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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: River North
Publication Date: 2014
Availability: In Stock
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Preaching or prison. An impossible choice for a man who usually solves his problems with a rifle or his fists.
Sergeant Rowdy Slater was the most incorrigible paratrooper in Dog Company during World War II. But after the war, when Rowdy robs a bank with the black-hearted Crazy Ake, he vows to turn his life around. The lawman, suspicious that Rowdys confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve for one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail. Rowdys choice? Preaching at the community church in Cut Eye, Texas, at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.
At first the job seemed easy, particularly since Rowdy took over for the willowy female missionary who held the church together while the men were at war. But when Crazy Ake shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared and is forced to make a deadly choice.
This debut historical novel from Brotherton, who has written many nonfiction titles about war veterans (We Who Are Alive and Remain), was inspired by the true story of a paratrooper named Wayne "Skinny" Sisk in Easy Company, featured in the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. An "incorrigible" man, Rowdy Slater, becomes a preacher after the war. His first sermon is a disaster, but one line summarizes his insight: "If God could care for a ruffian like Cain, even with everywhere hed been and with all the wrong hed done, then I reckon God could care for someone like me." Rowdys story unfolds with satisfying unpredictability, offering plot twists that would be unbelievable if not for strong motivations that encourage suspension of disbelief. The two loves of Rowdys life are one of many surprises. Dialogue is colloquial and historically rooted, as in Twains Huck Finn. The short novel is packed with action, intrigue, and scoundrels who have Rowdy over a barrel. Readers will want to find out exactly how the unlikely hero is going to escape yet another predicament. - Publishers Weekly, 7/11/14
Highly recommended! A hard-edged and well-crafted novel, with surreptitiously smart prose, confident plotting, and characters you feel you know. - Michelle Burford, founding senior features editor of O, the Oprah Magazine
Feast for Thieves is smart, gritty, and inforgettable. Filled with calamity and humor, this book is a hands-down winner. It's about time veteran writer Marcus Brotherton added his powerful voice to fiction. His writing voice is superb. - Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Book of Mortals series
An exhilarating story told in a neo-Western genre, of all things. Masterful and riveting, humorous yet poignant. Anyone who enjoys books by Ted Dekker, Randy Alcorn, or Leif Enger will enjoy every story woven by Marcus Brotherton. This unique and page-turning adventure will harvest a whole new fold of fans. - Julie Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Free
Part Band of Brothers, part True Grit, this is the rollicking tale of a wartime hero's fight to find his place in a post-war world. Rich with action, Feast for Thieves is cinematic storytelling at its best. - Adam Makis, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call
As a great admirer of Marcus Brotherton's nonfiction work, I was eager to dive into his debut novel. Feast for Thieves does not disappoint. From the first page, Rowdy Slater emerges as a character to root for, complete with flaws, charm, and an unshakeable conscience. I enjoyed this story from beginning to end, a wonderful tale of redemption that will leave readers hoping for a sequel. - Kristina McMorris, bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep
A gutsy, never-preachy story filled with massive redemptive undercurrents. Why read this? Ultimately it's a book of hope, and it shows how anyone's heart can be changed. - Matt Carter, lead pastor, Austin Stone Community Church, Texas, and coauthor of The Real Win
Marcus Brotherton has crafted more than a rousing story here. He's created characters who leap off the page and a small corner of the world you can lose yourself inside, all held together with stirring prose. I really enjoyed this book. - Billy Coffey, bestselling author of The Devil Walks in Mattingly
This story is a delight. There is a strong sense of literary quality here, combined with a remarkably unique redemptive message. The characters are real, the descriptions potent, and the force of a good story well told is strong throughout Highly recommended. - Davis Bunn, bestselling novelist, writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5OutstandingJune 26, 2015IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I was asked to review Feast for Thieves months ago, and for some reason never got around to reading it. I was reminded of it again when I saw it was a finalist for the 2015 Christy Awards in the First Novel category, so thought Id better open it up and see what I was missing.
I was hooked from the first page. And I don't say that often.
Feast for Thieves begins with Crazy Ake and Rowdy Slater robbing the bank in the small town of Cut Eye, Texas, in the spring of 1946. Its written in the first person, from Rowdys point of view, and right from that first line two things are evident. Marcus Brotherton can write. And Rowdy Slater isnt your typical Christian fiction hero. After a near escape from death by drowning, Rowdy sees a vision
Now, Ive read other books with fantastic opening hooks which simply fizzled out after that one fast-paced and original scene. But Feast for Thieves just kept going. Rowdy decides to return the money, which causes the Sheriff of Cut Eye a few problems. Sure, its good that he solves the crime, but the expense of a trial is sure going to put a dent in the county budget, and his chances of re-election. And hes got another problem: the town needs a preacher. So the Sheriff delivers Rowdy an ultimatum: spend a year as Cut Eyes minister, or go to jail.
Rowdy knows nothing about God, preaching or running a church, but he knows enough about jail not to want to go back there. Besides, hes got other problems, and hes going to need a paying job to fix them. Its an excellent plot, with lots of twists, yet all making perfect sense, and tied together with a cast of true characters.
Rowdy is an especially fascinating character. Hes a likable rogue, with a little too much rogue to make a good minister. But he has his own unique way of dealing with problemsserving in the Army during some of the toughest battles means he probably knows more about human nature than many preachers.
But what really made Feast for Thieves stand out from the opening line was the voice. Rowdy isnt an educated man, and his language is earthy (but stops short of being vulgar). What makes him unique is his vocabulary and way of speakingI could hear every word in that Texan accent, yet there wasnt a single misspelled word to indicate accent.
There was an Authors Note at the end in which Brotherton explained how he developed Rowdys voice, and it took extensive research and a deep knowledge of the time and place. It took a lot of effort to make Rowdys voice seem this easy and this authentic. Writers, if you are ever looking for a way of expressing dialect without apostrophes and misspellings, read Feast for Thieves.
Men, if youve been bemoaning the fact that too many Christian novels are sappy romances (especially Amish romances!), read Feast for Thieves. While Im not a betting man (well, Im not a man at all, not that you could tell based on the spam email I receive), Id say even your non-Christian friends would enjoy this one.
But its not all manly stuff. There is a solid and real Christian message in here, and even whispers) a little romance. I can absolutely see why Feast for Thieves was nominated for a Christy Award. Recommended.
Thanks to River North fiction for providing a free ebook for review.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great historical novelMarch 28, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What an entertaining novel! It has quirky characters, great action, and the promise of new life for a compassionate crook.
We meet Rowdy as he is escaping from a bank heist. He's back from WW II and like hundreds, thousands of men, can't find a job. He needed money and his old buddy talked him into the deed. He and his partner run for it and are separated. Rowdy jumps in the river, nearly drowns, but makes it out alive. He has the money sack and after great thought, decides to return the money.
And that is where the story takes an interesting turn. The sheriff of Cut Eye, Texas, is in a pickle. The town needs a preacher and Rowdy needs to be in the good graces of the lawman. He agrees to be a preacher for a year and in return, he won't be arrested.
And therein lies the story. Rowdy, a tough guy with a heart of gold, becomes a preacher. But life is not all Bibles and pew benches. His old partner in crime comes back and demands money. Rowdy is in a heap of trouble.
There's much more to the story, including a young woman who had been filling in at the church. Daughter of the sheriff, she quotes poetry and at times tries to write some. She tells Rowdy what his duties will be. Some people think preachers work only one day a week but her list of duties sets him straight. There's humor there and other places too.
Brotherton has woven spiritual insights into the story. Rowdy at one point finds a note pinned to his door. Some church goer is angry with him because he had them sing all the verses of a hymn. They had always left out the third verse. If he didn't want to get people angry, he'd better do it like they've always done.
And then there was the evangelistic method Rowdy used in the bar. He convinced the hard boiled factory workers of he could beat them up, they'd agree to come to church.
As good as the story and the humor are, there is a river of heartwarming love that flows through the novel. The people in the Cut Eye church are not perfect, but then, neither is Rowdy. He comes to really care for them, even the quirky ones, the crazy ones.
The message is clear. Can a man really change?
This is a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very well written. I loved the characters. They were so well crafted, fitting exactly into the plot. While the story takes place just after the end of WW II, it has truth for today. This is an enjoyable novel. I highly recommend it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5The Redemption of Reverend RowdyFebruary 20, 2015Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Another name has joined Father Tim and the Reverend John Ames in my directory of beloved fictional pastors. Rowdy Slater stands apart from the others (and from most real life pastors, I expect) in two important ways:
1. Neither Fr. Tim nor the Rev. Ames could look out over his congregation and say, At one time or another, Ive punched most of them in the face.
2. Neither answered his call to the ministry in order to avoid jail time.
In Feast for Thieves, Marcus Brotherton has created a work of fiction that kept me turning pages long after I should have turned out the light, while, at the same time, setting forth a prototype for pastoral training and development. From the moment of his first exposure to truth, Rowdy was a conflicted prophet with mixed and often misguided motives. Rising to announce his salvation, but distracted by the smell of bacon, he offends a benevolent preacher and misses out on the free breakfast. Later on, mindful of his responsibility to his daughter, he risks everything to honor an obligation to an evil man from his past. Fist-fights and white knuckle journeys at gunpoint move the plot along, but theres a delightful homeliness to the steady rhythm of Rowdys feeling his way into the ministry.
In his pastoral role, Rowdys ignorance is refreshing. He lands with both feet in the first chapter of Genesis and, by including directions for field dressing a squirrel, manages to stretch his first sermon to three full minutes. Although green as grass, Rowdy is spared none of the politics of the pastorate. By failing to omit the third verse of Shall We Gather at the River, he earns himself an anonymous nasty note (That is the way we have always done things around here . . .) and discovers the perennial church music debate. By loving a post-World War II congregation, he is baptized into the mix and mingle of a world of pain, and gets shot at for his trouble. He takes pastoral counseling in stride with more homespun wisdom than biblical knowledge (Well, its worth a wait and see.); and, within days of taking on his position, he launches a successful building program. Rev. Rowdy does systematic theology on the fly, but asks all the right questions (How did God ever know about losing a son?). Problem is that by the time trouble from his past comes calling, its too late to bail out Rowdy already cared too much.
Marcus Brotherton has populated Cut Eye, Texas with a cast of characters that both showcase and facilitate Rowdys transformation from a drifting and dishonorably discharged former WWII paratrooper to a young man with the heart of a shepherd. Theres Miss Bobbie, the sheriffs single missionary daughter who had kept the church doors open throughout the war in Rosie the Riveter style; then, theres her dad, Sheriff Halligan who believes in Rowdy and the town of Cut Eye in equal measure and dreams a future for both. No congregation is complete without its version of Mert, the crusty church secretary, and no Texas town would be believable without its Deuce Gibbons, ringleader of the rabble-rousers. Eventually, nearly the whole town ends up sitting in the pews, from Deputy Roy (who plays older brother to Rowdys prodigal) and Cut Eyes shady mayor to the town floozies and neer do wells. Then, theres faithful Goomer who just wants to hook Rowdy up with some reliable transportation.
Whether the stuff of epiphany or imagination, the lawman beside the river who invited Rowdy to find the good meal and eat your fill got a good thing going for the town of Cut Eye and for Rowdy. With his feet under the table at the Pine Oak Caf and his heart committed to the body of Christ at Cut Eye, Texas, he just may be on his way to eating the good of the land, and let us all remember that whenever any of us come to that table, its a feast for thieves.
This book was provided by River North Fiction, a division of Moody Publishers, in exchange for my unbiased review.
Fitzysmom5 Stars Out Of 5Review from Rambles of a SAHMNovember 18, 2014FitzysmomQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If there was ever a book that should NOT be judged by its cover, this would be it. From the cover I was expecting it to be more warish . . . but it isn't. In fact it is downright humorous in spots. Which was a complete surprise.
I've enjoyed several of Marcus Brotherton's nonfiction books so I knew he was a very talented writer. But this first work of fiction really reveals that he is a master wordsmith. It is my hope that he continues to bless us with more of these tales from his imagination.
The characters in this novel are what make the whole story sing. They are quirky in a way that only small-town folks can be. There's just something about people that know each other so well that they can't stand each other yet love them at the same time. One of the elements that Marcus used in this story was area specific dialogue. I'm from a Southernish area and some of the phrases that his characters used just made me laugh out loud. That is exactly how my people sound!
Above all else that I loved about this story was the redemption theme throughout. We're never far away from falling into a pit ourselves and we should remember that when we see someone stumble. Reach out and give them a hand and help them stand up again. Sherrif Barker took a chance on Rowdy and it changed everything, for Rowdy and the entire town.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Tings MomArkansasAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Fun ReadNovember 10, 2014Tings MomArkansasAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
When I first started this book, I wasn't too sure it was going to be for me. The book begins with a crime and then following Rowdy on journey that eventually lands him right back where he started - Cut Eye, Texas.
Once Rowdy gets back to Cut Eye and his life as a preacher begins, this story gets interesting and eventually turned into a page turner for me. Rowdy's life in Cut Eye is full of twists and turns. He meets some characters along the way, but eventually finds a way to make himself fit into the small town life that he has. He find a way to earn the respect of the people in the town and grows the church using some of the most unusual ways imaginable.
Along the way Rowdy becomes very close to the former leader of the church, a female missionary who just happens to be the Sheriff's daughter. Their relationship also spins around in different directions and it is not until the very last paragraph of the book that you learn their true feelings.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the transformation that Rowdy makes in his life. His story begins as a criminal, but through preaching and reaching others he truly becomes a leader in the church. His heart is changed and we see the effects of that in many circumstances throughout the story. It is during the high-stress events towards the end that we see proof that God has changed Rowdy and made him a better person.
I enjoyed this book and do recommend it as a read.