Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CFBA Tour - Rare Earth

A long time ago, in a blogosphere not so far away, I reviewed books for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I haven't done so for a while, mostly due to trying to get my own writing done, but also because I was waiting for a book to really catch my attention.

Author Davis Bunn has done that with his latest book, Rare Earth.

Marc Royce is a fixer. A former intelligence agent who works for the government in scenarios that need subtlety and finesse, he is a man who fights the good fight to help others and to quell his own pain.

He is sent on assignment to Kenya, an east African country that had slid into crisis in recent years. A refugee camp is overwhelmed with people displaced due to a local volcanic eruption. The situation is volatile - there is little oversight, goods being withheld, and a population growing desperate by the hour.

As Marc lands and begins to grapple with the immediate problem, he is drawn to Kitra, a beautiful Israeli nurse who holds a secret and a grudge toward his cover company. The camp pastor Charles is Marc's only ally as he navigates tribal chiefs, political intrigue, and power brokers. When more villagers are displaced by government order, the region is primed to explode over something called "rare earth."

Marc has steep challenges before him: find the mystery of rare earth and Kitra's missing brother before he is the next victim.

I didn't realize when I ordered the book that I had read one of Bunn's earliest novels in the 1990s (so long ago now...). I was excited to read some of his newer work, and I was not disappointed.

Rare Earth is a suspense/action book with heart. Marc Royce is one of those heroes who is well-trained and knows how to respond in every situation. Even though he is special, he doesn't come across as a cardboard character. I felt Marc's doubts and hurts, and it provided real depth. Still, I enjoyed how he tackled situations and did what was necessary, including kicking some butt at times.

The plot is very current and deals with real world situations regarding rare earth and the phenomena of people being displaced for their land or resources. There was one too many meetings between power brokers (tribal chiefs, other councils) that got a little repetitive, but I always wanted to keep turning the page and reading more.

The faith element of the book is very well-handled and organic to the story. There is no preachiness, but spiritual life is realistically depicted, and this is a book anyone could enjoy.

The CBA market is developing more writers and books outside of the Amish/historical/romance genres over time. Davis Bunn has actually been around for a while, and even though I lost track of his works for a while, I will be eagerly watching for his new material after enjoying Rare Earth. Fans of action and suspense should definitely check him out.
Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes, without obligation for a positive review. I just like it anyway.

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