, a nonfiction companion to The Chronicles of Time series.

JC Lamont can be found on social media:

Friday, 2 November 2018

Guest Post: Hide It In Your Heart Coloring Calendar 2019 by Annie Doulass Lima

When Annie approached me about being part of her blog tour to promote her new release, a coloring book for adults based on the Word of God, I was enthusiastic. These colouring books hold special interest and importance for me. My wife suffered a spontaneous, massive brain injury (haemorrhage) in 2004 and she nearly did not make it. The surgery was a life saver. By the grace of God, she sustained very little damage, just some hearing and memory loss. Since then, she has to engage in active and stimulating exercises to keep the brain active. Computer games, puzzles and these colouring books have had a huge impact on her ongoing rehab. I have seen her creativity in the completion of her colouring books and some of them are a joy to behold.

Seeing what these colouring books can do from a therapeutic point of view, I can see how these would be a lot of fun for the child that is still in us as adults. I applaud authors like Annie Douglass Lima, who have created these coloring books for us. In this new creation, she has taken these books to the next level. Not only can they be fun, promote our creativity, assist in brain injury rehab, but can also help stimulate a love affair with the Word of God. Just like children, we learn better when the delivery is fun and entertaining. So check out Annie's post below. You never know, it might just open another door for you!

Over to you, Annie: 



This 2019 calendar features a Bible verse for each week in creative fonts that can be colored in. A wide variety of holidays are listed, both traditional and unusual. (Do you know when Appreciate a Dragon Day is? How about Lost Sock Memorial Day?) You’ll have plenty of room to record your activities and appointments in the section for each day and week. After every month, you’ll find word puzzles featuring keywords from that month's scriptures and holidays.

Prepare for a year full of coloring and fun that will help you hide God's Word in your heart in 2019 without even trying!


Now take a look at some sample pages! (In the actual calendar, each page is 8 1/2" x 11".) 

Clicking on a picture will open up a PDF of the left-hand page (just the part with the Bible verse, not the calendar week) that you can print and color.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.


Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.


Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.


Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.
Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.


Click here to order a copy of Hide it In Your Heart in 2019 for yourself or a friend now!

About Annie:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:










Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of "interviews" with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates









































Saturday, 27 October 2018

War Torn by Jeffrey Wilson

War Torn


Based on personal experiences by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon #1 bestselling military thriller author Jeffrey Wilson, War Torn is an inspirational novel that details a young man's crisis of faith after a tour of combat duty in Afghanistan turns tragic.

Jake is a solid American, a young husband, a good friend, and a patriotic member of the National Guard. While his family and Christian values define who he is, he has never fully understood the passion for the faith that his wife, Rachel, and his best friend and fellow soldier, Cal, seem to share. But when Jake and Cal are deployed with their unit to Afghanistan, Jake depends heavily on the quiet but powerful faith of his best friend and embraces, finally, a relationship with God. Despite the horrors he experiences in war and the pain of his separation from Rachel, Jake has found his way for the first time—until a crippling loss shakes his newfound faith to the core and makes him question where God is in his struggles, or if God even exists at all.

Can a loving wife’s faith carry a broken man through the most difficult challenge of his life? Can a committed pastor put his own struggles and doubts aside to help heal a wounded marriage? Like so many combat veterans, Jake must find his way back to his family even after returning from Afghanistan, and learn to find God in the fog of war that follows him home.

The Guru's Review: 


I volunteered to review this new novel by Jeffrey Wilson and I am very glad I did. It is a very impressive novel, compelling and engrossing. Wilson has brought to life convincingly the reality of war, combat and strategy, the relationships between the soldiers of the unit. Very real are the emotions they go through on the day to day on either a raid or a show of force patrol. But where Wilson shines is showing the raw emotions they experience when one is injured or more importantly when one of them is killed. 

I was distraught when Pete could not come to terms with the death of one of his comrades and the emotions he expressed, raw and intense. You find yourself relating to these emotions but also with empathy and compassion. Then you relate to the attempts of Jake as he tries valiantly, but honestly, in answering the questions that Pete has in relation to this death, why it happened, how do you process this, how do you move on, how do you deal with all these emotions and more. I appreciated the fact that Jake could not help Pete at all and this was just as raw for him as it was for Pete not being able to deal with the reality of war.

And it only gets worse when Cal is killed and Jake's world is turned upside down and he feels he has reached a point of no return. I was on the train when I read all of this novel and it was hard to maintain control when I just wanted to let my emotions go as these characters did. Very hard to not cry on public transport when these emotions have been triggered! 

Wilson is very successful in integrating his experience in the military and his tours of duty into this novel. It forms a solid foundation upon which this novel is constructed and adds to the credibility of the plot, characters and its themes. His bio states that he, 
has at one time worked as an actor, a firefighter, a paramedic, a jet pilot, a diving instructor, a Naval Officer, and a Vascular and Trauma Surgeon. He also served two tours in Iraq as a combat surgeon with both the Marines and with a Joint Special Operations Task Force.
Such a narrative is best when an author writes what they know compared to applying the research of an unknown topic or element into a novel. The latter is only successful in how it is applied to the plot, but this is not an issue when the author has first-hand experience. The genre of the military, special ops and the like shine when an author is writing from this personal knowledge base. Wilson is one of the masters here. I have no problem reading any of his other novels based on this fact alone. I know I am going to be in for a wild ride and be thoroughly entertained. 

Wilson has structured this novel on two levels. The home front where the wives, Kelly and Rachel, respectively, of the two main characters, Cal and Jake, cope with having their husbands on tour of duty and all that this entails. It is here that Wilson develops these two characters and endears the reader to them and their empathy for what they are going through is engaged. The second level, the war front, has the typical depiction of what this is like for these soldiers. Again, Wilson develops the characters, mainly Jake and Cal so that the reader is engaged and committed to them so that when both these two levels meet in the second half, this novel takes off. The former level sets the stage for what happens when Cal is killed and Jake returns home, broken, affected by PTSD and with no end in sight of the nightmare he has experienced. It is here that the fallout from the events of the other soldiers being killed, but especially that of Cal's death is explored in all its rawness, intensity, by Rachel, Kelly, Jake, their family members, Pastors Craig and Chris, TC Morrow, and Adrian.

Wilson shines in the spiritual aspects of this novel. He shows no hesitation or reticence in depicting Cal as living out his faith and it shows in all aspects of his life and relationships. This is one Christian who is not afraid of the gospel of Christ and in proclaiming it. But this is not done in some super-spiritual way where Christians and non-Christians have experienced these super-spiritual, overly zealous Christians where you cannot relate to them. Wilson has depicted Cal as one who knows what his relationship with Jesus is; relational, sincere, practical and where his hope lies. It is this tangible evidence in his life, that draws Jake to Cal and where he accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour. And one other aspect of this relationship Cal has with Jesus is he is not afraid to be real, to show emotion, doubt, but to submit to Jesus and let Him be in control and Sovereign.

Similarly, Wilson has depicted other Christian characters in a similar fashion. I loved Pastor Craig. I loved his vulnerability and admission that he did not have all the answers to help Jake, but it was his humility that grabbed me. He did not suffer from pride or an expectation that as a Pastor he had to know how to handle all situations, especially PTSD and what Jake was going through. This humility was also shown in his accepting counsel from his assistant Pastor, Chris. These two had a Paul and Barnabas relationship on one hand and a Paul and Timothy on the other. These two understood each other, accepted each other's flaw and strengths, were very comfortable with each other. 

I know Wilson has modelled Craig on his own Pastor as he states in the Acknowledgements. He seems to have quite a Shepherd in this Pastor and I can see from this depiction of Craig and also of Pastor Chris what a positive effect this has had on Wilson's life and spirituality and relationship with Christ. I have said in many reviews, that the Christian, Biblical and spiritual elements of a novel can also give a glimpse of the relationship the author has with Christ. I can see this through the characters of Pastor's Chris and Craig, Adrian, and Cal. I know what to expect if I ever met this author and others. This transparency is a wonderful characteristic and evidence of the Spirit's work in this author's life. 

Christian fiction is often criticised for being preachy in the gospel message, or for including the actual prayer from the Christian characters. Sometimes, I find this to be unfounded while at other times, it can stand out from the plot and appear as if it has been added for Christian content only or not an essential part of the plot. Not so with this novel. Wilson has avoided this by integrating the gospel message and the themes of forgiveness, redemption, submission, hope in Christ, the question of death, killing and grief as part of the plot structure and character development. It is more giving counsel than so-called "preaching" in dealing with the very real but raw emotions experienced by Jake over Cal's death, his guilt, anger, his PTSD, and the issues Rachel and Kelly had to deal with over their grief of Cal's death and Rachel's affected husband. This novel would fall flat and be very unsatisfying without the integration of these elements. Wilson has also been upfront with adding the biblical reference to these themes and accounts of counsel. Three specific accounts that impressed me greatly were the instruction and counsel from Cal to Jake about killing, Romans 8 between Kelly and Rachel but the one that really impacted me was the account when Craig was ministering to Jake about the Power of the Cross and what Jesus' death meant to us all in any situation we are in, in this case, PTSD, loss of a loved one/spouse/friend/soldier and discovering who you are in Christ. All three examples very powerful messages on their own but work seamlessly together. They definitely show the power of the Word of God. I found all these examples beautifully executed by Wilson. 

Wilson's method here just reinforces the tenet that we learn better when information in all its forms is delivered in an entertaining way. Fiction is well placed to do this and is very successful. Christian fiction fits in very well here. You do not feel as if you are being preached at when authors like Wilson integrate into the structure of the plot and its themes. It also adds depth and strength to the novel's structure. I state in the "Why Christian Fiction?" tab of this blog from reading Christian fiction I like to experience that, 
  • it has entertained me immensely, 
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God). 
Wilson has definitely achieved this for me. Fiction can be a very powerful platform when an author writes for God under His guidance/anointing. 

Another aspect of the spiritual in this novel is a touch of the supernatural. Both Rachel and Jake have dreams where they are visited by a messenger called Luke. It is very identifiable that this messenger is an angel (Mal'ak (also spelt as Malak or Melek and is the Semitic word for "angel" Hebrew מַלְאָךְ and means messenger). He tells each of them what they need to do and a heads up on what to expect when Jake comes home. In Jake's case, he has an opposing voice to what Luke says and at first, I wondered if it was demonic, but as this was not as obvious as who Luke is, it seems to be the negative talk from his brokenness, anger, guilt, shame. However, when Jake is care-fronted by Adrian and Craig with the Word of God and their counsel based on this, it is easy to see this negative but destructive self-talk is destroyed (excuse the play on words here!). Even Rachel is ashamed or embarrassed to discuss her dream and counsel from Luke with Pastor Craig.

It does make me wonder why Christians are so reticent to accept the supernatural in our lives even when it becomes obvious! It should go hand in hand with our conversion and experience of Jesus. I would have liked to have seen more of this supernatural element in this novel but it served its purpose.

This novel highlighted the need for more support by the government in reality to support veterans. I honestly do not know if the situation here in Australia is the same or similar to what you see in America, but I am shocked at the lack of care and support on every level of society for veterans! There needs to be more resources created, distributed and any existing ones expanded and improved to meet the needs of the armed forces members once they return home. It should also be for life as their needs are not temporary in the majority of cases. 

Wilson has tied up all the loose ends well by the end of the novel and while it has a happy and satisfying ending, how it does end and what Jake, Rachel, Kelly, Craig and Chris achieve in their lives, physically, mentally and emotionally is not just for the novel's ending but is what can be achieved by faith, by mentoring, by coming alongside those who are broken, despairing and at the end of themselves, by allowing the Spirit of God to minister through any willing Christian and in the broken who has a heart and mind that is receptive to the Spirit's healing. 

This is one very impressive novel. It is action packed, it hooks you and does not let go. It will tug at your emotions, it uplifts you and shows the power of the Cross and Jesus' victory over sin and death and His restorative and redemptive power. 

I look forward to more from this author. Jeffrey Wilson is one author to follow are support. 

Highly Recommended.

The three ratings below are based on my discernment:

World Building 5/5

Characters 5/5

Story 5/5

The two classifications below are based on the booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland:

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

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

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

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that War Torn contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, (click on the title below to see what this is based on), I award Jeffrey Wilson with the
Congratulations, Jeffrey!

To buy or preview this novel, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icon below: