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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Book's Cover

Being the avid reader that I am, I always get excited when I find an author who peaks my interest by writing a solid piece of literary work. In recent months I found just such a writer. Or, I should say, writers. The writers I’m referring to are a husband/wife team: Bodie & Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee), and their sons, Jake and Luke.

A few years ago I was attending the annual Father/Daughter Retreat at Hume Lake Christian Camp with my girls. One of our more enjoyable activities on these weekends is browsing through the gift shop. In the back is a book section, so I always wind up in there. I saw a book written by Jack Thoene, a name in Christian writing that I was unfamiliar with. The title of the book caught my interest: Shaiton’s Fire. The name Shaiton sure sounded a lot like Satan, so I read the back cover where it gives a brief synopsis of the book. It read, “A spark… a chain reaction… and the fire of terrorism explodes in America again.” Intrigued, I made the purchase. I was totally captivated by the story to the degree that my girls went back to the store before we left and bought the second in the series for me, Firefly Blue. There are three in this series all having to do with counter-terrorism ala Tom Clancy. The clear difference is the apparent emphasis on certain characters in the book holding strongly to their Christian beliefs and values. It has all the intrigue and suspense you could ever want, along with the reality of life and death surrounding the characters, be they good guys or bad guys.

Fast forward to late last year and you will find me in a local Christian bookstore. As is my habit, I was snooping through all sorts of books and topics when my eye caught a book cover and title I would never have guessed would be in a Christian bookstore. The book cover had a dark grey-black picture of a cowboy who looked like he was all business. The copper lettering on the cover said, Legends of the West. Now that got my attention! I love tales of the old west almost as much as the Civil War era. This was the fourth and latest volume on Legends of the West. Each volume has three stories written by Bodie and Brock Thoene. I looked for volumes one through three but to no avail. So when I went to the counter to check out, I asked the clerk about the first three volumes. He said they didn’t have them, but he could order them. I put in the order without hesitation because I knew these folks could write. I was not disappointed.

Bodie and Brock have written more than forty-five books of historical fiction. They are incredible in their research of times, places and people. You have the sense that you are living with the people they write about. This couple first gained professional recognition while working as writers with John Wayne’s Batjac Productions. They enjoyed a close friendship with “The Duke,” and write about this in several of their books, particularly at the beginning of the Legends volumes. As people who are committed to their Christian faith, they share some very insightful and touching discussions they had with John Wayne about faith and a belief in Jesus.

Since finishing the Legends, I began another of their many series, The A.D. Chronicles. This series currently has eight books, all having to do with the time of Christ. The setting is Israel with all the turmoil of Roman troops occupying the Holy Land, warring Jewish factions, political backstabbing, internecine feuds and assassinations, and how the main characters get caught up in the mess. They long for a deliverer. I’m reading the first in this series entitled, First Light. I had to drop by the medical clinic this morning for a blood workup, so took my book with me to read while I waited. A young mother of four came in with her brood following behind, and seated themselves across from me. She noticed the book in my hands, smiled with the understanding that I was starting this series, and said, “That is a fantastic series!”

There are a couple of more series I’m looking forward to reading called, The Zion Covenant, and The Zion Chronicles. Due to the meticulous research by the Thoene’s, these two series are recognized by the American Library Association, as well as Zionist libraries around the world, as classic historical novels and are used to teach history in college classrooms.

With the winter months upon us, now would be a good time to begin your journey into the world of the Thoene’s!

Enjoy the adventure!

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