Friday, February 17, 2017

Seek and Hide by Amanda G. Stevens

One of my New Year's resolutions was "no more substandard fiction," so I've been ignoring all the free Christian e-books that have come across my path. But when I saw the premise of Seek and Hide, I couldn't resist:

Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment--including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent. (The story is a lot more complicated than that, but that gives you the main themes.)

Brenner is doing his best to save people before they can be arrested for hate crimes (i.e. owning a Bible) and in the process he meets an intriguing mix of good guys, bad guys and folks in between. I was especially intrigued by the number of people who were not Christians in the book, but who were sympathetic to believers because they felt that their loss of religious freedom was unjust. The book takes place in the not-so-distant future when evangelism is equated with terrorism and Christians are "re-educated" to give up their antiquated, hateful ideas of sin.

I liked this book for so many reasons. Beside the fact that it is darn good storytelling, I appreciated that Christians are portrayed in a realistic manner and that the book offers no easy answers to life's problems. In addition, Stevens manages to write about gritty situations without sordidness. The conversations are believable. And, unlike most Christian novels, the characters are complex and interesting.

If you like your novels squeaky clean, you may be uncomfortable with a few brief episodes of women ogling a bare-chested man. There are also references to rape and alcoholism. These were handled discreetly and added to the multi-layered story.

A fascinating read!

P.S. The sequel, Found and Lost, is very, very good. Unfortunately it contains some mildly steamy love scenes, which I thought were unnecessary. (This is a risk some Christian writers are willing to take so as not to replicate the saccharine-sweet tripe that is peddled as Christian fiction, but it's a hard line to toe.) If you watch American TV, it won't faze you at all.

My thoughts on Book Three, and Book Four.



Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Sounds like a good one, and a not-too-far-fetched one. Thanks for sharing!

Brandi said...

Always appreciate honest reviews. Thanks for sharing at Literacy Musing Mondays!