Here we have a high quality example demonstrating my main concern about traditionally published Christian fiction.
The story is more than competently done. Davis Bunn is one of the true professionals in our industry. He knows all the nuts and bolts using them to craft an excellent story. The problem with the tale is the lack of spiritual power. Its not a Christian story.
It has all the pieces. It takes place on the Isle of Patmos. The historical explanations as well as the current culture are very interesting. The characters are very well described with depth. The relationships are compelling and intriguing. Some of the characters are obviously believers. But there is nothing of true spiritual power, merely religious emotion. God is not made real, because He is not really part of the story. This is about religion, not relationship.
The tale is told cleanly and up to Christian Bookseller standards. But it is all so boringbecause the Lord never shows up and the Holy Spirit never reveals His presence in any way. I guess I need to coin a possibly new phrase. Instead of PC for politically correct, this book is RC for religiously correctdesigned to offend no denomination. It reduces the story to pablum and I grew up into a need for meat and substance a long time ago. Baby food no longer satisfies. Solid food is all self-published these days because of RC realities.
As a result, the story is mere entertainmentvery well-done entertainment. But by next week, I will have probably forgotten this pretty trifle. Because theres really nothing here other than momentary diversion. Theres nothing wrong with this, but it could have been so much more.
I was given a review copy by Bethany in exchange for an honest review.
Davis Bunn's The Patmos Deception is a thrilling combination of ancient history, illegal activity, and modern crises. Carey Mathers arrives in Greece to discover her job at the Institute of Antiquities has been terminated, along with the rest of the Institute - another victim of the Greek financial crisis. However, her childhood friend Nick Hennessy, a journalist presently based out of Paris, is offered the chance of a lifetime: to investigate a series of disappearing Greek antiquities, and Carey is exactly what he needs for the job. Meanwhile, on the small island of Patmos, Dimitri Rubinos, who had been making his living off his tourist boat until the financial crisis, suddenly finds himself caught up in an opportunity far more dangerous than it seemed. As the plot proves far deeper than they were initially anticipating, with the three have any hope of riding the waves to safety?
Though the story is definitely suspenseful, there are plenty moments to relax and soak up Greece - the islands, the sea, the food, the history. While I knew that Greece rich with history and lore, especially biblical, I knew very few specifics - like about the apostle John being banished to the island of Patmos. The author does a good job bringing the history to the the present - making it relevant and interesting, connecting it to places we could really go.
I really liked Dimitri; he is put in a tough position, consults his family for wisdom, and makes a choice - not always the best choice, but he goes about it in an intelligent and wise way. He is smart. Sure, he's dealing in the illegal, but he recognizes when something is plain wrong. I can just feel the tension as he's trying to keep all the balls in the air - the bad guys, the state police, his people who are just trying to survive. The moment one drops, his life is forfeit. It's a terrible position, but well-written, so the reader can readily empathize.
While there are certainly hints of romantic tension, I liked that it's not a major competition between the men who will win the girl; they are not so foolish as to jeopardize their lives by fighting over her instead of focusing on the bad guys. Carey, instead, acts as a foil to show them the emptiness in their lives that can only be filled by God, not a woman, or danger, or high living. And at the same time, the men help point Carey in the right direction too - towards God - and the path she needs to follow.
I can only assume there is a book to follow - it is entirely too cruel leaving such loose ends, even if it is not actually a cliff-hanger. I look forward to reading it and seeing where Carey, Nick, and Dimitri end up! 4.5 stars!