The Damascus Way

Tiberius, Jerusalem, Damascus, in the year 40AD.  Saul of Tarsus is hunting down followers of The Way and brutally bringing them to justice.  Julia is the pampered daughter of Jamal, a wealthy merchant, and Jacob is one of his best caravan guards.  Both are couriers of secret messages between the dispersed groups of Christians.  When Saul and his retinue of temple guards join Jamal’s caravan to Damascus, Jacob and Julia risk discovery as well as their very lives to warn believers there of the impending danger.
Christian historical fiction just keeps getting better and better.  I really enjoyed The Damascus Way for its portrayal of daily life and business in the first century after Christ.  I also liked the light romance and heavy suspense.  Not only are messages being smuggled, but also frankinscense, a rare and costly spice.  Bandits and Zealots threaten lives and livelihoods.  Then there are the Roman guards who are also secret Christians…and the temptation on the road to Damascus to simply do away with Saul and his threat to their new faith.
With a guest appearance by the apostle Philip, and his encounter with the eunuch on the road to Gaza (Acts 8:26-39), Bunn and Oke continue to bring the Bible alive, especially the Acts of the Apostles.  A refreshing story, full of adventure and imagination without being morally offensive or degrading to other faiths.
New from Bethany House Publishing, this is the third book in the Acts of Faith series by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.
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Book Club

A book club is an interesting place.  I joined because I love to read and am writing a book.  I thought it would help to discuss books with fellow readers and learn their likes and dislikes.  It is certainly an ear opener!  For instance, the general consensus seems to mandate the “obligatory sex scene” in a book, whereas I feel my imagination needs no assistance in that particular area.  However, obviously it sells mainstream books, because it tends to be in most of them.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that I frequently find I have greatly enjoyed a book that the others disapproved of and vice versa.

Case in point:  a couple of months ago, our book was “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan.  It is
a story about an American doctor who goes on walkabout in the Australian Outback with a group of Aborigines.  The sufferings she endures help the tribe to teach her their spiritual principals of interrelatedness, divine creation, unconditional love, and being non-judgmental. I felt that it presented a powerful reminder of spritual principals we should all be living.  Most of the others discounted the whole thing because “obviously she didn’t learn anything from the experience because she still wears makeup and colors her hair”.  Huh?  Not everyone is called to be a St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa.  We are all called to proclaim the Good News in our particular circumstances in life.

Then there are the ever-popular vampire books currently circulating as the “Twilight” series.  Many of my book club confreres rave about them, but vampires simply do not appeal to me.  Now give me a good historical suspense novel.  I have the new Amelia Peabody mystery on hold:  “A River in the Sky”.  After seeing the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie, I reread the books in a whole new light, with new enjoyment.  And my friend from the Baptist church turned me on to Terri Blackstock’s novels – who knew such wonderful work was being produced by Christian publishing houses?  I am thrilled.

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