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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the missionary review

The Missionaryoccasionally, as i am scoping the library shelves for something new to read, i will give an espionage/suspense/thriller novel a try. i have pretty high standards when it comes to what i like to read, so i am more likely to read a novel of this sort when someone else has recommended it to me.

in the case of the missionary, by william carmichael and david lambert, i noticed that it had received very good reviews from some people that i generally respect so i decided it was worth a try.

the missionary is about a man who has dedicated his life to helping out orphans in the barrios of caracas, venezuela.  david and his wife, christie, run a clinic/orphanage/school along with another older couple who founded the ministry.  every day he does his part to rescue sick, impoverished and malnourished kids from the street, but the fact that he has to leave so many suffering children behind each and every day is discouraging and disheartening.

one day, a stranger shows up, anxious to learn more about his work with the children.  when he leaves, he gives david a sizable donation and a mysterious offer for more money in exchange for a "small favor."  the relatively small decisions that david makes in relation to this stranger have very large consequences for the orphans, the country of venezuela, and (supposedly) the world.

overall, i would have to give this novel a "b."  i thought that the plot had the right amount of twists and surprises (although i was able to foresee a number of them).  i don't like a plot that is so complex and complicated that you feel like you have to take notes while you are reading.  this definitely meets that criteria.  i thought that the storyline was intriguing and engaging, with maybe only a minor lag here and there.

my criticism mainly was that at times it was really hard to like the main character, david.  as he struggles to make a decision, he is influenced by his desire to please his father and live up to heroic status of his older brother.  but it is hard to believe that david could really find a way to justify the decision he made.  when his father and brother discover his choice and have to help him resolve the problems that result, they are so condescending of david and his "foolish" choices that it is hard to feel sympathy for david at all.  he really was foolish and continues to act foolishly.  i would have appreciated a little more opportunity to feel connected to and sympathetic to david and his decisions.  even though david manages to regain the trust of his wife (more through her recognition of her own weaknesses than because of his ability to earn her trust), he doesn't regain my trust or that of his family by the end of the book.

if you like a fairly straightforward and relatively simple espionage/thriller story, without a lot of blood and gore, this might just be the book for you. you can find this book at amazon and christianbooks, but if you purchase it through the book's website, you can help a child in need at the same time.

this is a mamabuzz review. i received a free copy of this book from bring it on! communications for the purpose of this review. regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

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