Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rare Earth

Let me begin by telling you this book was a 2013 Christy Award winner for "Best Suspense Novel".  In this story of suffering refugees which is really so much more than that, Marc Royce is thrown into a Kenyan refugee camp as a last minute hire for the United Nations, sent to replace the man who had trained extensively for this assignment.   He was to audit the organization that was providing relief and support to the refugees.  Davis Bunn wrote this about the greed for power and money that displaces people and nations.
Marc is pulled into the suffering and cannot help but look beyond that suffering to begin to put together odd pieces of a puzzle that do not fit the picture he sees.  Thus he finds the machinations of Lodestone, the relief organization that he is to audit.  He gets to know the Kenyans that are being evacuated and in time, gains their trust and respect.  They begin to tell him about how they are being evacuated because a volcano is erupting nearby.  Whole villages are being moved; a culture and way of life are being destroyed.  Wrapped up in all of this is the Christian/Islamic/Judeo conflict in that part of the world.
I was unfamiliar with rare earth minerals until I read this story.  In fact, I had never heard of them before this.  I researched the topic and found that they are real and they are used  in our cell phones and computers, tablets, smartphones;  all of that.  These minerals are only found in a few places in the world.  That fact, of course, makes for much competition in the rare earth market, worldwide.  They are irreplaceable to the technology industry.  China has the monopoly on the rare earth market and the world buys from them.  I had no clue, quite honestly.  The United States buys these minerals from China.
The author writes with such honesty and conviction that it brings the story to life.  He draws the characters realistically with their fears, secrets, all the humanity that is in us.  Davis Bunn writes Christian fiction and I appreciated the fact that God was a big part of the story and His working was evident.  When I am able to read a novel in which the author has included the faith of the main characters, and God's hand in the solution, that is a good book.  And yet, the realistic horror of war and the violence that takes place give the book authenticity. Mr. Bunn has other Marc Royce novels which I intend to read.  His writing reminds us that God truly is everywhere, even when He seems most distant.
 I highly recommend Rare Earth and give it five stars.  I pulled this book from my TBR stack to read and review for you.  It is the 2nd in a series of three.  Lion of Babylon is the first in the series; Strait of Hormuz is the last.  I will be reading both of these.
You can read more about Davis Bunn books and the Marc Royce series at Davis Bunn / Rare Earth.  
Read more about rare earth minerals at Rare Earth Minerals.  You may be amazed.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

Once again, I started in the middle of a series!  This is the second book in Mr. Silva's Gabriel Allon series.  First came The English Assassin, published in 2002.  The English Girl was released in 2013.  This year the third book was published on June 30.  It hit the NYT best-seller list on July 19. You have probably seen it advertised.  If you are a fan, you may have already read it!  Gabriel is an art restorer who also is a spy, who also is an Israeli.  He is the good guy.
I was drawn in from about the first page.  It is an excellent example of an international spy novel, with murder thrown in.  Madeline Hart is the English girl and the story weaves around her kidnapping but more intriguingly the reason for that kidnapping.  She is snatched up while on holiday in Corsica with friends.  Gabriel is called in to find and rescue her and has seven days to complete the mission and bring her home alive, or the kidnapper will kill her.  There is so much more going on here, which makes this novel a hard one to put down.  What I love is when I am surprised by what happens and whom I didn't suspect was involved in those happenings.  That was this book.  Madeline is an up and coming young member of the UK political scene.  The kidnapping reveals Russian collusion with Britain and much more that I will not go into. I would end up telling you the whole story.  It is hard for me to tell you about a book I have read without telling you the whole thing!  I have procured a copy of The English Assassin, the first in this series and will be reading The English Spy also, which is the just published third book.  
Daniel Silva has been called a "master spy novelist" and I agree.  He has published 18 thriller and espionage novels.  I read The Rembrandt Affair a few years ago and it was an excellent read as well.  I think I will probably start reading through most all of his novels.  

I highly recommend The English Girl. It is a curl up and read type of novel.  Or, this time of year, a book to sit with under a shady tree and sip a large iced tea!
I give The English Girl five stars!  I took this book from my collection of TBR's.  
You can read more about Daniel Silva and his writing at Daniel Silva

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