In DISTANT FRONT, Book Two of The COIL Legacy by D.I. TELBAT, we learn that the daring COIL Special Forces Operative Steve Brookshire was kidnapped in Hong Kong two years ago. The communist Chinese government wanted his intel on the Chinese Underground House Churches. His work for Jesus Christ may have cost him his life!
The Guru's Review:
Telbat has really excelled himself with this one! This is the best out of the COIL Legacy Series! Everything has been upped! There is more action, evil, deceit, persecution and hatred for Christians. But there is more victory in Christ and more of the workings of the Spirit than in previous novels.
I found this one the hardest to read, despite it still being highly entertaining. Telbat has intertwined the 2-year history of Steve Brookshire's captivity and torture into the present activity of Titus and Oleg and subplots.
It is this 2-year history that makes it hard to read. What Telbat has depicted Steve enduring as persecution, torture and imprisonment are just that bit more detailed than other COIL novels. But this account does show more of the spiritual tenacity of Steve having counted the cost of being a follower/disciple of Christ and being unwavering in his faith and commitment to Christ. At every step of his persecution, including the deliberate amputation of his foreleg, Steve did not give in. In fact, this only made him more like Christ. Not once did he allow any anger, bitterness, resentment, selfishness dictate his behaviour towards his many persecutors. Instead, he told them to their face that he forgave them. At every opportunity, even immediately after being tortured, he witnessed to them, told them that God loved them and that he was praying for them.
This challenged me as I questioned whether I would be so forgiving, would I respond like Steve did? So Christ-like? If I don't do that now in much lesser circumstances, would or could I do so if I was placed in a situation like this? Definitely, sobers you and convicts you of your shortcomings in this regard to your relationship with Christ. it has encouraged me to take this to Jesus and have a conversation with Him.
I must remember though, that Steve was able to do this due to his love, submission and obedience to the leading of the Spirit of God. He placed all things of God above and before anything to do with himself. I pray that what Telbat has depicted in Steve's attitude towards Christ and his persecutors encourages Christians to consider this in their own lives and circumstances, however small or insignificant it appears.
I was gobbed smacked at the fruit of the Spirit in Steve's Christ-like behaviour and attitude towards his persecution. This resulted in the salvation of his persecutors. In nearly all cases, the ex-persecutors, and now new babes in Christ admitted the evil of their hearts was overcome by the witness of Steve and his responses to them during and after his persecution! But then again, it was the working of the Spirit through Steve that achieved this. Reminds me of the verse from Zechariah 4: 6,
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
So one hand, there is Steve who is totally committed to God and unwavering in his faith. On the other, we have Titus, who stumbled in his decision making on his assignment to rescue Steve and placed this mission in jeopardy and the lives of Oleg and others. So Titus acts on his emotions and disappears. God uses this to minister to him and allows him to grow spiritually. Yet, he has to endure some painful lessons in humility from a previously unknown source, including some hard love and carefrontation from Corban. Again, the way Telbat has depicted and handled this situation with Titus is very biblical. It shows us a lesson in how to be humbled by God and our fellow brethren, especially those we have wronged and hurt and how to be reconciled to God. In this circumstance with Titus, we see how he allowed himself to be responsive and teachable from the Spirit of God. Titus is returned to the fold of his COIL team a better and stronger operative spiritually. Like Steve, less of himself and more of Christ. And that, in itself, is a lesson and a behavioural trait for us as disciples of Christ.
These spiritual lessons that Telbat infuses into each of his novels are the strengths of his novels.
Apart from the spiritual side of this novel, there is the usual action and adventure, fast-paced plot, and well-constructed novel. Titus seems to be more humorous in this one than previous. This adds a softening touch to the seriousness of their missions. It also allows the team, mainly Oleg and Titus, to get on better with each other, be the cohesive unit that they are and complement their strengths and weaknesses.
I would love to collate all of Titus' humorous one-liners about how "...it ain't easy being......" in the many aspects of his life and situations.
I am so looking forward to the next instalment in this series, Distant Harm, to be released later this year.
World Building 5/5
Spiritual Level 5/5
Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5
Overall Rating 4.6/5 Stars
Spiritually, based on this review and on the following reference booklet,
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Distant Front contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award D. I Telbat with
Congratulations, D.I. Telbat!
To preview an excerpt from this novel or to buy it, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons below: