cover image Joshua in the Holy Land

Joshua in the Holy Land

Joseph F. Girzone / Author MacMillan Publishing Company $16 (0

As this unsurprising installment in Girzone's bestselling Joshua series (following Joshua and the Children ) opens, the simple carpenter Joshua is wandering in the desert in the Middle East. Finding a lost lamb, he returns it to its owner, the prominent sheik Ibrahim Saud, then cures a little girl in the sheik's encampment of a deadly snakebite, thus gaining the Arab's eternal gratitude. Their ensuing friendship opens the possibility of success for Joshua's true mission, bringing peace to the Middle East. He unites like-minded Jews, Arabs and Christians as the Children of Peace, hoping to end strife by forming personal bonds between peoples. Under the guidance of the gentle, mysterious holy one, the movement increases and multiplies until it topples governments and creates the basis for lasting peace with justice. This accomplished, Joshua departs like a religious Lone Ranger, leaving those he touched asking, ``Who was that Holy Man?'' Talky and slow-moving, the narrative shows Joshua splitting his time between visiting the sites associated with his (i.e. Jesus's) previous life and preaching didactic sermons. Even the Children of Peace comes off like some odd 12-step program where participants do everything but say, ``My name's Khalil, and I'm a hatemonger.'' For the millions who have found Girzone's previous efforts so enjoyable, however, Joshua's latest outing will provide more of the same. Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)