Beowulf. The name says it all. Named after the Scandinavian mythical hero who defeats a troll by tearing its arm from the socket, the brindle-haired beast exists for two things: to detect explosives - specifically, chemical weapons of mass destruction - and to protect Timbrel Hogan, his handler. In fact, the only person who was able to connect with "Beo" and train him for military service.
Beowulf has his hands - paws - full, when Tony "Candyman" VanAllen enters the picture. Tony just can't seem to take "NO!" for an answer when it comes to Timbrel, or defending those who can't or won't protect themselves. Tony likens his service as a calling from God, and carries out that calling in true warrior fashion. He also sees a relationship with Timbrel as a mission . . . and he's up for it.
The third in Ronie Kendig's "A Breed Apart" series crackles with the author's characteristic energy, fast-paced action, intrigue, and suspense. Throw in unexpected romance, and unfeigned devotion to a God who is not content with sitting on the sidelines, and you have all the ingredients for a book that you will not be able to put down.
Ronie has done her homework in researching the military battle sequences, as well as the Military Working Dog training and working scenes. But, like every master craftsman, she's left the tools in the shed and presents the reader with the finished product.
Since it is the third book in the series, the uninitiated reader may feel like they've "dropped into the middle of a conversation," but this quickly passes and the book easily stands on its own.
5 stars for another "rapid-fire" work of fiction by Ronie Kendig!
I'm a big fan of Ronie's books, so it's no surprise that I loved Beowulf, the third and final book in her A Breed Apart series. I had a seriously hard time putting this book down! I stayed up late, because I had to find out what was going to happen next! Do not start this book late in the day or just before bed, or you will be up all night reading it! Something you know for a fact when you pick up one of Ronie Kendig's books, is that you're in for an adventure. Her books pull you in and don't let you go until long after the last page is read and Beowulf doesn't disappoint.
This is Candyman and Timbrel's book (who we met in the other 2 books). I've loved Tony "Candyman" VanAllen since Ronie first introduced him and was super excited to finally get to see him and Timbrel work out their differences. I enjoyed getting to know both of them and seeing Beowulf do his thing. Timbrel and Tony both must learn surrender to God and to trust Him with their lives.
Probably my favorite things about all of Ronie's books is how real they seem. Each of her books shows a different aspect of being in the military and what some soldiers have to deal with after returning home. I know they are fiction, but it doesn't seem like fiction. She brings the characters to life in such a way that you truly believe they are real people. I had to remind myself that they weren't real, 'cause I was thinking about praying for them! That's how you know it's a great book!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story with compelling characters!
Tony "Candyman" VanAllen was never one to back down from a challenge. A true warrior and hero, he could overcome almost any obstacle, but no matter how much he tried, he couldn't win military war dog handler, Timbrel Hogan's heart. For her part, Timbrel wants no other man than her explosive detection dog, Beowulf. Despite Tony's valiant efforts and his ceaseless patience, Timbrel's past keeps her from moving forward and trusting quite possibly the only man who is willing to fight to win her heart. When the two are reunited in an effort to locate WMD material in Afghanistan, their mission goes very wrong, leaving the team unsure about how to proceed. With tense action, wonderful characters, and poignant spiritual themes, Beowulf is an emotionally charged conclusion to A Breed Apart series.
Even though Ronie Kendig's A Breed Apart series has not worked for me as well as her Discarded Heroes series, I have very much been looking forward to this book. Both Timbrel and Beowulf's characters have been set up nicely in the previous books and I couldn't wait to find out how the ever-persistent Candyman would manage to navigate Timbrel's explosive personality. So with book in hand, responsibilities got pushed aside and I quickly found myself lost in a remarkable story of heroism and love.
Part of my problem with this series has been the romance to story balance. The books in this series have been more romantic suspense instead of suspense with romance. I know for many, this is not a problem, but for me it is. However, Beowulf has a much better balance between these two elements. It also helps that I already liked the three main characters before I started reading this story. So the focus on the romance between Timbrel and Tony is an extension of their personality. As a result, it makes Beowulf feel more plot and character driven than romance driven.
I absolutely love the chemistry between Timbrel and Tonyâ€”and not just the romantic chemistry. These two characters, with their opposing complimentary personalities, set up a wonderful backdrop for excellent spiritual themes. Additionally, their great rapport leads to witty dialog and sets the stage for some heart-stopping scenes.
Set up by Tony and Timbrel's relationship, Kendig develops some wonderful spiritual themes. God's love is played out many times throughout this book, as is the rejection of His love. While I'm usually not a fan of the gospel presentation in fiction, Kendig does a nice job of working some strong evangelical scenes into the story without disrupting the pacing.
There are several very emotional scenes in Beowulf. I hate what happened to some of the charactersâ€”it breaks my heart. But the story is made stronger and more realistic by having these events take place.
I very much enjoyed Beowulf. The characters are awesome and the spiritual content solid. As with all of Kendig's novels, I walked away with a healthier appreciation of our military men and women. However, the beauty of Beowulf is that it speaks to the reader's heart and shows God's active and consuming love for all of us.
Tony(Candyman) has been trying to get Timbrel's attention for a while. Timbrel's prickly personality keeps everyone at arms length. Tony can't help himself. Timbrel is beautiful and he is attracted to her, but the only one Timbrel seems to have eyes for is her bull mastiff dog Beowulf. And Beo doesn't like Tony. At all!
Timbrel has secrets in her life that she would rather not share with anyone but Beo. Beo is an explosives detection dog. Timbrel's secrets keep her personality prickly and afraid to allow anyone close in her life. Tony is about to change all of that!
Tony can't figure Timbrel out, but he is relentless in his pursuit of her. Even if her beast of a dog insists on growling and snapping at him every time they are near each other. Just when Tony thinks they may be making some headway in a relationship Timbrel bolts. Running scared Timbrel must learn to break down the walls she has built up around her heart and learn to trust. But it may be too late. When disaster strikes their team while on a mission everything that Tony and Timbrel have fought for in their relationship comes crashing down. Will they be able to pick up the pieces of their lives?
First, I love the dog! Beowulf's personality is hysterical! From his drool to his snapping at Tony to his ability to sense Timbrel's moods, Beo makes the story entertaining to read. Through each of the A Breed Apart books you can see the research that went into the story. I love the way that the dogs are treated just like another soldier. Each dog and their handler have a special bond that keeps them in tuned to each other. I found in Beowulf that I liked the characters, but did get a bit irritated at Timbrel and wanted to reach into the pages of the book and shake the bullheadedness out of her! If you like military books then the A Breed Apart series is a definite must read. Add in some romance and tense combat situations and Ronie Kendig's books keep the reader on the edge of their seats.