LET FREEDOM RING
This substandard Christian novel launches the Lacys' newest series, Shadow of Liberty, based on the stories of faithful immigrants who come through the New York harbor to find freedom in America. This first installment begins in Russia with our hero, Vladimir Petrovna, fighting in the Crimean War. He and his family are born-again Christians who must brave brutal persecution as they meet in secret underground churches. At any moment they could be raided by Cossack police who summarily execute pastors and imprison those who refuse to renounce their relationship to Christ. Vladimir and his family eventually find a way to escape to the West. Although the authors capture some of the terror involved in practicing a non-Orthodox religion in czarist Russia, thereby instilling a greater appreciation for America's freedom of worship, they do so bluntly, with copious Scripture-studded sermons and stilted speeches. (One British captain who rescues Vladimir after he is wounded pronounces with teary eyes and "quivering lips": "People who live in a free country like I do just don't realize what some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have had to suffer for their faith.") The novel is plagued by anachronistic language and a paucity of the sort of historical detail that could have enriched the wooden plot development and syrupy love stories. Much of the book consists of the main characters meeting others and sharing their stories of how they were led to Jesus. (July)
Forecast:Sad to say, especially for a new series, but most readers will want to pass on this disappointing, relentlessly preachy novel.