This is a historical fiction novel that tackles issues with sensitivity and grace. Issues of ethnic and religious background are addressed. The story glides along as though watching a captivating movie. My favorite part of this story occurs when people of different ethnic and religious background are worshiping together. I think this is a snapshot of what I anticipate heaven to be like one day. This is the first novel I've read written by a male author and I appreciate how romance was sprinkled lightly into the story and not the central focal point of the story. There is plenty of action and suspense to keep the reader engaged in this novel.
Davis Bunn is a great author. I have read some other books that he has co-authored and I would highly recommend him to anyone who loves to read. Lion of Babylon was a very gripping story. Marc Royce was fired from his job as special operations because he tended to his dying wife. A friend of his goes MIA and he gets called in by the same man who fired him. However, his ex-boss is no longer in the same position, but is still pretty high up the chain in Washington. Marc gets called in to save his friend and possibly 2 other American women. The last they were seen was Baghdad, Iraq.
Marc is a man of faith, however, after losing his wife he felt like his life had ended. No matter the circumstances in our life, our faith in God is what keeps a person together. He was going to church, but he wasn't growing. This is an area that needs to be worked on when life is going great, in order to sustain us through the trials and tribulations that will come into our life.
Sameh is Marc's help when he is dropped out of the Green Zone. Sameh is a fellow Christian, but he hides his faith and keeps it among his church family and his family. Through an underground church that Marc and Sameh go to, Sameh's eyes are opened to the fact that the Christian walk is meant to be lived out in front of others, despite the "consequences" with the government. As Americans, we do not face the same persecution as those in other countries, yet it is easy to just go with the flow instead of living our faith out loud.
(I received a complimentary copy for review from the publisher.)
Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn is an exciting, and at times, heart-pounding, breath-taking political thriller.
The characters come to life in front of the readers eyes, while fast friendships develop between American, and Iraqi, Christian and Muslim. Who join together in the search for three missing Americans and an Iraqi.
During their search for the missing men and woman Marc and his new friends attend an underground church which Marc describes "`As they met and forged a friendship they began looking at the Bible. Together they studied the Gospels, the four book that tell of the life of Jesus' Marc Waited a moment. then said, `They started praying together. For wisdom. For barriers to fall. For Jesus to Speak to them.'"
I would recommend this book to readers from teen to adult. My 15 year-old can not wait to start reading it.
**Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn was provided for me free by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
Davis Bunn's "Lion of Babylon", set in modern day Iraq, is listed as a novel of suspense- as such, I'm not sure it meets the average reader's expectation. The main character, Marc Royce, is a former intelligence agent called back into the field to unravel the mystery of his friend and former co-worker's disappearance. His quest brings him into a fast-formed friendship with a number of Iraqis, particularly one Christian man who is involved in investigative work. As a contemporary novel, "Lion of Babylon" gives the reader an excellent sense of place; Bunn's talent at evoking the smells and feel of a hot, crowded, war-torn city shines through in this book. The setting was believable and well portrayed, as I was able to clearly envision and feel the volatility of present-day Baghdad.
Along these lines, I also felt that Bunn skillfully conveyed a simple overview of the religious and political divisions that have plagued Iraq for centuries and persist today. A mild history lesson served up in a novel is something that I appreciate, as I like to think I will gain something from fiction beyond the pleasure of being entertained. Of course, Christian fiction also attempts to impart spiritual lessons and Bunn delivers on this point as his main characters in "Lion of Babylon" experience the power of faith in overcoming the cultural, linguistic, and racial barriers that often separate people.
Where the "Lion of Babylon" is somewhat disappointing is its general lack of believable suspense, particularly since it is classed as suspense genre. Unfortunately, I never strongly felt the tension that comes with uncertainty of outcome; rather, the points of conflict, particularly the conclusion, felt too easily- almost effortlessly- resolved. Another factor that contributed to the lack of suspense was that the hostages in need of rescue were not meaningful characters. The urgency of their situation never became real because they were not introduced or given a voice of their own. A final aspect that deprived the story of suspense was how quickly the bonds of unbreakable trust and camaraderie formed between the main characters- this despite the incredible brevity of their acquaintance and the language, cultural, or political differences that existed between them. As a fan of other works by Davis Bunn, "Lion of Babylon" disappointed me in these respects; however, it did not disappoint as a good, action-packed- and ultimately uplifting- read, one that kept me interested and engaged throughout. Most readers of Christian fiction will probably enjoy this book, and I would recommend it to someone who enjoys books that read a lot like every action movie you've ever seen- and still enjoyed.
I could go on. Bunn has done a masterful job of transporting the reader to another place, and to what might almost seem, another time. Though set in modern day Iraq, during the time when the Iraqis are seeking to establish a post-Saddam government, Davis Bunn describes the setting so well, you'd think you'd been taken back in time to another world. Sights, sounds, even smells float up off the page. Spice, mint, a melange of other odors kept stirring my senses throughout this book.
The plot was first-rate for this genre. I've read a great deal of Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and enjoy the espianoge genre. I truly enjoyed my first experience at reading Davis Bunn. He does a superb job of keeping the reader into the suspense and tension of the plot. I felt it moved at a great pace (contra other reviews I've read, but it makes me think they've never read in this genre before). There were moments I was breathless and then relieved; drawn in and on edge, as well as moved deeply. There is a scene in a "secret" church gathering with Americans, Iraqis, Sunni and Shia alike gathered for worship, making it only about Jesus that is so touching, I almost felt like I was Sameh el-Jacobi, being moved so deeply by the Spirit that tears flowed down my face.
Bunn's main character, Marc Royce, fits into the "spy thriller" mold: he's reluctant, yet able to take complete charge of a situation; feeling manipulated by handlers, yet still gets the job done for the sake of country (and, in this case, a foreign country that he becomes very fond of very quickly); aloof and yet very human.
If you've never read in this area before, I'd recommend this book. It contains the feel of some of the biggest best-sellers on the "secular" market without all the foul language, innuendo (or worse, blatant descriptiveness) and cynicism. If you're an "old familiar" with this type of book, grab it and read it and wait for a great ride. Once you start, you won't put it down.
I highly recommend the Lion of Babylon.
A complimentary copy of this book was received for review purposes only.