cover image When the Nile Runs Red

When the Nile Runs Red

DiAnn Mills. Moody Publishers, $12.99 (330pp) ISBN 978-0-8024-9911-0

Mills, a popular Christian romance writer (When The Lion Roars), travels to the Sudan in this action-packed, if didactic, inspirational novel. At the center of the story are two likeable characters, Larson and Paul Farid, Christians who ""long ago... set their course to aid the persecuted Sudanese and spread the gospel."" Paul, who converted to Christianity from Islam, has reason to worry that his decidedly anti-Christian family may actually try to kill him and his wife, but nonetheless, he desperately wants to see his relatives and tell them about Jesus. Meanwhile, Larson, a courageous physician, discovers that she's pregnant. Since children were not in her plans, she worries about the impact of a baby on her medical work and marriage. When the Farids' friend Ben is diagnosed with cancer, he decides he needs to get his personal house in order. The novel is not without problems; the backstory that connects Ben and the Farids is complex, and Mills could have helped the reader along by explaining it more straightforwardly. In contrast to recent Christian fiction that subtly integrates faith into the story, here the religious message can feel heavy-handed. However, an intriguing sub-theme runs throughout, as characters tend to withhold important information from those closest to them.