Saturday 5 April 2014

Daniel's Mighty Men by David Bergsland

Daniel's Mighty Men (Black Sail)

Christian Warriors?

Give me a break! Surely I cannot be saying that there are Christians who could be black ops covert warriors. But yes, that's what I'm saying. In fact, I'm sure there must be some of them as the Lord has His sheep spread like salt throughout the earth. Now there are certainly no Christian porn workers or porn movie producers. But warriors, intelligence people, politicians, and first response men & women? Of course there are.

David's mighty men are given good coverage in the Bible. In 2 Samuel 22 and 1 Chronicles 11, David's mighty men did amazing feats. They snuck David water from the center of the enemy camp after David vaguely wished for it.
  • Abishai, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. [1 Chron 11:20 NLT]
  • Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. [2 Sam 23:8 NIV]
These were supernaturally anointed warriors. But that begs the question:

How would Christian warriors act?

They would do their work with love, care, prayer, and guidance from the Holy Spirit, of course. This book is written by a spirit-filled pastor with decades of experience in hearing from the Lord in very trying circumstances. You will be immersed in Christian living at a level most people never experience. Do you feel the need to hear from the Lord on a regular basis for practical guidance in daily living? This novel will show you how to do that.

The scenario may seem extreme, but only if you have not lived in New Mexico for the past three decades. Radical Mexicans get the money, supplies, training, and leadership they need--to do what they have been talking about since the mid-20th century, at least. The invasion comes suddenly on Cinco de Mayo. The burden of repelling the invaders and saving the union falls on Senator Daniel Aragon, the presidential candidate with the character to do what Washington shockingly refuses to allow. The Lord gives the authority and provides the warriors. How will it all work out? What's His plan?

It's a fun read, with real spiritual training and discipleship at its core. There's a lot of action, but these aren't trigger-happy cowboys shootin' up the range. They are warriors led by a former CIA assassin who's now a spirit-filled pastor. In Washington, experience a situation room meeting of horror contrasted with one led by the Spirit of God. A Godly political leader? Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


When I read the blurb of this book, I was instantly reminded of another similar take on the idea of Christians Warriors. This is a series called Brother Half Angel by Martin Roth. In Roth's books, a Pastor in Korea answers the call of the Lord to provide a special ops team of Christian men and women from military and associated backgrounds to provide military support of the persecuted church around the world. This group was called The New Mercedarians based on the Knights Templar and the Mercedarians that existed in centuries past. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and it was this that encouraged me to read and review Daniel's Mighty Men when David Bergsland requested a review.

I must confess though that this book is the first 600 page plus novel I have read! I was a little daunted by this. I wondered what the author could include in such a large volume! I have not been disappointed. Bergsland writes well and he is very descriptive in all aspects of the plot, characters, weaponry, politics, action and adventure, warfare strategy and even the supernatural. It is quite easy to see from this how this novel passes the general 300-400 page novel limit that most of us are used to. I feel it would loose its impact and effect on the reader if it was shortened.

Admittedly, it means a longer time to read this novel, but what a ride you are taken on! Bergsland has obviously researched this topic and all its "What ifs?" effectively including all those aforementioned aspects. He combines all this into a well written and constructed story that is very plausible and does make you wonder how great is the possibility this could happen to the USA in real life or for that matter any country that has similar or same conditions described herein.

He has described and is very convincing showing the belief system of the radical Mexicans who invade the US and in portraying their hatred of the oppression from the US whom they accuse of taking their land from them since the founding days of America. This adds strength to the plot and credibility to these radicals in their quest to reclaim their land.

Bergsland combines well the complexities of a plot such as this with a corrupt government bent on inaction towards these invaders, a faction forming within this government who decide to do something about this inaction, the counter offensive military action that follows as a result, the ignoring of the American citizens by this corrupt government and keeping them in the dark, various groups that align with the radical Mexicans for their own gain, betrayal, manipulation and deceit that goes with all this. This adds to the plausibility of the whole plot.

Amoungst all this is the characters on both sides of this conflict. This is one of the strengths of this novel. To pull this plot off, apart from the author's research and plot development, the well developed, three dimensional characters add strength and foundation to this plot. All the characters in the special ops groups that make up the Black Sail team, are very relational and believable and you come to be fond of or love them. Some make you laugh and some you admire for their unique characteristics. For me, I related well to Major. Now there is a character who is disciplined, tough when he needs to be and  soft, tender and passionate when the situation arises and also willing to face the hard facts of life head on. Another character, Deborah, has a hard exterior to deflect the typical male attitude towards her triggered by her beauty and to survive being a CIA operative, but allows herself to be vulnerable as Major develops their relationship. This is a very nice romantic subplot Bergsland has added and balances the fast paced action and adventure and political tenseness of the plot. I looked forward to the chapters that were devoted to the continuing relationship between Deborah and Major (Warren Jensen).

Sometimes an author struggles or outright fails to blend the faith of the character with their person, but Bergsland blends this very well and this becomes another of the successes of this novel and what he set out to achieve, that of how marrying faith in God affects a warrior's behaviour. The account from Rachael to Deborah as the latter struggles with her new role which may include killing civilians if she has to, is where Bergsland shines in marrying Christian/biblical faith with being a Christian warrior. It is a great piece of writing and really stands out in this novel as his main message. It is well placed and does not come across as preachy or self righteous but one of education and bringing the truth of this marriage of faith and military action into the right perspective from God's point of view. While reading this section it felt as though Rachael was educating myself rather than Deborah!

This is the first Christian military/special ops novel that I have read where an author has added the supernatural. The account where Deborah reaches out to Jesus while in a drug induced stupor inflicted upon her by her captors, is captivating and to me is how I would expect to experience this in real life. Another touching one is where Major cries out to God when Deborah is captured, he in his unbelief of God and realises that he has come to the end of himself and has no resources left to search for her and God shows Himself to him and Major finally accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Yet others where God reveals Himself audibly to direct various characters in warfare or when they are in dire straits and realise they cannot continue without His involvement.

The other spiritual aspect Bergsland has included is that of demonology. On two occasions, God enabled Deborah to see in the spiritual plane, demons exert their oppression/influence on certain main terrorists or on their cohorts. On one of those occasions she also saw a protective layer around those whom she identified as Christians in right relationship with God. Adding this aspect of the spiritual, reinforces the reality of the spiritual warfare that exists in the real world and also adds suspense and realism to this novel. For me, this was another of the strengths of this novel. This is where an author reinforces in me that Christian fiction can educate the reader while strengthening their faith and relationship with God. 

I did become alarmed at one aspect of this novel where astral projection was included. I could see why the author had included this as it served to give one of the warrior team, Miner, a means to visit the enemy headquarters and obtain intel without being discovered, but it troubled me as the way it was written could be interpreted that astral travel is being aligned with Christian doctrine when this is not the case. I contacted the author via email and he cleared this up for me:

"No, I definitely do not condone astral projection. The character, and the warrior team she leads, are all heathens...  This type of occult practice is found among people seeking personal power. I see it as being on the same level as King Saul when he went to the medium. To the shock of the medium, instead of the normal demonic communication, Samuel apparently actually showed up. Supernatural power is used by both sides in the war. For we humans, people have many experiences no one wants to deal with before the Lord clears things up."

I had a feeling something like this would be his reply as everything up to this point and after it was very consistent with biblical principles and a reflection of his faith. David also mentioned that astral projection was something he had dabbled in before the Lord brought him to His salvation. 

I am glad David was encouraged to contact me to review this novel. I have thoroughly enjoyed this and have found another author to follow and not only be entertained, but have my faith strengthened and educated in biblical principles, in this case, spiritual warfare, as well.

I received this novel free in return for an honest review. 

Highly Recommended. 

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