Lee Strobel is a truly gifted writer --- we already knew that. This is his first attempt at a novel. Frankly, I hope it's not his last.
The evangelical Christian publishing industry in the U.S. is mired within the miasma of telling their story in new and refreshing ways. Clearly, Strobel has leveraged his remarkable literary talent to produce an honest-to-God "page turner." His character development, dialog, story-line and the richness of the context he creates for The Ambition are well, spellbinding. It's also easy to read. Frankly, the way the book ends CLEARLY positions The Ambition as the first in a series of novels from Strobel. I honestly hope so. Strobel is a talented story-teller who deserves the opportunity to provide readers with a sequel/series...leveraging the same context and characters for future literary enjoyment.
Strobel goes to great lengths at the end of the book to reaffirm that this is a work of fiction, and has absolutely nothing to do with his term as a pastor (and former atheist) at two of the largest mega-churches in the U.S. (Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in So. Cal. and Bill Hybel's Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago --- I believe - forgive me if I've made a mistake).
Of course, the book includes fundamental evangelical issues of prayer, miracles, healing, relationships, formal membership at a church etc. Yet, don't misinterpret what I'm saying here. This is a superb novel. It is distinctly NOT proselytizing submerged within evasive evangelical rhetoric.
It's about life, lives, intrigue, living, learning, power, authority, deception, wounds, mystery, faith, mistakes, power, authority, control, shame, miscalculation, living with tension, relationships - it is a great story told by a wonderfully gifted storyteller - with a few murders thrown in to boot.
I really enjoyed it and look forward to Lee Strobel's sequel. You will too!