Saturday 23 November 2013

The Maria Kannon by Martin Roth (A Brother Half Angel Thriller, Book 2)


Luiz Kim, angry and unsettled since being kicked out of the Marines, decides to seek out the sister he has not seen in more than twenty-five years.

He makes contact. But, after flying halfway around the world to Japan for an emotional reunion, he is stunned to learn that she has just been murdered in church, while at prayer.

A killer is on the loose, and it is clear that he is targeting members of the small church community. But why?

Luiz is determined to use his military background to hunt down the killer. And quickly it becomes apparent that the key is a mysterious card left at each murder scene – a card depicting the Maria Kannon, a statue of a Buddhist deity that was once revered by persecuted Japanese Christians.

As the stakes go higher and higher in this adrenaline-fueled thriller - another in Martin Roth's acclaimed Military Orders series of international thrillers - Luiz is forced to confront his notions of what it means to be alive. And whether he is ready to die.


In this second instalment of the Military Orders series, Brother Half Angel is back with much more involvement than in Brother Half Angel where we were introduced to him and the issues facing the persecuted church. This is good as I was looking forward to seeing what Brother Half Angel is all about. In this instalment, Roth does not disappoint. He has developed the plot in more depth than the first and also some of the returning characters that were introduced in the previous instalment. Character development is improved in this novel and are more relational.

I really enjoyed this story.
Roth has introduced another aspect of the persecuted church. Radical members of the Taoist religion feel threatened with the increasing popularity of the New Joy Gospel Church and decide to do something about it. This forms the main plot of the story but does spark off other issues such as Luiz being recruited into the Military Orders team and him confronting the past that led to him being discharged from the Marines and him questioning what it means to be alive and would he be willing to die for his beliefs. In seeking to find the murderer of his sister, Luiz proves himself worthy of being in a military team and overcomes his shame and fear from his previous discharge.
Roth introduces an informative history into the Taoist beliefs and religion and specifically that of the Maria Kannon deity and how the Christians of the past used this as a front to continue practising Christianity without compromising biblical doctrine or faith due to Christianity being forced underground from the oppressive nature of the ruling government. This background history provides depth and structure to the plot and supports the motivation behind the persecution of the Christian church.
Based on the history of the Maria Kannon the reader begins to wonder how this is connected to murders of the Christians from the New Joy Gospel Church. Roth does a good job of stringing the reader along and keeping the guessing game going until the connection is revealed at an important part of the plot. From here, the plot intensifies and so does the pace.

My only negative is that I felt the ending was a bit rushed and you felt cut off too quickly.

Roth has a good series here and I would recommend any reader who has started this series to keep going to the end.

I am enjoying this Military Orders series.

My rating:

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