on Jan. 27, 2011 :
Before I start this review, it's important to note, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I know and am friends with the author. Despite this fact, I promise you none of the claims made herein are in any way exaggerated.
This was a great read.
To be sure, there were some things that I didn't like so much. Mr. de Marigny makes no apologies for either his faith or his political orientation - and nor should he! However, as an extremely liberal cynical agnostic myself, some views expressed by the heroes of the story were a little discordant with my own.
If you are also an extremely liberal cynical agnostic, I can promise you, once you get passed those initial things, this story is absolutely great.
Being a friend with Mr. de Marigny, I also am friends with people we are mutually acquainted with. It was a wonderful inclusion to see some of the characters who share names with these people (especially the character of David Nicholls). This heightened my enjoyment of the book substantially. I'm still grinning over it. Though you might not know the real David Nicholls, guaranteed his portrayal in the book will make you smile as well. The bottle of scotch - a lovely touch, Gerard!
Onto the story itself. If you're concerned about picking up a book that is labelled "Christian Fiction," don't let that keep you from this title. The fact that the main character happens to be a devout Christian isn't really the main thrust of this narrative. It is simply a feature of the character, and informs his decisions just as any other personality trait would.
This isn't "Angels save the world" in the literal 'and the heavens opened and the Lords of Shouting declared war upon the enemies of God' sense. This is a political thriller, through and through.
That said, it's a pretty typical example of its genre. The plot is fairly predictable, and if you don't guess the mole the moment you meet him, then there is something wrong with your synapses.
There was one line which made me giggle when I'm sure it wasn't supposed to. It was something out an old Bond movie. "So, Mr. Bond, you have discovered my fiendishly clever disguise."
The word 'infidel' is used quite a bit as well. Some overly P.C. people might find it slightly Islamophobic. However, religious extremists exist in the world and there are Muslim extremists. It's a fact. It exists, so I can't cry foul over it at all. Besides, they are the enemy of the day. Just to level it out, the old foes - the Russians - make an appearance.
For all this, I found myself attached to the characters. De Niro's struggles over his deceased wife are very touching, as is his fierce protectiveness over his two sons. Also, I did tear up a bit when one of the characters died.
The writing is very solid. I've read much worse from trade published authors.
If you like political thrillers, you will like this book. I recommend it.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)