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.
The Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn is a page-turner. In fact, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to finish this book one night. I've read most of Davis Bunn's books, so I was anxious to receive this book to review. I can tell you that this book is a departure from Davis Bunn's subject matter, but it still embraces his legal/thriller style.
Marc Royce, formerly employed by the State Department Intelligence, was dismissed by a boss consumed with his work and who expected the same of his employees. Marc chose to take care of his dying wife over his job. But now she was gone...and he was alone. He was now employed as a forensic accountant, a boring job. His former boss, Ambassador Walton, comes to enlist Marc's assistance to find Marc's best friend, Alex, and two women (all Christians) who had gone missing in Baghdad. Within 3 hours, Marc is on a private jet heading to Baghdad and just a little rusty at intelligence work.
Marc is put in contact with Sameh, an Iraqi Christian lawyer. This lawyer has been spending much of his time recovering kidnapped children who were used as leverage with their families for votes in the new and unstable Iraqi government. Jaffar, the Grand Imam's son, employs the help of Sameh to find a missing Iraqi man. After Marc & Sameh begin to work together, they are sure the 4 missing people are somehow connected.
Marc & Sameh are put in various situations which begin to make the Iraqi and U.S. government take notice of these two men. And neither govenments are anxious for the four missing people to be found or for Marc or Sameh to receive any kind of notoriety. Marc manages to stay out of the spotlight which endears him to Sameh's family and to many leaders. And trust is born. Both men soon find out why two governments don't want missing people found...and they see God at work.
This is a great story. And I can only hope that God is at work in Iraq in the way this story portrays!
I'd give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you to Bethany House for providing 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.
I love Davis Bunn books and always look forward to the next one. The "Lion of Babylon" was full of suspense and gave a glimpse into life in Iraq these days, the dangers our men face and the reality that many of them care very much for the Iraqi people. There can be cooperation between groups although many do not want that to happen. This book gave hope for the future.
It's been a long time since I've read a political thriller and was worried I wouldn't be able to 'keep up' but that wasn't the case at all. I didn't know anything about the Iraqi government or the political situation beyond some vague assumptions I have made from watching the news, but Bunn does an incredible job of weaving explanations into dialogue and plot so skillfully that I didn't get lost once! In fact I was extremely impressed by the level of respect and deference he gave to the topic. And completely fascinated and charmed by the Arab culture he reveals.
The intrigue starts on the very first page and doesn't let up until the very end. Pair that with stellar action scenes and it makes for a breath-taking read that hurdles the reader toward an incredible climax.
But this is also a book about friendship and honour and trust. And it's about the peace that only the Savior can bring even in the midst of chaos.
Amazing and thought-provoking and definitely unforgettable. This would make a fantastic book club selection.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group."