Genre: Political Thriller
This is excellent “airplane fiction”–I would loosely recommend it to those who want something very light and plot-oriented to enjoy quickly without lingering thought. Otherwise, it lacks the depth, character development, suspense, and quality that could have been possible within the solid structure of the action-packed plot.
John Luther is a preacher, made fugitive, who is trying to prove his innocence after being set up by a political superpower who wants to manipulate Luther’s vast ministry audience into accepting a “Faith and Fairness” bill that is in the works. A parallel back-story of John’s pre-Christian past adds a bit of depth to his personality–but not enough to illustrate a dynamic and evolving character presence.
I actually do think the issues presented in the narrative are relevant. The line between tolerance and faith is constantly in current political and religious debate. I just did not find the conflict to be presented with enough clarity, focus, or depth to create the emotional connection or urgency necessary to drive the story or exude suspense. Likewise, the subject of persecution is not presented as clearly as it should have been, especially given the title.
On the other hand, the concluding list of follow-up questions is valuable, and could be poignant to a Christian study group or Bible study. Maybe a teenage audience would even enjoy the novel as a whole? Interestingly, the book is framed after a film; so the movie version (coming soon) may actually supersede the writing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.