After his marriage to Sheila Dunn, Rick Macey’s life seems like it might be settling down for the first time in many, many years. But when a political assassination takes place in the Philippines, and the assassin leaves a calling card he can’t ignore, he’s forced to postpone his honeymoon yet again to delve into a political and religious web of confusion that is painfully intertwined with his own past.
The assassins call themselves The Tenth Crusaders, and they seem to be sabotaging the Philippines’ chances of peace with the Islamic Alliance of Oceania and the Unity Faith Society. Macey gets called in when the U.S. is in danger of being accused for the assassination.
To stop the Crusaders, and the mastermind behind them, Macey will have to confront not only his past, but the truth behind why he never wanted to return to the Philippines. In the face of temptation, turmoil and treachery, can his strength — and more importantly, his faith — withstand the trials?
I read Kirk Outerbridge’s Eternity Falls awhile back and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to the sequel, hoping it wouldn’t be a letdown after the intensity, action, and intense moral dilemmas of the first book. I needn’t have worried. The Tenth Crusaders is everything its predecessor was, and more.
On the one hand, it’s edgier than the first book. The sexual content, while still handled well, is even more frequent and strong. One character tells about a twisted sexual relationship from their past, and must deal with the repercussions of it. Macey and his co-workers go into a disreputable establishment at one point to get information, with one female police officer posing as a prostitute. Nothing is described graphically, and Macey fights the temptation to lust. There is some passionate kissing, which the hero struggles to resist, and at one point an alluring woman tries to seduce him, and he is tempted, but refuses. Other smaller things of this nature are scattered throughout the book.
On the other hand, I had much less to pick on about the theology this time. It was just as thought provoking and challenging in its messages as the first, and powerfully drove home its question — would you stand strong for your faith no matter what the cost to you or anyone or anything else? Macey is forced to decide that question in a very real way for himself, and the reader can’t help wondering if they would decide the same way, or differently.
Another interesting point is that Sheila, Macey’s wife, is not a Christian, and the very real difficulties of this scenario aren’t shied away from. While he sees the problems clearly, he never once fails or betrays her, and though she is immature and often very unreasonable, she sticks with him through all the very hard things he puts her through.
There is a great deal of violence, though none of it is too graphic. The most disturbing incidents are a woman’s throat being cut with wire near the beginning of the book, and a man’s head being lasered off, but neither is lingered on. There’s no language, other than the word “bloody” once or twice.
The pace of the story is intense and held my interest from the beginning all the way through to the very end without trouble. There is some confusion once or twice, especially when the author begins to switch to the viewpoints of people we aren’t familiar with. But it was never enough to lose me, just bewilder me for a few moments. The number of unforeseen twists and sudden turnarounds, while well-done, got to be a little too much for me near the end, and they started to lose their shock factor a little bit — as if there were just a few too many. But overall, the mystery and surprises and suspense are very well-written.
While all the loose ends wrap up plot-wise, I found the ending to be a little emotionally dissatisfying, as the story stops almost right after the plot resolution. There’s also another little twist right at the end that came and left so suddenly I couldn’t tell exactly what was meant by it. I’m assuming (and hoping!) that this means a sequel.
Rick Macey is a wonderful character, and I have yet to be disappointed in his stories, so if Mr. Outerbridge does write another book, I’d be the first in line to buy it.
Published on 15 July, 2012. Last updated on