cover image Revelation: A Search for Faith in a Violent Religious World

Revelation: A Search for Faith in a Violent Religious World

Dennis Covington. Little, Brown, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-36861-2

Deftly interweaving personal tragedy with reporting forays into brutal conflicts, Covington (Salvation on Sand Mountain) delivers a superb, fast-paced memoir. During his own spiritual crisis, Covington determines to discover "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In pursuit of answers about his own faith, Covington first travels to Juarez, Mexico, where he interviews a street preacher who takes in mental patients amid drug-cartel violence as well as the city's citizens who bury the horrendous number of murder victims. Eventually, he heads to the Middle East in search of Kayla Mueller, a 25-year-old Baptist aid worker from Arizona who was kidnapped by ISIS in Syria. Swiftly sketched scenes of illegally crossing the Turkey-Syria border take readers into war-ravaged hospitals and refugee camps. Traumatically, Covington suffers a head injury from a vacuum bomb that leaves him with lasting brain injuries. He visits Mueller's parents to decipher how their understanding of God has changed as a result of their daughter's abduction by terrorists with whom their government will not negotiate. Reflecting the bleakness of the conflict in the Levant, Covington never finds Mueller, but headlines record her disturbing fate. What Covington discovers about Mueller's final weeks, when faced with seemingly impossible circumstances, rekindles a long-lost spark in his dark night. Covington's memoir is an essential, human account of the violent reactions to religious plurality in an increasingly polarized world. (Feb.)