Davis Bunn has never written a "dud". I am so pleased that I can confidently order his latest book, knowing the high quality work he produces, and not be let down. Lion of Babylon was no exception. Bunn writes with a level of intelligence, knowledge of his subject matter, and with depth and intensity. Each book Bunn writes grabs the reader's attention right out of the chute, and does not let go even after the final page is savored.
I have read a few books by Davis Bunn over the years, but that did not prepare me for reading this one. Wow. What a read. I will admit I was a bit worried about the plot - was afraid it would come off very pro-Muslim in the way that the liberal media does, but it did not. Yet it isn't anti-Muslim.
I curled up in my reading chair and planned on reading a chapter or two. I quickly ditched that plan, and settled in for the long haul. I loved the plot, the setting, the characters - especially the main character. There was a lot of suspense and drama, which I love in a book, and above all was the Christian content. This is not simply an awesome international intrigue thriller. It is much more than that. It showed through fiction how God can work - and is working - in any country or people and can bring those people to Him.
Though fiction, Bunn painted a great and realistic picture through his words. As I read through the pages, it was like I was there on the streets of Iraq. The whole book seemed real, like the events could really happen. I got pulled into the book and became a very willing observer of the action and events within. I also learned a lot about Iraq and the difference in the kinds of Muslims.
My only disappointment was coming to the end of the book. It seemed to come too fast. I saw on a sign last week this quote: "The problem with some books, is that the covers are too far apart." True. But the only problem with this book, is that the covers were not far enough apart. I loved, loved, loved this book! I cannot say enough good about it.
I am very much recommending it. It is a story that men are more likely to enjoy than women, but anyone who enjoys a good thriller with international intrigue and military action will enjoy this. It should get 5 out of 5 stars in any review.
I LOVED this book. I grew up reading Tom Clancy. In many ways, this book has that kind of feel. A lone operative sent into a hostile territory to do the impossible. Like Hunt for Red October, there's a local who tells part of the story -- and it is so much richer for seeing the story partly through his eyes. Set in Baghdad, as I read I felt transported to the battle in Iraq. I got a flavor for the state of the country from the American and Iraqi perspectives. The action was intense. And the characters compelling. The political factions are each illustrated with enough background to understand why these divisions have evolved over the centuries, but without too much that might bog things down. So while this book has everything that makes a Tom Clancy book a great read, it also has one missing element -- heart. The faith element is amazing -- and adds to the richness of the book. I can't wait to hear what my husband thinks of the book, but this is a keeper -- if you saw the overflowing state of our bookshelves you'd understand what high praise that is!
I never would have thought i'd be excited about a book with the setting of Iraq. But once again, Davis Bunn has brought me into a previously unknown world--this time, to a reading experience beyond my negative feelings about a seemingly endless war.
Lion of Babylon is far more than a thriller involving kidnappings of three Americans, an Iraqi, and Iraqi children. As is usual with Bunn's books, the characters are extremely memorable and endearing. Marc Royce becomes a lion (hero) not only to Iraqis, but also to the reader. Equally heroic is a faithful, caring Arab Christian, Sameh el-Jacobi. The gradual building of trust between Marc and Sameh is a beautiful thing, as are the incredible friendship and teamwork of Americans and Iraqis involved in the book's endeavors. And the theme of faith throughout the book is understated, but clear.
Other personal benefits for the reader: some necessary detail of Iraq's history, the description of Baghdad sites, a clearer understanding of the continual atmosphere of fear and danger, the inclusion of both young and older characters, and a basic understanding of Arab spirit and thinking.
Marc's willingness to do the right thing, no matter the cost, is crucial for all of us (in less exciting circumstances!), as is Sameh's conclusion: "All my life, my first instinct upon meeting a person has been to identify their background... I name them as American, Sunni, Shia, Persian, Kurd. But that moment in the [underground] church, we were all simply people in need. Imperfect and wounded and broken. And I saw the answer was Jesus." Good words for all of us!