Sunday 29 November 2015

The Veil: A Novel...of Current Biblical Proportions by DJ Edmonston

Jacob had it all, or so he thought. Having been a successful and internationally recognized architect who enjoyed the finer things in life—the six figure income, the BMW, complete with a wonderful wife and adoring son. But it was all gone now. After three long agonizing years of watching his beloved son battle and ultimately succumb to leukemia, his wife Elaine, stricken with grief and unable to cope abruptly walks away from their marriage. Only months after the loss of his family, and during the financial crisis and great recession, his career ends as his firm closes their doors. Jacob would have ended it all if not for his friend Paul Bevelchek and their Pastor Alan Caldwell giving him their friendship and hope. Jacob abruptly has an onset of strange dreams and visions. In the midst of this, Pastor Alan sends Jacob to the office of billionaire Jeremy Richards at Jeremy’s request. Upon his arrival, all hell breaks loose as Jacob witnesses the murder of Richards and flees with what might be the key to unlocking not only the reasons for Richard’s murder but possibly the answers to the ancient prophecies that seem to be unfolding before the eyes of Jake and his friends. The three friends suddenly find themselves thrown into a high octane, “no holds barred” adventure as assassins hunt for Jacob, and will stop at nothing until they have what he had taken from Richards' office. As the three friends struggle to survive, they discover the enormity of The Veil’s deception and the all-encompassing spiritual battle involving mankind’s eternal fight for freedom. Will The Veil continue to be used to deceive mankind? Will mankind continue to look to the “creation” for answers, or will we finally turn to the “Creator?” Prepare for an engaging and exciting literary adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Jake and his friends seek answers to the age-old questions between good and evil in the first of this hard-hitting Veil series.

The Guru's Review: 

When I was approached by the author to review this novel and its sequel, I had no idea of the experience I was going have in reading his novel. There is so much to like and love about this novel, the characters, the plot, the action, the mystery, the suspense, demonic deception. However, the one thing that stands out for me is the spiritual aspects. This is one story that is not just from the imagination of the author but is, I believe, God inspired and directed. 

This is not just a tale of good versus evil. This is all out spiritual warfare between those in a position of power in government and it's security organizations who are manipulated by fallen angels to dominate the human race as part of their rebellion against God and their hatred of the human race. Reading it illustrates just how this could happen in today's headlines and events leading towards the return of Christ. Edmonston has deliberately constructed and depicted it like this to be a warning of what is to come and what we as Christians need to be aware of, how to be spiritually prepared and empowered to act and to make aware those who don't know Christ and to avoid an eternity in Hell. 

I am impressed with Edmonston's research and interpretation of the political and economic climate and of those organizations and their specific members that are directly involved with clandestine operations that suit their selfishness, deception and those of the fallen angels that are manipulating these people to suit the agenda previously mentioned. The ending of this novel brings all this agenda together and sets the stage for more of this in Book 2, Crisis. It sure seems that everything is going rev up even more. I am looking forward to this. 

Edmonston writes well and has constructed the plot to be fast paced, with many twists and turns, with all the usual constructs in a novel of this genre. However, this novel is resplendent with spiritual intervention from God, namely the Spirit of God, who guides the actions of the Christian characters who live out the bible verse of Zechariah 4:6, 
'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
It is from this aspect that this novel shines. Edmonston has depicted his characters, Jacob (Jake), the main protagonist, Alan, the Pastor, Jeremy Richards, Frank Smyth, Ray Callahan, David Strang, (and any I have left out) as being submitted and in tune with God and His Spirit. These characters show us how to be discerning of the things of God, to hear His voice literally and figuratively and through action and events. This novel is one of predominantly spiritual warfare, and Edmonston has used the events depicted to not just show us how to live during events such as these but also in our day to day lives. Whether the reader is a Christian or not, we are involved in spiritual warfare that was set in motion from satan's rebellion against God and Adam and Eve's sin against Him as well. This novel shows which side we need to be on, and what Christians can do to encourage and win those who either knowingly or unknowingly are being manipulated by satan's and his minion's influence and on a path to eternal damnation. 

While some Christians might find the spiritual aspects depicted very idealistic, and not how it happens in real life, I find that what Edmonston has depicted is exactly how it should be and for some this is just how it is. How Edmonston has portrayed the direct voice of God telling someone to do something while they are in dire straights or direct physical or spiritual warfare, or when they are so despairing that all hope seems lost and they are told they are loved or forgiven by Him is directly how God works. I guess it depends on how responsive Christians are to His Spirit and what their relationship with Him is like as to whether they experience Him like this or not. I am just so thankful and grateful that He has other ways to communicate to us as well. 

Most churches do not experience the revival that Edmonston depicts, but again, it is very much possible, as evidenced by recorded church history. This novel's depiction is most likely how it will be in the time before Jesus returns as the congregation respond to the Spirit's call and guidance both in a spiritual and physical sense.  

Edmonston's construction of the spiritual warfare aspects is chilling but realistic. There is a veil that separates the spiritual from the physical and I loved the analogy of this in the prologue. And it is here that Edmonston shows the reader the rules of engagement in this warfare, the power of prayer, applying the Word of God, claiming the Word of God, physically and spiritually standing against the onslaught, being discerning of the evil around you, knowing how the enemy thinks and behaves, submission to God and as stated previously, living our lives in His Spirit and not by any of our might or power. 

I have come across a new form of Christian genre, created by author and fellow reviewer, David Bergsland, called Spirit-Filled fiction. Here, David describes it through the novel's Christian characters who are, 
....evangelicals who have come to a deep and close personal relationship with Jesus, communicating daily about needs, direction, seeking guidance, praying for/receiving healings, and so on. Now, I’m not talking about characters who are necessarily pentecostal, but those who have a real relationship with the Lord which includes regular communication, direct guidance, prophetic implications, a touch of the miraculous, and the normal evidences of Christian life as presented by Jesus in Mark 16: 14-18,
"Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
This novel definitely fits this new genre and it is this type of Christian fiction that I find the most rewarding. I expect in Christian fiction to be entertained, my faith in Christ either strengthened, edified or challenged to go to the next level in Him and to be educated in Christian living, biblical doctrine, spiritual warfare and many other topics that will deepen my Christian worldview. Edmonston more than achieves this for me in this novel. Edmonston's characters most certainly meet the criteria that Bergsland cites, 
....real relationship with the Lord which includes regular communication, direct guidance, prophetic implications, a touch of the miraculous, and the normal evidences of Christian life as presented by Jesus in Mark 16: 14-18
While we are talking of characters, Edmonston shines here as well. These are not just Spirit-Filled believers, but people that you can relate to. Despite being in tune with God or His Spirit, they still show fear, apprehension or are tempted to act on their own. They are not perfect just because they have the Spirit of God living inside them. My favorite was David Strang. I could relate to him and what he went through in this story wey well. Edmonston succeeded in showing the grief and the Saudade that Jake experiences from the breakup of his marriage and death of his son. I related very well to the latter having lost two children a few decades ago. However, I guess what stands out for me is that these characters have a love for people that only comes from having a relationship with Jesus and being guided by His Spirit. It challenges me to be more like this in my own life. 

This is one novel that I will not forget and is one of my favorites. DJ Edmonston is one author that I will continue to follow. 

Special Offer: When the author asked me to review The Veil, he also asked me to provide a link to his website where you can download a free PDF copy of this novel. Go here to access this free copy. 

Note that at the moment the website states this is for a sample, but the author will send the full novel from this link. 

Highly Recommended.

Saturday 28 November 2015

The Codex (An Armour of God Thriller, Book 2) by Daniel Patterson

When an extreme weather condition causes parts of the Greenland ice sheet to melt, archeologist Zack Cole is determined to join the race of professionals and amateur alike, to find uncovered history and treasure.

He's got the knowledge. He's got the money. He's even got the equipment. Now about those permits...

Zack turns to his old friend, Father Salvatore Giovanni, curator of the Chicago Museum of Biblical Antiquities to back his expedition. He says yes, with one condition... Researcher Sydney Langtry is coming with him to protect the museum's interests.

Plunged together into an icy world of death and darkness, Zack and Sydney make a discovery that will rock the Biblical and archeological community. But will they make it out alive to share their discovery?

From bestselling Christian fiction author Daniel Patterson comes, The Codex, the latest action-packed adventure in his Armour of God Thriller Series.

The Armour of God Thriller Series combines heart-pounding action, with page-turning adventure, and non-stop suspense.

Book 1: The Tyndale Code

Book 2: The Codex

Book 3: Coming soon

Book 4: Coming late 2016

The Guru's Review: 

This is the second novel by Patterson I have read and the second in the Armour of God Thriller series (the first being The Tyndale Code).

This was much more enjoyable being longer in length than the previous novella. This showcases Pattersons writing and imagination. It was good to have Zac back in another adventure and see more of his passion for biblical archeology and his quest to find biblical artifacts. It was good to have the Tyndale Code referenced in this story too. 

Patterson has a flair for plot development and pace that keeps you interested and not wanting to leave the story, it is like many other novels that are successful in achieving that "cannot put down" characteristic. This, of course, fits well in a novel like this where there is a search for treasure or of legendary, forgotten or undiscovered, past civilization. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, intentional of Patterson or not, but after seeing the Indiana Jones movies, one cannot but liken Zac and this plot to this style, Patterson even mentions that Zac has a "...Indiana Jones complex" from his friend, Father Salvatore Giovanni. I do not believe that Patterson has copied this in order to create this series, he seems to have a passion for this style and genre. I do see that he gives this his own flavor and this I appreciate and like to see an author do.

I found the plot very intriguing for two reasons. I have never heard that the ice shelf of Greenland has or does melt or that there is or could be a civilization that lived under this ice shelf. Patterson's description of this "under the ice shelf" village transported me there and I could almost imagine the daily life of the villagers and the Christian lifestyle that they lived. It reminded me of the village that the explorers found in the original movie, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959), by Jules Verne. It is against this backdrop that Patterson successfully creates and weaves the plot of investigating a once in a lifetime opportunity of exploring virgin landscape now revealed by the forces of Nature itself.

Patterson has used this scenario to create the spiritual themes and mythology of this village. Based on Norse mythology, it is one colorful account and interestingly that Zac and Sydney find many elements of this in the subterranean world and this just adds to the mystery and suspense of this novel. I thought it very clever how Patterson has also added Christian/biblical themes to this mythology without compromising the Biblical account or that of any biblical doctrine or its books, namely that of Revelation and Isaiah. This is where Patterson shines. 

When Zac and Sydney discover evidence that the residents of this subterranean village were Christians, the spirituality of the novel deepens. Zac and Sydney discover a very valuable and important artifact that has far-reaching importance for the history of the area and that of Christianity. It is this that forms the basis of the title of this novel where there is a twist at the end, leading to a cliffhanger ending and obviously continued in Book 3.

It was good to see Zac progress both spiritually and relationship wise from the previous book. It seems that Sydney is the catalyst here for both of these to occur for Zac. Seeing Sydney's expression and practice of her faith seem to have a positive impact on him and when this expedition goes pear shaped, he realizes he has come to the end of himself and that the only avenue left for him is to return to God, knowing deep down that God is who he has always needed since his parents were killed when he was a child. This enables him to trust and rely on God more which restores his relationship with God. It is here that this novel takes on a redemptive aspect, Zac reconciling to God. 

Despite Zac's insistence that he works alone, a one-man band, it is obvious that he is attracted to Sydney and I loved how this developed as a sub-plot throughout the novel especially when their expedition goes pear shaped and she is kidnapped. Obviously this will be developed further in Book 3.

My only concern with this novel is the title. It is only until right at the end that there is any hint of this title connected to this artifact and it seems it will be fully explained in Book 3. If this is so, then the title is not fitting to this novel. 

I really loved this novel, and this is a great series. I am very glad that there are two more books to come. 

Strongly Recommended. 4/5 

Thursday 26 November 2015

Author/Novel Spotlight: Michael Hill

A few weeks ago, I received a request via this blog from author, Michael Hill, to review his debut novel, A Soldier of the Word (Brotherhood of the Word) (Volume 1). I was unable to at this present time but would be able in a few weeks so, in the meantime, I offered him an Author/Novel Spotlight post or Guest Blogger post. He chose the former.

Classified as fantasy by Amazon, it contains themes of spiritual warfare, angels and demons, the ministry of angels, demonology but its main theme is "What is the true nature of Mankind?".

Just to whet your appetite, here is the book description:

What is the true nature of Mankind? That is the one question that the mighty Archangel Michael cannot understand until he is given an opportunity by the creator to find out for himself. Growing up Michael Stuart finds life in a small town of South Georgia to be hard. As a Teenager, a chance encounter with a witch in the Okefenokee Swamps marks him for sacrifice and plunges him headlong into a race to escape the demonic forces sent to kill him. Nathaniel; a member of the mysterious Brotherhood of the Word, offers him a slim chance for freedom. But first they must find an ancient talisman called the Basar. Can he find this talisman in time to save himself from the certain death ordered by the Angel of Darkness; Gadreel the Deceiver? or does God have something else in mind for him?

So sit back and let Michael Hill tell you about himself, his debut novel, its background and even read an excerpt that highlights what a Soldier of the Word is capable of.

Hi there! My name is Michael Hill. I was born and raised in Athens, a small town in northern Alabama where I still live with my wife of 30+ years. I have two grown sons, Jon, and Ben.

As a young child, I hated the whole idea of reading, but I still remember like it was yesterday that first Saturday morning my father carried me down to a local drug store where he bought me my very first comic book. That started my lifelong love affair with heroic fiction. I would spend blissful hours ravenously poring over my treasured comics. The combination of some of the world’s best artwork coupled with story lines that were designed specifically to ignite the flames of imagination was pure heaven for a boy of eight.

A couple of years later I began to read short novels. E.R. Burroughs’s Tarzan was a favorite. By the time I was in high school I had discovered Tolkien and R.E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian. It was also this time that I began writing. Mainly short stories and even a few poems, thankfully few have survived.

I became a Christian the summer of 1993, and immediately got involved in
 several ministries at my home church. I drove a bus route for children for 20+ years as well as ministering to the elderly at a local health facility where I still serve. I’ve also worked for several years as a reserve Police officer and served as the department Chaplain. But my passion is still telling stories both to my grandchildren as well as teaching the children at my local church.

Now Michael explains a little of the background behind A Soldier of the Word (Brotherhood of the Word) (Volume 1)

In all honesty, I don’t think I ever made a conscious choice to sit down and write a Christian Fiction novel but rather I just decided one afternoon to sit down and write what was already in my mind and that’s what came of it. I just started writing. But not very far into the book I realized that I wanted my novel to tell more than just a simple story of Fiction. I wanted this story to speak to someone.

So I decided to structure the entire story around a central theme. What is the true nature of Mankind? It is also my hope that before the series has ended I can explain why I think this to be one of the most important questions mankind can ask.

I already had been enamored by the idea suggested in 1 Peter 1:6. What if an angel really could find out what it was like to be a man? But then rather than God telling him about it, what if God chose to show him? I think if it were possible this angel would see that life on this little world is not all a bed of roses. Life is hard.

In my story, I specifically chose to make the first few chapters depicting the life of my character Michael Stuart to be specifically sad and dismal.

I also had been intrigued for many years by a question I had sought to answer through careful study of the Scriptures but have not been able to find any adequate answers for. So I decided to invent a fictional answer to my question.

There were many men in the Bible who were not what I would call your quintessential “Man of God.” The wise men at the birth of Jesus were not even Hebrew, yet they knew all about the signs and seemed to know what to expect. They obviously followed the one and only true God, but far from what I thought was mainstream Judaism. The further I looked back the more men I could find, about whom were not at all what I expected. Enigmatic men like Balaam. He went wrong but still there can be no doubt that at one time he had been in close communion with the true God of the universe. Melchizedec was another completely inexplicable character. And still many more.

It almost seemed that the more I studied the more men I could point to that defied everything I thought I knew about what it was like to be a man of God. There are even men in the Bible that are referred to as being Lion-like. With a wry smile I shudder to think of the fictional possibilities this opens.

One fictitious yet plausible explanation could be that they had been called to be something more than a typical Christian. What if God utilized men what had been specially trained and gifted to fight Satan and his minions on their turf? They don’t play fair, you know. Even the very gates of Hell could not prevail against them. This group would be called the Brotherhood of the Word. And the character Nathaniel is a soldier in that army who tries to help Michael Stuart to understand that he is also called by God to be a soldier. A Soldier of the Word.

If this has further whetted your appetite for this novel, Michael has
provided an excerpt. He explains, 
This excerpt from A Soldier of the Word is a favorite section of mine. Here I needed to show the reader the kinds of dangers a member of the Brotherhood would face as well as the spiritual knowledge and abilities God has gifted him with to combat those dangers. Also, note that the words Nathaniel uses as words of power are actual words from the Hebrew language. – Mike Hill

Hours later, Nathaniel quietly stood up from his chair grasping his cane in one hand as the other hand reached to adjust his gentlemen's cap on his head, and in a hushed whisper said, “He’s here.”

Apparently Nathaniel had not gone to sleep at all but had stayed sitting in the old wooden chair all night, silently keeping watch over his charge. The candle that Nathaniel had lit earlier in the night was now burnt low and gave off an uncertain light as the flame flickered and danced even though the night air was deathly still. Suddenly woke from a shallow sleep, Michael blinked for just a moment to clear the cobwebs from his mind, looked down at his watch to see that the time was 4:08 am then looked back to Nathaniel. Struck with fear at the sudden realization that he may have no other choice but to look upon this demon from the netherworld again, or that he might have to turn and flee again as he had done the night before. After all, what could mortal man do against such a creature as this? What chance did he or anyone else for that matter have to stand against something that was not from this world? He had held out hope that the demon would give up, that perhaps the distance they had traveled or the rain would wash away his scent or something would hinder this creature of evil from finding him again. Apparently it did not. The night sky outside was still and dark with lingering clouds, left over from a storm that had rumbled through just after midnight. The moist humid air hung heavy and still like the feel of death. His legs still unsteady after so quickly standing to his feet, Michael stood shivering in the cool of the morning. He quickly reached over beside the couch and grabbed the shotgun that was there.

“It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” Nathaniel said.

“How…How do you know he’s here?” Michael’s voice quivered.

“I feel him, I feel his hatred, I feel his madness. He is there,” pointing towards the back wall. “He’s just about a hundred feet behind the trailer, hiding in the woods. I think he’s waiting, trying to decide if he will have time to kill you before the sun comes up when his strength will be weakened. He also knows I’m here and he is hesitant to attack.”

Unconsciously Michael took a couple of steps away from the back wall and quietly turned his ear in that direction, hoping to be able to hear any sort of movement or noise. He heard nothing. Meanwhile Nathaniel had closed his eyes, all expression left his face. He looked for all the world as if he were perfectly at ease as if nothing at all was wrong. As if he were praying or meditating, or perhaps preparing himself for something.

Turning back to face Nathaniel, Michael noticed for the first time that the head of the cane that Nathaniel carried was beginning to put off a warm glow of some kind. The head piece had always looked to be a black piece of stone perhaps obsidian or some type of dark smooth marble, but now it had begun glowing with its own inner light. Nathaniel opened his eyes that were now clear and bright, in fact, his whole face seemed to shine with an almost inner awareness. Gone was the age in his eyes, gone was the weight of his years. He still looked to be the same person, but with greater vitality that wasn’t there earlier, he stood taller as if he had gone back some years in age. Surprised by the change that had taken place in Nathaniel’s countenance, Michael’s eyes widened with surprise. With a clear and deeper voice and an odd sort of smile on his face Nathaniel said “Further up and further In.”

With that, he turned toward the door and in a firm voice ordered “Stay here. Do not leave this place.”

Without any comment, Michael slowly shook his head, yes.

Nathaniel turned from Michael, and opening the door, stepped through onto the small wooden porch. Seemingly effortless, as he turned back to face Michael, he jumped straight up into the air to land on the metal roof of the trailer with a loud thud, his cane still glowing in the darkness. Stepping to the high center of the roof, he turned to face the direction of the demon, held his cane out in front of him, which was now shining brighter than ever. In the night's darkness, its murky depths pulsed and throbbed, curious smoky waves of changing color passed over its smooth surface. Like a judge pronouncing doom he called with a loud voice of command, “Messenger of Death, show yourself.”

The night went instantly silent, even the wind seemed to hold its breath in anticipation of the event. No movement was detected, no sound was heard.

Inside the trailer, Michael cautiously pushed aside the curtains of the rear window to peek through the slits in the blinds, as the curious light lit the area behind the building.

Holding the cane even higher, Nathaniel said with authority in his voice, “Demon, I command you to come forth.”

Suddenly there was a howl, deep and low, and full of anger. The creature slowly ambled out from under the shadowed branches of a large oak tree, to stand in the light given off by the cane, as it shown a brilliant white now that lit up the entire area.

The creature was huge with thick corded muscles, the whole of its body was covered in thin wiry black hairs. The head was similar to human but with disturbing distortions and malformations. The pig-like eyes were yellow and bloodshot, filled with the glare of madness. Its nose was flat with great flaring nostrils. Its lips writhed back to reveal huge yellow fangs, like the teeth of a dog.

Once again the demon lifted his head and howled low and mournful like a tortured animal.

“Leave you, foul creature, you have no business here.”

The creature was hunched over with its back arched unnaturally while constantly twisting and turning to hide its eyes from the revealing light, its hands aimlessly beating the ground or pawing at the grass with its thick calloused fingers. With vocal cords that were never created to voice words and in a guttural scrapping sound, all the while moving its head back and forth in a sickening gyration the creature spoke. “My master requires the life of the yeled.”

“You cannot have him. He is under my protection.” Nathaniel answered.

The demon cried out, “Then I will take him and eat your flesh as well dog.” With no more warning than a striking cobra, he sprang forth with a burst of blinding speed to cover the short distance.

Michael watching from inside the trailer, out of instinct and fear tore away from the window with a cry of horror, dropping the shotgun to the floor as he moved.
Mere steps before the demon would have crashed headlong into the side of the dwelling, he jumped high into the air to come crashing down on the top of the trailer where Nathaniel had stood scant moments before, the weight of the creature nearly crashing through the roof altogether. The defenders instinctive recoil barely saved his life as he sidestepped the massive arms that swung down. Twisting low Nathaniel using the handle of his cane as a weapon, slashed upward to catch the creature just below the ribs with the glowing and pulsating jeweled head.

A bitter cry of pain escaped from the lips of the demon as the instrument left a burned and charred impression in his flesh. Slashing down again with its massive claws, Nathaniel was barely able to once again dodge the swing by ducking low and avoiding the stroke. However, the demon was left off balance and his front section open to an attack. Nathaniel hit the creature full in the face with his weapon. The cane exploded with brilliant light that blew the demon backward off the roof. He fell to the ground with a deep thud. In a moment Nathaniel was off the roof, with his cane held high above him, he braced to deliver the final stroke to return this creature of the netherworld back to the hell that had spawned it. But before he could strike the demon slashed with his taloned claw to tear the flesh of Nathaniel’s left thigh. Instantly in tremendous pain he fell to the ground with a rolling motion that left several feet between him and the fallen demon before he once again rolled up on one knee to face the creature, with his cane held out in front of him in his left hand, his right hand grasping the torn jagged flesh of his leg in a futile attempt to stem the flow of blood.

In desperation, Nathaniel knew he didn’t have time for a prolonged battle with this demon. Pointing his glowing cane at the creature he screamed at the top of his voice “Maveth Shuwb Sheol.”

Instantly the light erupted from the crystal head of the instrument to bathe the beast in its revealing glow. With a scream of rage and demonic anger, the creature rose to his feet and launched himself through the air at the one who was causing his pain, desperate to choke the life from his tormentor, and destroy the light, that revealed his pollution of this world. But before the leap could be completed the light completely engulfed the creature of darkness with an eruption of blinding light so brilliant that the entire scene was bathed in its intensity. Moments later the glow faded once more and the demon was gone, returned again to the eternal darkness from which it was spawned.

Nathaniel knelt down, his left thigh and leg was covered in his own blood. He sat there exhausted for several moments, his chest heaving with the exertion of trying to catch his breath. Gone now was the glow of his face, gone now was the vitality and stamina he mysteriously possessed during the battle. He fought off a wave of nausea that threatened to cause him to wretch. He knew he needed to get inside before he completely lost consciousness from blood loss and shock. As he struggled to stand the searing waves of intense pain from his wounded leg forced him to give up his struggle to gain the shelter of the trailer. As he fell forward in the wet grass he was momentarily aware of someone by his side calling his name before he lost consciousness. 

If you have come this far and want to purchase A Soldier of the Word (Brotherhood of the Word) (Volume 1), it can be purchased in print or e-book format from Amazon: 

Michael can be contacted at these social media platforms: 



and email:

Saturday 21 November 2015

Fierce Betrayal (Fierce Series Book 5) by Clay Dolan

Xavier, Thomas, Bart, and Walter continue their pursuit for answers about the cannibalistic man-beasts, this time on far-off Mt. Saint Helens and not all of them will survive.

The Guru's Review: 

I had high hopes that this book would reveal more books in the series, but this is the final short. I have loved this series very much and it will be sad to see the end of Xavier, Thomas, Bart and Walter all whom I have become very fond of.

I must confess that I was not expecting the twist that occurred in this short. The previous four books had an escalating tension that this group would be successful in eradicating the Atahsaia but in this short, this is not so. However, I did enjoy this twist but not concerning Xavier and Bart's demise. But, when this is depicted in a story and it fits in well with the overall plot, it does add quite a right amount of tension and makes you appreciate this character all the more.

In this twist, Dolan has tied up the events surrounding these main characters very well, especially that of Thomas, our narrator, and I loved the plot thread concerning him. It was a very nice move to include some of Xavier's past history in this ending. Very satisfying.

Despite, this twist and its events that close this series, I can see how this could be resurrected at a later time in the years following this ending. After all, this series ended with the Atahsaia still dominating their areas and the public still not convinced they exist or who they are in reality, despite the many encounters they have with these beings or as we saw in this short, evidence that could point to the fact that they are not entirely human.

I have appreciated Dolan's writing and structure of this series. There is no fluff to his writing and it is concise but not overly descriptive. I loved his characterisation and depiction of the era the series is set in. I felt like I was in the American west in the 1870s.

I encourage the reader to not skip over the Appendix or those in the Fierce Revelation short. Here is gained very interesting information regarding the background to this series and that many of the series' side characters being real and many of the scenes in this series drawn from real events or long-enduring legends.

Dolan has dealt with the spiritual/biblical origins of Bigfoot really well, not weighing at all on it being his opinion but displayed the evidence from biblical and non-biblical sources to present a very plausible explanation and evidence that the former is correct. I don't doubt any of his research or depiction in this series as it aligns itself very well with that of my own and others who study this topic.

If anyone wants to listen to the author discuss this series, Bigfoot, the supernatural that undergirds this series, I recommend this interview with Clay on radio,

I am very thankful to Clay Dolan for creating this series and providing a balanced expose of this topic.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Kingdom by Guy Stanton III

The sands blow hollowly across the plains of time. Unseen by man an army was on the move, an army of darkness…….

Slowly over the course of centuries the truth has been eroded away within the courts of men, until few yet stand for the ways of El Elyon, the Creator of the beginning and He who foreknew that one day the end would come…….

Ayenathurim, a world poised on the edge of change. Chaos beckons as people fractured apart by ancient rivalries strive to hold on. The sounds of war echo on the wind, but who yet is able to stand in the gap for those who are blind to the signs of the times…………………the end, if so it must be, heralds the rise of heroes, even as monsters roar, and kings rise and fall. As Evil triumphs over the nations, even so it was foretold to come to pass and yet the end of darkness’s reign has already begun…….

The Guru's Review:

I am going to start this review with my comments for my Goodreads status when I finished this book: 
As usual, I am left on a high after finishing a Guy Stanton III novel. Epic fantasy, spiritual truths, highly entertained and my spirit edified. What more can I expect from a novel like this! Stanton always delivers! 
Yes, it took me a while to return to reality. All Stanton's novels are very positive, uplifting and action packed. His characters are memorable, admirable and relational. But it is the spiritual aspects where he as author shines and his books as well, this one included. He unashamedly presents the Gospel of the Bible, the supernatural, the attributes of God, the ministry of angels, many biblical doctrines, all interwoven into the plot and form the structure of the novel. He presents evil as it is, demonic and from the nature of sin, and his demons and fallen angels are as they are biblically and in reality, nothing withheld. When I look back on this novel, and the others that I have read, he seems to include certain elements in each one. A visit to his website showed me what they are: 
  • Exciting action blended into both dystopian contemporary environments and the realms of antiquity's past.
  • Romance that reflects the reality of life in all its glory, but in none of its over the top mainstream explicitness.
  • Stories that feature characters who don't have it all together and who have to learn to mature in order to become the people that God has intended for them to be.
  • Facts of history and future events weaved into a fast paced plot line with the use of vivid imagination that evokes the imagery of the setting at hand as if you were there actually living it.
  • Fiction that is Christ honoring and glorifies God as the Creator of all and the Master of the hearts of mankind.
I never noticed this on his website before and I found myself saying Yes to each one of these as I remember the novels I have read. And saying Yes, to these criteria in The Kingdom was not hard, all very obvious. 

There is so much to like in this novel. I said that in my review of Fallen Ambitions as well, but this seems to be a characteristic of all Stanton's novels, from those I have read and from reading the reviews of those I have not yet. 

As usual, I am taken by the romance created by Stanton. It is honest, biblically based, it promotes healthy relationships and more importantly, it is based on what I was brought up to believe (and lived when I met my now wife) that the relationship needs to be based on God first and then He looks after your relationship. This is clearly shown in Benaiah being sold out for God, placing Him first and this then is the spark that ignites the desire of Susori for God as well for those reasons only and not primarily to be with Benaiah. This is the bible verse of Matthew 6:33 being lived out as we are instructed to do, 
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. NKJ version
I loved the character of Benaiah. A relational man that has the heart of the Biblical David who is after God's own heart and a perfect example of what being a Godly man should be. This seems to be displayed in all of Stanton's main male protagonists and I pray that this will be an encouragement and inspiration to male readers who seek to see what a Christian, Godly man should be and what God can develop in them if only they will let Him. 

I found it very uplifting the relationship between Kuri and Benaiah. Amazing to see the transformation that Benaiah undertakes through the involvement of Kuri and who he is. Very much like what happens when one gives their heart to Jesus and becomes a new spiritual creation as outlined in 2 Corinthians 5: 17, 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
One thing I must mention is the world building Stanton has created. This world of Ayenathurim is made up of many nations, divided into two religious belief systems, those nations of the Kingdomer nations unified in the belief of the one God, El Elyon, while those of the Nicationer Nations as wide-ranging, from worshiping the gods of stone and wood to the darks arts of the fallen Malachim (Angels). The hatred of the Nicationer Nations towards the Kingdomer Nations forms the basis of the spiritual warfare that manifests itself in bitter, physical wars, and it is this that Benaiah goes willingly into empowered with the spirit of El Elyon and his new found faith. He definitely becomes the spiritual leader and warrior of the Kingdomer nations leading to the ultimate victory against the demonic, spiritual forces of the Nicationer nations. It is here against this backdrop, that Stanton brings all the other aspects, those mentioned above, and more not mentioned here, together to make for one epic fantasy and spirit filled fiction. It is one very believable world and the spiritual warfare aspects can encourage the reader to adopt in their own lives. It is in this world of Ayenathurim that Stanton has created one wonderful tale of eschatological fiction encompassing God's involvement with man and His plan for salvation, redemption and His return.

This is one very memorable stand-alone novel by the master of spirit-filled fiction in the Christian fantasy genre. 

Highly recommended. 5/5

Saturday 14 November 2015

Christianity and Mythology: The Background to Daniel and the Sun Sword by Nathan Lumbatis

Nathan Lumbatis approached me about reviewing his debut novel, Daniel and the Sunsword, but I was unable to at the time due to other review requests so I offered him a guest post to promote his novel. He decided to give some of the background to the plot of the novel. So far, at the time of this post, the six reviews are all 5 stars so Nathan has a good start in the review stakes. Anyway, here is the blurb for his book and what follows after this is the background to the mythology behind Daniel and the Sun Sword.

Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new neighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld.

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait.

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

In his correspondence to me about this post, Nathan felt that since Daniel and the Sun Sword is interwoven with Incan mythology, a post discussing Mythology and Christianity (e.g. myths containing elements of spiritual truth, albeit warped by tradition and legend) would be appropriate to whet the appetites of potential readers of his book. So sit back and let Nathan outline the background to his novel:

Christianity and Mythology

Speculative Fiction begins by presuming the basics of a Christian worldview and then asking "What if?". One of the central "What if's...." of Daniel and the Sun Sword, and the Sons and Daughters series as a whole, has to do with the origin of worldwide mythologies: What if every culture's myths grew out of man's fallen memory of the one true God and his plan for redemption? Wouldn't there be traces of the thread of redemption in those ancient stories?`

No doubt some believe as much. For Christians, we find some support for this in the Mazzaroth, the Jewish zodiac which, legend tells, was a mnemonic device for orally teaching the story of redemption since the time of Adam. For nerds like me, the real fun starts when you begin to untangle those similarities and consider how the cultures of ancient societies lost the truth.

So, what are we looking for? Let’s set our parameters as the following:

1) An all-powerful Father-God

2) A race of lesser beings; mortal and in peril

3) A god-man who plays some sort of savior role

4) A god or an immortal filled with evil and postured as an enemy of mankind.

Here are three myths* that fit the bill, the first being the Incan myths woven into Daniel and the Sun Sword.

Incan Myths

Viracocha: The Incan creator-god. After creating the natural world and the cosmos, he turned his mind to mankind. His first attempt at creating people displeased him, as the first versions were brainless giants. So, he wiped them out with a flood, and created a less barbaric race. Then, he took to wandering the world as a kindly beggar, helping those in need, and appearing in times of trouble.

Mankind: Men were created when Viracocha breathed life into stones. They were seen as his children, and he loved them as a father.

Inti: The god of the sun and the son of Viracocha. After being sent to earth by his father, he and his sister-wife, Mama Killa, taught mankind the basics of life and founded the great city of Cuzco.

Supai: The Incan god of the dead, king of the demons, and the ruler of the underworld. He was such a nasty fellow, in fact, that the Incans would sacrifice their children to appease him.

Egyptian Myths

Ra: The creator and Father-God in Egyptian myths. He called everything into existence by speaking its name. Mankind was created from his tears.

Mankind: Created from Ra’s tears, they were originally brutish and rebellious. They plotted against Ra, who sent divine retribution in the form of the goddess Sekhmet.

Osiris: Divine son of Ra, and god of death, the afterlife, and resurrection. He came to earth to rule as a king and bring civilization to mankind. He was tricked and murdered by his divine brother, Set, only to later be resurrected.

Set: Evil brother of Osiris, and the god of chaos, war, storms, deserts, and destruction.

Sumerian Myths

Anu: The Sky-Father and king of the divine pantheon. He was the divine judge of those who committed crimes.

Mankind: Fashioned out of clay and imprinted with the image of the gods. Due to mankind's rebellion, the gods send a flood to wipe out all but Utnapishtim, who saves his family on a boat.

Dumuzi: Human king who was later deified to become the god of fertility. He spent half the year in the underworld but was resurrected each year to bring the blessing of the growing season.

Nergal: Evil god of the underworld and harbinger of disease and death.

If these legends were derivative from the true redemption story, what likely led to the obscuration of truth in these cultures? One can only speculate. In Daniel and the Sun Sword, it was the fear of Supai that led to the Inca's deception. For the Egyptians, no doubt the extremes of the Nile river delta led to their weaving of the divine with natural forces around them. For the Sumerians, maybe the echoes of humanistic Babel lived on in the deification of their kings. Regardless, the truth of redemption has endured...and makes the perfect backdrop for any great story.

*For any mythology aficionados out there: I know that for any one version of a myth, there are at least two others that vary in detail. I have presented here simply those versions which parallel the redemptive thread of Christianity.

If this has increased your curiosity about this author, you can investigate more about him and Daniel and the Sun Sword at his social media platforms


Twitter: @NathanLumbatis

Daniel and the Sun Sword can be purchased Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your local Christian bookstore both online and in store. 

A little about Nathan:

Nathan grew up in the woods of Alabama, where he spent his time exploring, hiking, and dreaming up stories. Now, as a child/adolescent therapist and author, he’s teaching kids and teens how to redeem their stories using Biblical principles. He still lives in Alabama, where you will find him with his wife and three kids every chance he gets.

Friday 13 November 2015

Fierce Mountain Journey (The Fierce Series, Book 4) by Clay Dolan

Fierce Mountain Journey (Fierce Series Book 4)

Ten months after their adventures in the Rockies and Bart's return to England, the wealthy businessman has returned to the States and has asked Xavier, Thomas, and Walter to join him in searching for more answers about the evil man-beasts and the mysterious flying ships. They undertake a long trip to Mount Saint Helens, home to the dreaded Skookum.

The Guru's Review:

So glad to see that there were enough requests for Dolan to continue this series with another two instalments. In this short, the team are reunited to continue the quest to eradicate the Atahsaia, (Bigfoot, in western society, cannibal demon in the Zuni, American Indian language, and Nephilim as believed by Xavier, the main character in this series).

Compared to the previous three shorts, this one does not have any confrontations with the Atahsaia, but their quest to eradicate them takes them further from their last expedition, this time to seek and destroy the Skookum (evil genii) who are supposed to be that region's version of the Atahsaia. While they are travelling to Mount Saint Helens, Dolan introduces more plot angles and a new motivation from Bart to continue this eradication. Tied in with this, is the evolutionary theory of Darwin's Natural Selection, which the time setting of this series is when he developed his theory. Dolan sets the plot here for a clash between this theory and Christianity represented by Xavier and his beliefs in the Biblical account of Creation and this challenges the beliefs of the rest of the team. So the plot thickens and the edgy, speculative themes deepen! Dolan throws in the "what if....." of speculative fiction as to the two views of the origins of these beasts, which whets my appetite for more of this exploration in the next book.

New characters are introduced and more of Dolan's belief of what is behind the Atahsaia and their origins are further explored, which I am impressed with as they are in line with my own research into the Nephilim and their background. It seems that this short is a bridge between the first trilogy and its continuation to Book 5. I really hope that there are more books beyond Book 5.

I love how Dolan has developed this series. You can definitely see that there is more in Dolan's research that needs to be delivered in future books. Again, I come away from reading this edgy, Christian speculative fiction with my faith reinforced, I am entertained and further informed in the subjects of the Nephilim and more of the associated issues introduced in this book.

A very rewarding short. Highly recommended. 5/5.