Clumsy prose, a plot that flagrantly capitalizes on the current interest in Islam, and some predictable twists and turns mar this latest novel from a bestselling author in the evangelical Christian market. Dekker, who has enjoyed great commercial success with thrillers like Heaven's Wager and Blessed Child, details the horrors suffered by women in some Islamic countries. The story chronicles a desperate flight to the United States by Saudi Arabian princess Miriam al-Asamm, who seeks to escape an unwanted arranged marriage to the evil Omar bin Khalid. Omar must marry Miriam in order to gain allies in his plan to overthrow the government and return Saudi Arabia to fundamentalist Islam. Meanwhile, in the United States, genius Seth Border is bored at Berkeley and pondering the existence of God. When he is thrown together with Miriam at a party, Seth uses a mysterious gift he's been given to see "possible futures" and helps Miriam escape from Khalid's henchmen. Although there are some promising plot threads, the story quickly disintegrates into one long predictable chase scene. The reader must stumble over strange sentences ("He was like a fragrant aroma that had swept into her life and resuscitated dying tissue") and even stranger ones ("She was nothing more than a helpless maggot here in his presence"). There's plenty of violence, mostly directed at women and often of an inferred sexual nature. In a time when evangelical Christian fiction is coming of age, this book is a disappointment. (Jan.)
Forecast:Dekker is fast becoming a presence in the evangelical market and a fixture on CBA bestseller lists. Despite this novel's considerable literary flaws, Dekker's growing fan base will probably enjoy it as spine-tingling pulp fiction.
Release date: 01/01/2003