Thursday 8 September 2022

Novel Review and Spiriit-filled Fiction Award: Nicholas of Haiti by Joseph Courtemanche.

 I reviewed this novel on 04/02/19 in another blog now defunct. 

Nicholas of Haiti

It was just another business trip until Nick Bacon's plane exploded and he fell from the sky over Utah. Hounded by the press for his sole survivor story, and suspected of planting the bomb by the F.B.I., he flees to Haiti with his boss' mission team to heal his injuries and give the world time to forget him. Haunted by visions of an abused little girl, Nick questions his sanity when he starts seeing demons almost everywhere he goes. He's forced to examine his own soul, and confront the dark forces surrounding him - and endangering the little girl. He winds up in a battle for the freedom of millions with a crew of allies that boggles his mind.

Perspective by Peter:

What a great novel! I thoroughly enjoyed this much more than I thought I would! I am glad I requested to review this for the author. This novel just consolidates that any novel by Courtemanche is worth reading. 

This is a very different novel that his debut novel, Assault on St Agnus. This is not a bad thing. It shows the author's versatility in writing in different genres and styles. I like both.

Courtemanche has crafted a novel that is engaging, a joy to read and one that made me feel very comfortable being in. He has brought to life the lifestyle and culture of Haiti and this is not just due to his research and ability as a wordsmith but also due to being there in his mission work. I felt like I was there. I had a very different impression of what Haiti was like from growing up and from school as a very poor country with a strong demonic influence based on voodoo and other such practices. I did not know there was such a strong Roman Catholic influence and that this was from the French settlers since the 16th century.  

Courtemanche has three main plotlines in this novel. It starts off with the plane that Nick in on being the subject of a terrorist attack, or that is what we are led to believe as it is never proved, but Nick is being framed for this as he is the sole survivor, having fallen 30,000 feet without a parachute and only sustains minor burns to his face and a fractured ankle. Interspersed throughout the novel is the progression of the FBI seeking him out to convict him of this terrorist attack. This plotline also involves Nick's sister, Jean, who is a lawyer and using her professional expertise to outsmart the FBI agents in framing Nick.

Then we have the subplot of the sex trafficking of Haitian children. This introduces Nick to Violene, one of the slaves, through visions of her even before he arrives in Haiti. This is tied in with the supernatural transformation of Nick into a version of St Nicholas of Santa Claus fame. In this novel, he is known as Papa Noel as the Haitians call him. Courtemanche has based the events of Papa Noel from those of the original Nicholas of Myra which is what Santa Claus is based on in this modern era. For those who want to know more, it is the author who is depicted as Nicholas of Haiti on the cover of this novel and who plays Santa Claus as one of his many pursuits in his life.

This plotline forms the basis of the third plotline of this novel and that is of the supernatural. From the explosion on the plane, Nick's miraculous survival and escape from the clutches of the FBI, his visions of Violene, his supernatural confrontation with the demonic strongholds of Haiti, his conversion to Christianity, followed by more supernatural signs and wonders all point to him being appointed by God to break the stronghold of demonic power and rule over Haiti and the eradication of slavery and human trafficking not only in Hait but around the world.

Courtemanche has done a superb job of showing Nick's spiritual and physical transformation into a Spirit-filled warrior and who no longer resembles physically the Nichols Bacon of the pre-terrorist attack. Here the author portrays spiritual warfare Biblically based with all power and authority that the Bible says is given to those who are in right relationship with Him and who use the Biblical principles outlined therein. And he has also depicted the demons as being subservient to this power and by the use of Jesus' name just as the Bible states. But one spiritual principle that Courtemanche has shown well is how Nicholas acted not in his own strength or power in his confrontation with the demonic strongholds but only by the Spirit working through him in total submission to the Spirit. He has Nicholas stating and acting as a servant of God and not anything being about him or for his vainglory.

I found it a breath of fresh air to have some biblical explanation into salvation and other issues explain as they are in helping Nick learn about God and stimulate his need for the Saviour. This is depicted well by Courtemanche has depicted including how he opened himself to the Spirit of God when he realised that God had pre-ordained him to take on the demonic strongholds of Haiti and God was performing many signs and wonders through Him. The contents of this paragraph and the previous one remind me of the verse from Zechariah 4:6 that says,

So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.

I am not sure if this "principle" is intentional on the Author's part but in depicting it as he has, it definitely comes across as an important message to the Christian as a faith principle and way of life and in this novel, it is a witness to the unbeliever. In this depiction, it can be said that an unbeliever will see the working of God and not of the person who exhibits these signs and wonders. 

Courtemanche has depicted the characters to be ones who are very relational. I have a soft spot for Larry. I wonder if that is because he had modelled Larry on a namesake in the author's life. And I wonder how much of Larry's shepherd and missionary heart is based on the author's same and his experience in the mission field?

This is not to say that the rest of the characters are not as well developed. I had an inkling that Andre was not who he appeared to be after a certain incident when he was protecting Nick confirmed this for me. Not only did this suspicion of who Andre really is add more suspense to the plot but it also adds credence to Hebrews 13:2 that instructs, 

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained _________ unawares.

Now I have deleted the word here as those who do not know what this verse is, means I have not given away any spoilers! However, I cannot stop anyone from guessing or looking this up for yourselves!!

And what does this well development of characters do for the reader? It makes the latter relate to and identify with their struggles, victories, challenges, and even appreciate some of their personality traits or they might see some of themselves in these characters. And just as importantly, it does add indirectly to the plot, any action and adventure, mystery and suspense, intrigue and other constructs of a plot.  For me, it made me like them with endearment and increase my respect for those who work in the mission field in poor countries. I felt as if I knew them and again as if I was there with them. 

At first, I wondered why Courtemanche had involved the Pope in the negotiations with the FBI in indicting Nicholas for the terrorist attack on the plane and extraditing him back to the US. But no sooner had I wondered why he did this, I realised it was because of the Catholic influence in Haiti and therefore it would be beneficial to extend the solution to the water and human trafficking crisis to the head of the largest denomination of Haiti's religious institutions where he can exert his worldwide influence and power. It was effective but it did provoke my bias against the Catholic church from my childhood upbringing.

I am looking forward to more stories like this from this author and the promised sequel to Assault on St Agnes. 

This is an uplifting, positive and Biblically based novel on spiritual warfare, the power of prayer, being submitted to God, allowing the Spirit to work through you by His Spirit, exercising the authority of God given to Christians over the demonic and who we are in Christ. 

Highly Recommended.

The three ratings below are based on my discernment:

World Building 5/5

Characters 5/5

Story 5/5

The two classifications below are based on the booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland:

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating: 5/5


Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Nicholas of Haiti contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, (click on the title below to see what this is based on), I bestow unto Nicholas Courtemanche the 

Reality Calling Christian Spirit-filled Fiction Award

Congratulations, Joseph!

To buy or preview this novel, click on the link below to Buy or Preview icon below: 

Readers and reviews are an author’s best asset, so I encourage any reader, to consider reading Nicholas of Haiti and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing. Reviews also help get the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, whether Christian or not, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.

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