Wilderness Rising, Church Builder Series #2   -     By: A.L. Shields
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Wilderness Rising, Church Builder Series #2

Zondervan / 2015 / Hardcover

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Bethany Barclay is fighting to outwit the Wilderness, an ancient and powerful cabal bent on destroying Christianity. Its members murdered her best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must find the Pilate Stone-a mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

But she's not the only one looking for the stone. In an international landscape of double agents, Bethany finds it impossible to tell friend from foe. The Garden, a secret group of powerful intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is collapsing under the rising power of the Wilderness. And an ocean separates her from her only proven ally-the lone wolf Ray Fuentes, who has battles of his own to fight.

A sparse trail of breadcrumbs takes Bethany across Europe into a labyrinth of academics, art historians, and followers of a reclusive monastic order. As her quest transforms into an ever more complex and dangerous game, unlikely actors in the drama emerge. Some are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 1.11 X 6.11 (inches)
ISBN: 031033215X
ISBN-13: 9780310332152
Series: The Church Builder

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Publisher's Description

From A. L. Shields—pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Stephen L. Carter—comes the thrilling sequel to The Church Builder.

It began as a search for the truth about her best friend’s death. Now Bethany Barclay is caught in the ultimate struggle to keep faith alive.

The Wilderness, an ancient cabal bent on destroying Christianity, has murdered Bethany’s best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must traverse England and Europe to find the Pilate Stone—a mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

She’s not the only one who wants the stone. The Garden, a powerful group of intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is willing to betray her to achieve their higher goals. And a mysterious third faction lurks in the shadows, waiting for her to stumble.

Alone and on the run in this international landscape of double and triple agents, Bethany’s quest becomes an ever more complex and dangerous contest against players who don’t play fair.

In this riveting sequel to The Church Builder, many of A. L. Shield’s cunning characters are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief. 

Including Bethany’s.

Author Bio

A. L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for thirty years. He is also the author of seven acclaimed works of nonfiction and five best-selling novels. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), spent eleven weeks on the New York Times best seller list.

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  1. Kansas City
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Oh, What a Wicked Web is Weaved!
    May 25, 2015
    tickmenot
    Kansas City
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Wilderness Rising is an action packed unpredictable thriller. It picks up where the first book, The Church Builder, stopped with the main character, Bethany Barclay, finding herself in England. She is attempting to piece together the mystery that has resulted in the death of her best friend, Annabelle. It also catapulted her from her small town law practice to a worldwide run for her life--while she tries to solve this mystery before she becomes the next victim.

    Along her journey she met a brilliant teenage girl, Janice, who insisted on coming with her. That decision resulted in Janice being kidnapped. Her kidnappers are demanding that Bethany find an ancient artifact called the Pilate Stone, and turn it over to them in order to save Janice's life.

    It all comes down to good versus evil.

    As Bethany works to solve Annabelle's murder and save Janice, she discovers that the people behind all this is a powerful, centuries-old, secret group known as The Wilderness. Their main focus has been to discredit Christianity, and to ultimately get rid of it entirely. Members of The Wilderness includes some of the most powerful people in the world. They have been able to control the media, dictate the moves of important politicians and get laws passed to further their cause. Many of their evil deeds have been thwarted through the centuries by another equally secret group called The Garden.

    Catch her if you can!

    But all Bethany knows is that she is running for her life. Her character has been completely destroyed, and she has been falsely accused of things she has had nothing to do with. Bethany has had to take on a new identity, and does not know who to trust. Just when she seems to find one answer, she uncovers something else that reveals she is involved in a web of evil that has far reaching consequences. In the mean time, The Garden and The Wilderness both seem to be losing control and experiencing members who are selling them out, or secretly working for the other side.

    How will this ancient battle end?

    This is a fascinating story that will draw you in immediately. Will Bethany be able to clear her name, as well as, free Janice? Will The Wilderness succeed this time, and destroy Christianity? Or will The Garden be strong enough to stop The Wilderness? This is a real page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I never knew where this tale was going to go next, and liked that I couldn't easily figure out how it would end.

    Wilderness Rising is the second book in a series, and I felt the first book, The Church Builder, really needs to be read first to enjoy this one. In fact, I stopped reading Wilderness Rising, got The Church Builder, read it, and then read this one afterward. I enjoyed this 5-star book very much, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers and mysteries, or well-written Christian fiction. You can find more books written by this author under the name Stephen Carter.

    The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of Wilderness Rising through The Thomas Nelson Publishing BookLook Bloggers Program 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. Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Ancient Artifact, A Race Across Europe Thriller
    April 27, 2015
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A. L. Shields in his new book, Wilderness Rising Book Two in The Church Builder series published by Thomas Nelson continues the adventure with Bethany Barclay.

    From the back cover: It began as a search for the truth about her best friends death. Now Bethany Barclay is caught in the ultimate struggle to keep faith alive.

    The Wilderness, an ancient cabal bent on destroying Christianity, has murdered Bethanys best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must traverse England and Europe to find the Pilate Stonea mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

    Shes not the only one who wants the stone. The Garden, a powerful group of intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is willing to betray her to achieve their higher goals. And a mysterious third faction lurks in the shadows, waiting for her to stumble.

    Alone and on the run in this international landscape of double and triple agents, Bethanys quest becomes an ever more complex and dangerous contest against players who dont play fair.

    In this riveting sequel to The Church Builder, many of A. L. Shields cunning characters are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief.

    Including Bethanys.

    Pontius Pilate, possibly, wrote his thoughts about Jesus, onto a piece of stone. Supposedly the Pilate Stone had been hidden for centuries. Both The Garden and The Wilderness want that stone and Bethany is the pawn that they are forcing to get it for them. Not only is her life in danger but the life of her friend if she fails. Now she is on the run from law agencies, as they believe she is a terrorist, as she hunts across Europe trying to unearth an artifact that may not exist. Wilderness Rising is a thriller, which simply means that Bethany is in grave danger from, practically, the beginning. Mr. Shields has given us a really complex mystery that will keep you up late at night reading as fast as you can. Wilderness Rising is full of twists and turns, with a few red herrings thrown in just to cause confusion. Bethany is a warm and likable character and we root for her to succeed as we fear for her life. This is an exciting book, extremely well paced and suspenseful. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. . 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  3. Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Good Versus Evil
    April 15, 2015
    cici
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    The battle of good versus evil will forever be one of my all time favorite plot lines and Wilderness Rising by A.L. Shields delivers like no other. Our Heroine, Bethany, has to had to deal with so many evil entities trying to bring down Christianity that one would think her odds of winning are nonexistent. Fortunately, Bethany is stronger and has the power to break them before they will ever be able to break her or Christianity. I love, love, love strong and determined heroines that will not only be full of life but are able to tackle those wanting to take her down. These types of characters are appealing and inspiring for the way they think, act, and handle high stress situations. This novel is worth the sleepless nights I experienced and the high tense shockers that lead from one moment to the next, a real page turner of a novel. There is beauty in the darkness and I enjoyed the journey. I was given a review copy from Booklookbloggers and all opinions are my own.
  4. Kentucky
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Book Review - Wilderness Rising By A.L. Shields
    April 9, 2015
    Jonathan Bryant
    Kentucky
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Once again, I braved diving into a sequel before reading its predecessor. Wilderness Rising is the second book in a series by A.L. Shields, the first of which is called The Church Builder. Although I definitely dont recommend reading Wilderness Rising before The Church BuilderI was thoroughly confused until I made it about 1/4 of the way through the book because I had missed much information evidently provided in the first bookI certainly recommend reading this series! A.L. Shields, a pseudonym for Yales Professor of Law, Stephen L. Carter, definitely knows how to convey the scene.

    Our main character in Wilderness Rising is a young woman by the name of Bethany Barclay, a US fugitive wanted for murder and terrorism. I assume that her back-story is told in the first book, The Church Builder. However, one thing is made clear from the beginning of Wilderness Rising': she is wanted for crimes she didnt commit. We follow Bethany as she runs from the ever-watching eyes of the FBI.

    Simultaneously, she seeks to find the Pilate Stonea mysterious first-century artifact on which Pontius Pilate carved an eye-witness testimony of the validity and existence of Jesus Christ, his miracles, and the truth of His claims. She is the only one with the ability to locate the mythical stonebut she is not the only one who desires to find it.

    The Wilderness, an ancient and powerful cabal bent on destroying Christianity, wishes to find the stone because they believed that Pontius Pilate would have had no incentive to lie, and thus believed that upon the stone would be written a stark denial of the Christ, as well as His deity and works. They also seek to possess the stone so that, in the event of an affirmation of the Christ and His deity, the stone will never find its way into the eyes of the public. The Wilderness is relentless in its lust for the stone. Its members murdered Bethanys best friend and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany is demanded to locate and hand over the Pilate Stone to the Wilderness.

    A second group focused intently upon the possession of the Pilate Stone is the Garden, a secret group of powerful intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany. They seek to find the stone in order to further authenticate the Biblical claim to Jesuss deity, miracles, and work.

    Besides these two major groups, there are many more searching for the stone. These people are driven to possess the stone solely for monetary gainthe Pilate Stone is projected to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

    As Bethany draws closer to finding the location of the stone, tensions rise. Bethany is sought after by all, and the body count continues to rise as the various groups greed rises. Bethany fights perilously to remain in the shadows as she searches for the Stone in an attempt to ransom her friend from the Wilderness.

    Wilderness Rising is very ingeniously written, and is very complex in its story-line. I was very intrigued with the story, and I allowed the novels quick and perilous current to carry me to the end, where the tension, building steadily over the course of the entire book, finally climaxes in an encounter with the Wildernesss Lord Protector and a single unwavering decision that determines the fate of the Pilate Stone. In the end, Wilderness Rising has a very important message for Christians and Non-Christians alike: we need no extra-biblical proof to validate Christs claims. The Bible itself is verification enough, since it is the authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Faith that requires physical verification from fallible men is not faith at all. Of course, that doesnt mean that the discovery of a real-world Pilate Stone would be meaninglessa hand-written account from Pontius Pilate would be very significant indeed. The message that Wilderness Rising offers is that a real-world Pilate Stone is not at all necessaryGods own Word is enough!

    After all, how necessary would the barbed fence of a Pilate Stone be when it stands behind the absolutely impenetrable, massive wall of Gods own infallible Word?
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