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The Church Builder: A Novel (The Church Builder Series) Paperback – July 8, 2014
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'The Church Builder is a roller-coaster ride of plot twists and surprises, written with awe-inspiring skill.' - Terri Blackstock, New York Times bestselling author of Intervention and Truth Stained Lies 'Outstanding. Riveting and disturbing in equal measure. The Church Builder illuminates the battle between church and those that wish to crush it with gripping force. Highly recommended.' - Davis Bunn, bestselling author of The Book of Hours 'Don't miss this provocative tale by a craftsman at the top of his game. Besides being riveted and entertained, you will be challenged by The Church Builder to think in new ways.' - Jerry B. Jenkins, novelist and biographer. Owner, Christian Writers Guild 'Serpents. Sin...and Redemption. The Church Builder has it all. I love this book. Bethany is my kind of superhero: smart, compassionate, and oh so wise.' - Lis Wiehl, New York Times bestselling author and FOX News Legal Analyst --Terri Blackstock, Davis Bunn, Jerry B. Jenkins, Lis Wiehl
About the Author
A. L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for thirty years. He is also the author of seven acclaimed works of nonfiction and five best-selling novels. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), spent eleven weeks on the New York Times best seller list.
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This first novel of A.L.Shields (Stephen L. Carter, Professor of Law at Yale) is going to carry on in a wonderful series. The plot revolves around two secret societies opposing each other while involved in a religious battle. There is a wide variety of characters that is hard to know who is good and who is evil. The story moves at a fast pace which at times it is hard to keep the characters straight.It is a roller coaster ride with lots of twists and turns. The book is full of evil and good. The problem is, how do you know which is which?
Now we have two deaths. Six months ago, Bethany Barclay's best friend was murdered. Bethany now finds the body of her ex-boyfriend on the floor of her home. Alongside him is her gun. Her friend Annabelle had told Bethany something before she died. On the wall is painted a strange symbol that reminds her of what Annabelle had said. Bethany thinks the two murders are related but the police think she is the killer. She knows she must find the connection to the two murders but she must get away so she runs. On top of the murders she is now linked with a bombing. Can things get any worse? Bethany realizes she has been set up and there are several groups after her. One group is composed of individuals whose leader is the Builder. This group called The Garden are trying to protect the Church and the right to religion. Then we have the Wilderness who are just as determined to destroy religious faith. Why are they chasing Bethany? What has she done? Does she know something that they want or need? Bethany becomes involved in the fight between The Garden and the Wilderness. Does she have anyone to turn to? Her best friend and her ex-boyfriend are dead. Where does she go now? She is trying to come to terms with her beliefs and her own character. She heads first to Chicago. What happens next is in your hands. The book goes against the norm for fiction. There is a distinct point of view, between past and present. I didn't quite understand why but it didn't change the way I felt about reading the book. If you are interested in fast paced, mystery, and conflict you will definitely like this book. It may make you step back and reflect on your own beliefs.
I would give this book 4 STARS.
I was given a complimentary copy of THE CHURCH BUILDER from the author A.L.Shields for my uncompensated review.
Honestly, it was the cover of this book that first intrigued me. After reading the brief description, I realized it was definitely a book I’d be interested in.
The Church Builder follows Bethany Barclay, a lawyer in a small town. However, despite her profession, this is not a court room drama. Rather, she gets pulled into a large conspiracy. She discovers her ex-boyfriend dead with a strange symbol near her. She believes the symbol relates to the murder of best friend, Annabelle, and flees, causing the FBI to label her as the main suspect. While on the run, Bethany is watched by two organizations, one bent on destroying religious faith, the other trying to save the church. As Bethany falls deeper into the conspiracy, she begins to wonder if she can truly trust anyone.
After an exciting opening, The Church Builder never seems to let up, with Shields keeping his foot on the gas through most of the story. Twists and turns come frequently. While this helps keep the story moving, there are times I kept mixing up characters because of how infrequently the appeared.
I found Bethany to be a strong and well-rounded character, but didn’t always connect with all of the supporting characters. Some of them felt a little too exaggerated while others felt underdeveloped. I also found myself growing a bit bored with the story when I reached the halfway point of the book. Despite the twists and turns, they did not consistently keep my attention. Additionally, while I thought Bethany was well developed, I also did not always find her interesting. I would have loved to see more done with the secret organizations, as they often received too little page time. On occasion I thought there was too much unnecessary or redundant detail for the main story and would much rather have seen attention spent on supporting characters.
By time I finished the book I thought it was average. It started strong and did keep up a reasonable pace. However, the characters I thought had the most promise were not used much and the story was longer than needed.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan as part of the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Most recent customer reviews
The Christian themes are subtle, It is a story that you may not see as a "christian book.Read more