For some strange reason Marc Royce, accountant, is being flown by helicopter into Kenya where the area is torn violently by the eruption of a volcano and the refugee camps filled with people who have been evicted from their traditional lands. One wonders why an accountant would be positioned in such an eruptive political situation.
We soon discover that Marc Royce is not a meek accountant but is in reality an undercover agent. His assignment is to rout out what is really going on with the displacement of so many tribal Africans. And, too, the kidnapping of a key international individual.
Author Davis Bunn has traveled extensively and his travels and gift for description enable him to draw vivid word pictures of sun rise and set, of dry parched land, and of hungry displaced refuges. Vivid descriptions of a volcano spewing forth ash and fire are set forth on the pages of Rare Earth. Not only has Bunn painted glorious word pictures of the scenes, he has drafted a multi-talented character in Marc Royce. A man of a quiet spirit and yet he can erupt with the fierceness of a volcano to fight mightily against wrong. He is a man of many strengths. He becomes the warrior the refugees need and he is the man that has a gentle soft side that appeals to the "leading lady."
Rare Earth is intensely written and filled with action packed scenes that will appeal immensely to the male reader. Marc Royce's strength and agility and degree of focus are not that of a "normal" man but that of a trained warrior. The story is one of international intrigue, and you won't know until near the very end just who the rogue players are.
For fun I recommend you research "rare earths" on the internet and see just what Bunn is writing about in his book. It is truly a front page story.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of writing an honest review of my opinion of Rare Earth. No compensation was provided and all opinions expressed are my own.
Rare Earth by Davis Bunn is a story that moves quite quick in some places, and slow in others. But it is all-in-all a good story if you give yourself time to get into it.
On page one we meet Marc Royce, a man who has come to Africa to investigate some possible corruption in a relief organization. A man has been kidnapped, and the company Marc works for is suspected of doing the crime. Marc expected to simply come to Kenya to get answers for his company and possibly to find some for himself as well. He never planned on becoming a vital piece in a puzzle that is only now unfolding.
Tribes are being removed from their ancestral lands and sent to city slums for no apparent reason. They are promised new land, but it never materializes. Now, as the crisis grows, the elders begin to look to an unlikely hero for help-- Marc Royce.
In the midst of it all, Marc finds himself being drawn to the kidnapped man's sister, a nurse at the refugee camp where he is staying. She is a woman of many secrets, and Marc slowly begins to realize that her knowledge may be one of the keys to uncovering the reason for the tribes' displacement.
As I said at the beginning of the review, this book is slow-paced part of the time. Although the characters and setting are interesting, they did not draw me in quite as much as I would have liked. I still feel that the book was definitely not a waste of my time. It was only after I read the book that I found out that it is the second in the Marc Royce series. I think that maybe if I had read book one, Lion of Babylon, first, I might have been able to understand Marc a little better. So for those reading the Marc Royce series, I would definitely say that Rare Earth is worth reading.
If you liked Davis Bunn's novel Lion of Babylon I think you will also like Rare Earth. Marc Royce's newest assignment is located in Kenya, Africa, where a recent earthquake and volcano eruption have caused widespread suffering. He is there officially as an accountant, but as he gains the trust of the leaders of the refugee camps, the reader sees his true mission clearer--to find the source of the underlying corruption.
The writing is excellent and the story is one that could have been read in your morning paper or seen on the morning news. Full of mystery, suspense, espionage, corruption, and even a little romance. This book captured my attention right from the first page to the last. I was excited to see Rare Earth being offered to review, because I had previously read Lion of Babylon, but this book does well as a stand-alone too. I am hoping that there will be at least one more book featuring Marc Royce.
I can't help but compare Davis Bunn's "Rare Earth" to its precursor- "Lion of Babylon." If you read the first book and enjoyed it, then you will like "Rare Earth" - and you'll probably like it more. If you're familiar with Bunn's work, then you know he is skilled at depicting believable settings; the reader can almost feel the oppressive heat and the bleak hopelessness of a Kenyan refugee camp or city slum, where most of the story plays out. The plotline is engaging and keeps you reading; covert operative Marc Royce sets out to find a missing aid worker and in doing so uncovers a hidden international scheme to monopolize rare minerals used in advanced technologies. He also falls in love along the way, though the romance is pretty weakly developed. As with "Lion of Babylon", this book is not so suspenseful that it will keep you up at night, but it is action-packed, contemporary, and entertaining. Also like "Lion of Babylon", "Rare Earth" is weak on character development. Though you would not need to read the first book to understand and enjoy this one, you will be left with no mental picture of Marc Royce, the main character (you wouldn't have found it in the first book either), and you will not get any introduction or background about him_you'll simply have to accept that he's amazingly capable, indeed, divinely anointed, in all he does. I find myself frequently picturing a Christian version of some action movie spy hero, say Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer, for lack of any character description or introduction. I think this is why, in general, I don't feel any real connection with Bunn's characters- you don't really get to know them, you simply read about them. The true book lover will know what I mean by that!
Ultimately, "Rare Earth" is a better book than "Lion of Babylon". The conflict is better, and not so effortlessly resolved, making it more believable and slightly more suspenseful. Without a doubt there will be a third book and I'll read it when it comes, if only because they seem to keep getting better every time. Despite some weaknesses, Bunn is a strong writer when it comes to plot and setting, and for that reason I really enjoy his writing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.