Stephen J. Stirling had penning an exciting, fast-paced, refreshingly engaging read that is topical, blending both religious dogma and current events. Although set in a fictitious version of Crimea, not the one you’ll find on any map, the political intrigue rings true enough in a captivating, suspense-filled tale.
Paladin Smith, the story’s unlikely hero, is a high school history teacher and devout follower of the Mormon faith who starts each day teaching a seminary class to teens, just as he did many several years ago when he has Victoria (Toria) Grant in his class. After he saves her from date rape her uncle misreads his interest in her forces him to leave town. Now that adversary from his past returns as a Congressman who needs Paladin’s help to save Toria. The strength of his faith is tested as the strange mission requires Paladin to travel 6,000 miles and do something well beyond anything he has ever done – perhaps something he never dreamed was possible. In the process he relies on the inner strength of his faith and receives an opportunity to save more than one life and also change the world.
I particularly enjoyed the way Stirling casts his Paladin into the political intrigue. At first everyone assumes he is a special envoy from the US but then, as he true identity come into focus he becomes an officially unwelcome person, hence the title of the book.
There is a powerful message of hope contained in Stirling’s words and it is delivered along with page-turning action and steadily building suspense to a climax that comes as a surprise after all the underhanded chicanery going on in the background. The reading experience is enjoyable and a distinct change from recent fare.
To buy on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/nxcp8zk
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