Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Review of The Bell Messenger, by Robert Cornuke with Alton Gansky

Ask anyone who knows me and they will say that I do not like historical fiction. In fact, I haven’t touched it since I was in high school, and the only ones I read were Eugenia Price and Catherine Marshall, if those even count. Now and then I’ll read good biblical fiction from authors like Ginger Garrett and Alton Gansky.

A copy of The Bell Messenger came to me, and honestly, the only reason I cracked it open was because the prolific Alton Gansky contributed (and also because it involved archaeology--I’ve always enjoyed that).

I was pleasantly surprised by the complex plot and emotive prose. The main character is really a bible--one that has been passed down through generations of people--and not necessarily the kinds of people one would think.

The first owner is a young Confederate preacher, involved in the Civil War not as a soldier, but a messenger of God. He bequeaths the bible to the man who shot him-- a man named Jeremiah Tate who is jaded against the government and God.

Somehow (we learn how as the book continues) Gary Brandon, a recent college graduate, comes to own the bible in 1980. He does his own research to find out who has written notes in the bible’s margins and what certain letters mean that were tucked away in its pages.

I couldn’t help but marvel at the way God’s purposes are portrayed in this book. God uses all kinds of people to further his work and even the toughest end up making sacrifices they never would have dreamed about before. There are so many rich and varied characters--the reader will enjoy getting to know each one.

Indeed, God’s word does not return void if people speak it and live it boldly. This is an excellently crafted story that will be enjoyed by lovers of faith, archaeology, mystery, and historical fiction.

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