Feast for Thieves  -     By: Marcus Brotherton
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Feast for Thieves

River North / 2014 / Paperback

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Sergeant Rowdy Slater is the most skilled-and most incorrigible-soldier in Dog Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, an elite group of paratroopers fighting for the world's freedom in World War II.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, Rowdy returns to the States after the war, turns his life around, and falls into the only job he can find-preacher at the sparsely populated community church in Cut Eye, Texas, a dusty highway town situated at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness. The town's lawman, suspicious that Rowdy has changed his ways only as a cover up, gives an ultimatum: Rowdy must survive one complete year as Cut Eye's new minister or end up in jail.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: River North
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 X .66 (inches)
ISBN: 0802412130
ISBN-13: 9780802412133

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Publisher's Description

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 Rowdy’s confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve for one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail. Rowdy’s 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.

Author Bio

MARCUS BROTHERTON is the author or coauthor of more than twenty-five nonfiction books. Notable works include Shifty¿s War, A Company of Heroes, and the oral history project, We Who Are Alive and Remain: untold stories from the Band of Brothers, a New York Times bestseller. This is his first novel. www.marcusbrotherton.com.

Editorial Reviews

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 he’d been and with all the wrong he’d done, then I reckon God could care for someone like me." Rowdy’s 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 Rowdy’s life are one of many surprises. Dialogue is colloquial and historically rooted, as in Twain’s 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




Product Reviews

4.9 out Of 5
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4.9 out Of 5
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  1. Kansas City
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Offer You Can't Refuse!
    April 22, 2016
    Kansas City
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Become a pastor for a year, or go to jail. What would you choose? Imagine a guy, named Rowdy, who did many brave things during World War II. He received recognition and advancement in rank, only to lose it all at the end of the war. All because Rowdy attempted to defend a lady's honor, he was unfairly jailed, and stripped of everything he achieved in the military. While in prison, he is befriended by Crazy Ake. He is a handy guy to have on your side inside the jail, but a real liability outside of it.

    After his release from prison, Rowdy finds himself broke and down on his luck. Rowdy unwisely agrees to pull a holdup in a small Texas town with Crazy Ake. In the confusion after the robbery, they are separated, and Rowdy ends up with all the cash. Rowdy then decides to turn himself in to the local sheriff, and return all the money.

    And that is when the story really gets interesting, because the sheriff makes him a most unusual offer. If Rowdy will take over as the minister of their local church, and do the job for a year, his debt will be paid. No jail time will need to be served.

    The author takes us on a wild ride while Rowdy, who has no religious background whatsoever, attempts to pastor a church. While doing that, he is instructed by the sheriff's single daughter on how to be a pastor, he begins to learn about God, and starts reading the Bible. But he is also being pulled back into the dark side by Crazy Ake, even when Rowdy doesn't want to be. Before this book is over there is humor from church people, and Rowdy's attempts to pastor them. There is also danger, stolen money, and an ending full of twists and turns.

    This is a very original story idea. The author does a great job telling this tale, of making you actually believe something like this could happen. Envision a robber who wants to return all the stolen money, and is then given the choice of becoming a pastor, or going to jail. It is such an outrageous idea, but because it is, it will make you think, what would happen if such a choice was given to someone in real life? It is so crazy, that it is almost believable, in the category of truth is stranger than fiction, that is. There is also some very good Christian theology interjected between all that is happening in Rowdy's often crazy life. Some seamier sides of life are referred to, but not gone into detail about. I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction.

    The publisher has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of A Feast for Thieves, through Moody Publishing for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
  2. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    Rowdy Slater, Thief or Preacher?
    February 22, 2016
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is not a work of historical fiction, rather a work of action/fiction which takes place in a by-gone era. Feast of Thieves is indeed "hard-edged" and "gritty" and full of action.

    This is my second read of this author. I did not care for the book. It's one of those books I don't want to finish, but I keep reading in hopes it will end well. I read it all the way through in order to give a proper review.

    Marcus Brotherton is a seasoned writer. This is his first work of fiction. My opinion is that in fictionalizing the story and making it entertaining (if you like fist fights, gun fights, and run-ins with the law) it lost much of the historicity which could have been central to the book. If they were based on real events this reader would be more tolerant of them.

    The singular point of view is well done, almost to a fault, especially if the reader didn't care for the main character. I would find him more tolerable from another point of view. The characterization of Rowdy Slater by dialect is well done, but again is almost overdone since the reader is in Rowdy's head for the entire book.

    Again, because of the singular point of view, the reader was limited in exposure to Scripture, other than loosely paraphrased story-telling. Any glimpse of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is inferred, though there are opportunities, as though the author purposely avoids direct mention of the person of God. This reader prefers a story with at least one character with strong faith in God, one who is verbal about it, even if it's leaning toward obnoxious or humorous, just to keep things evened out.

    The cover of the book and the title don't work. Is this a satire or a novel? Is the story about Rowdy's relationship with God? with fellow men? with parishioners? with Bobbie? with Sunny? all of these? This reader thinks the author intended to leave the reader with more questions than answers.

    Feast for Thieves is a squeaky clean read, in vocabulary and in tactfully telling sordid scenes without being offensive. Well done! Kudos to another author who leaves the unsavory elements to the reader's imagination instead of spelling it out. Thank you.

    I highly recommend Feast for Thieves to readers who like lots of action, lots of twists and turns in the story, and impossible to overcome odds, with a hint of faith and religion woven in and a slight dab of relationship with the opposite sex.

    I also want to comment on the beautiful writing in terms of setting the scene. I've never been to Texas or Mexico, but I felt like I was there as I read. Likewise the characters were easily distinguished from each other. Vehicle descriptions, both on ground and in air, help keep the story in the proper era.

    Nothing about this book made me want to be there or go through what any of the characters experienced. I didn't learn anything, except about fighting, which I hope I never use, nor was I entertained. It was overwhelming to read of Rowdy's physical exploits and self-imposed regimens during periods of going without meals for days. Not anything I could relate to. Again, the limited point of view.

    My rating: three stars

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest review. Opinions are my own.

    [I hope my criticisms show the strength of Brotherton's writing, for he has written a strong story. One could easily flip my criticism(s) to spell strengths.]
  3. New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 26, 2015
    New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I 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.
  4. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great historical novel
    March 28, 2015
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What 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.
  5. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Redemption of Reverend Rowdy
    February 20, 2015
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Another 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.
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