I have written before on my trip to Athanatos Christian Ministries Arts Festival. In the following paragraphs, I would like to write a little about two works written by award winners in ACM’s novel contests. Joseph Courtemanche’s Assault on Saint Agnes is the first reviewed, and my thoughts on Robert W. Cely’s Beyond the Steel follow. Both are excellent works offering a Christian ethos behind the action. They avoid the extremes of preachiness and amorality–similar to Andrew Klavan’s work. One wishes that more Christians would write like them. (Speaking of Christian fiction, I hope to finish Taylor Marshall’s Sword and Serpent and Paul J. Bennett’s (another contest winner) A Fall of Sparrows in the near future.) The first is an anti-terrorism thriller, and the latter is an allegorical fantasy. May our dear readers pick up the work which best suits their taste!
Assault on Saint Agnes benefits from the writer having intimate experience with the worlds of intelligence gathering and police work. This gives the thriller a sense of realism comparable to a Tom Clancy novel. However, this novel takes place not on the world stage but in the American Midwest. A retired Arab linguist foils a terrorist attack on a Catholic church in Minnesota, which attracts the unwanted attention of both local and federal authorities. The latter decides to enlist his aid in stopping the worst terrorist attack plotted since 9/11.