Saturday 13 December 2014

The Levine Affair: Angel's Flight by Lela Gilbert

The Levine Affair: Angel's Flight

Haram’s slaughter of Christian villagers have stunned the world. A barbaric gang of thugs has kidnapped of hundreds of schoolgirls. They have slaughtered young boys and men and have burned countless worshippers alive in their churches. They’ve raped and forcibly married Christian women to Muslim men. 

And now…. 

An American missionary has been kidnapped in by Boko Haram. 

A young Nigerian mother is sentenced to death by stoning. 

A Texas oilman has disappeared in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta. 

No government in the world will touch these politically charged cases. 

Acquisitions editor Karen Burke works for the small, L.A. based “faith and inspiration” imprint of a venerable New York publishing company. She arrives at work one Monday morning to find a book proposal on her desk. “See if this story has legs,” her boss writes. “If you have to do a site visit, do it. This could be huge!” 

The book proposal was written by an American, Nate Gregory, recounting his shocking recollections of being held hostage by Muslim radicals in Nigeria. His story is gripping, and although Nate was simply doing construction work on a short-term missionary assignment, he turns out to be a surprisingly talented writer. 

Karen is troubled, however, with his description of his Muslim captors, his seemingly “colonial” view of the Christian community in Africa, and his eloquent but relentless deprecation of “Sharia law,” the Islamic religious system under which he was held captive. He also makes incredible claims about brutal amputations as sentencing for crimes, crude violations of women’s rights, and the burning alive of Christians in their churches. 

Talented or not, is Nate Gregory just another Islamophobic religious fanatic who hates Muslims? 

Meanwhile, David Levine, an Israeli philanthropist based in London, has put an elite paramilitary team together. Levine is deeply concerned about the global threat of Islamic jihadists like Boko Haram, and their ferocious tactics in trying to impose Shari’a law around the world. 

Since neither the US, NATO nor any other government wants to get involved in politically incorrect religious politics, Levine has formed an elite team of former Special Forces commandoes. He sees it as his own little army – fighting jihadis, one deadly attack at a time. 

Unbeknownst to Nate Gregory – who’s been led astray by a Southern California preacher who claims to have miraculously saved him from his captors - Levine’s team, commanded by Joe Brac a retired Green Beret, was actually responsible for his release from captivity. 

Now Levine has tasked Brac with another rescue – this time to liberate Jumoke Akabakar, the 18-year-old Nigerian girl who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. 

The story unfolds as Karen Burke, in order to confirm the facts in Nate’s book proposal, travels to Nigeria to meet up with him. The two of them get along better than they might have imagined. But what seems to be a simple fact-finding mission soon gets increasingly ugly. 

While Karen and Nate are in Nigeria, they learn that an American oilman has been kidnapped and beheaded in the Niger River delta. At about the same time, the corrupt governor of the local Nigerian state is assassinated. Worst of all, an urgent warning reaches them that a mob of jihadis has targeted the church compound where they are staying. The Boko Haram terrorists are heavily armed and raging with hatred. 

All at once Karen and Nate find themselves in the crosshairs of bloodthirsty radicals. They have unexpectedly been left on their own and aren’t at all sure that help is one the way. They have no choice but to run for their lives. 

Joe Brac’s small team of Special Operators rescue has been working night and day to develop of plan to liberate Jumoke. That was their key mission, well conceived and meticulously planned. 

But now, unexpectedly, they have two more victims in grave danger. 

Will they find a way to rescue Nate and Karen?

The Guru's Review: 

I discovered Angel's Flight through a blog post promoting this novel from author, Martin Roth, who writes in the same genre, the persecuted church. His novels also involve a special ops team that support the persecuted Christian church with military force. I loved Martin's books, and I just love this one.  I am very encouraged to see that there are authors such as Roth and Gilbert who are writing novels to alert Christian readers of the plight of Christians and their persecution for their faith in God in countries where their religious/political regime is extremely hostile to the Bible, God and Christianity. Another author, whom I have all his books but have not read them yet, is D. I Telbat. His books look very exciting yet with the same serious message about the persecuted church.

The first thing that hit me reading Gilbert's novel is the detail she has included in the descriptions of all things military. This has been achieved by using the knowledge and experience of W. Jack Bruckner (LTC, Retired, Special Forces) to her fullest advantage here. His input is invaluable and definitely adds credibility and authenticity to the plot lines, and enriches the action scenes. It also adds credibility and development to the ops team characters and other military personnel. I loved the description of the management and planning system of Levine's special forces; this felt as if you were part of this special ops team. I would love to see this team continue in further books as Gilbert has created a team that becomes endeared to the reader, especially their leader, Joe Brac. 

Gilbert successfully recreates the Nigerian culture and political landscape and you really feel that you are transported there. The same  can be said for the Muslim agenda of domination and suppression/eradication of Christianity through violence and force. The Muslim extremists threat feels real, you can feels their hatred of Christianity and any who don't agree or follow the Muslim faith. Conversely, the fear, and desperation to escape this threat experienced by Karen, Nate and their cohorts is also real and is transferred to the reader. I was there with them dodging bullets, feeling that I would not escape unharmed or at all. 

Gilbert shows that she has researched and understands the mindset of the Muslim doctrine in relation to their terrorist activities/jihad, as explained by Levine, an Israeli philanthropist,
In their minds they are all part of one pan-Islamist nation that has no borders. And they've declared war on the rest of the world, especially on Jews and Christians. Have you heard some of the sermons in their mosques? Unbelievable hatred! And in some areas they're killing the so-called infidels by the thousands. As I'm surew you know, a lot of the violence goes unreported, and even if it is, no one lifts a finger to help. I think the time has come for private individuals to get involved. We have to fight for the sake of the oppressed...... because no one else will fight for them."
and further where he explains to Karen, must understand.....this so-called "war on terror' the minds of our enemies, is a war against the infidel-you and me-for the sake of establishing a pan-Islamic state. This isn't just about Nigeria. It is a global threat. In the minds of the jihadists, there is no difference between Christians and Jews and, really, all non-Muslim Americans....there are reports of books in mosques throughout America, calling for the death of Christians and Jews......their their view, we are mortal enemies because America supports the existence of Israel, and America does embrace radical Islam's geo-political ambitions.
It is both these accounts that show the main theme and background of this novel , the persecution of Christians and Jews and that the world does not seem to be doing too much to rescue these persecuted groups, hence Levine's formation of his special ops group as he explains, 
I intend to put together a small paramilitary unit that can perform surgical military strikes, rescue hostages, and deal with tyrants.... I have been very fortunate in my business and am privileged to do what I can to protect and assist innocent people in difficult circumstances. On several occasions it has been necessary for me to provide rescue and relief for certain individuals when they have run out of options.
When you read books like Gilbert's, Roth and I presume Telbat (having, as I mentioned previously, not read his yet), you cannot help but know that what is described in these books should also exist in reality. Would it not be heart-warming, inspiring and a great witness of who God is and what God can do if what is described in these novels was not just a fictitious account? 

Martin Roth, in a recent blog post about this book, has the following to say about this book,
The words “ripped from the headlines” have become a cliché, but they describe abundantly this excellent book. It is well researched, well written and features all the drama a reader would want from an international thriller, including, it must be noted, violence and a modicum of (somewhat opaque) sex.
The persecution of Christians around the globe, and particularly in the Muslim world, is an escalating terror. Yet too many Western Christians seem uninformed or, at best, aware but unwilling to do much.
We need more educational resources, in all forms of media, that vividly portray the new reality. That is why novels like “The Levine Affair: Angel’s Flight” serve such an important role. This is a novel that the church needs to read.
I could not have described this any better myself. After reading Roth's novels and now this one, I agree that the church needs to read novels such as these and of Telbat's to get the message about the persecuted Church and get real about this neglected area of Christianity, that Western Christianity is isolated from, and which it should not be.

I wondered why Gilbert chose Nigeria as the setting for this novel, and the following from Roth's post gives a clear reason why she did so, 

A harrowing report in the Baptist Press last year noted that Nigeria was, at that time, by far the most lethal country for Christians.
According to the article:

The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year [2012] were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 per cent of Christians killed globally. This makes Nigeria the most lethal country for Christians by a huge margin.
Statistics like this should be sobering for the Christian Church, especially for Western Christianity and act as a wake up call. I applaud these three authors for writing novels to reflect this reality and pray that God use their novels to wake up any reader to this reality. 

I am very appreciative of these three authors and it has woken me up to the reality of the persecuted Christian Church. I believe that God can and does use fiction to educate, entertain, and change a Christian's heart, and attract a non-believer to consider Him to be real. Gilbert, Roth and Telbat are strategically placed by God to be used in this media to, as Roth so aptly put it, 
We need more educational resources, in all forms of media, that vividly portray the new reality.
Christian fiction, through these authors, portrays this  very vividly. 

Angel's Flight: Highly Recommended. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It is awaiting moderation.