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Feast for Thieves: A Rowdy Slater Novel Paperback – September 1, 2014
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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This debut historical novel from Brotherton, who has written many nonfiction titles about war veterans (We Who Are Alive and Remain), was inspired by the true story of a paratrooper named Wayne “Skinny” Sisk in Easy Company, featured in the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. An “incorrigible” man, Rowdy Slater, becomes a preacher after the war. His first sermon is a disaster, but one line summarizes his insight: “If God could care for a ruffian like Cain, even with everywhere he’d been and with all the wrong he’d done, then I reckon God could care for someone like me.” Rowdy’s story unfolds with satisfying unpredictability, offering plot twists that would be unbelievable if not for strong motivations that encourage suspension of disbelief. The two loves of Rowdy’s life are one of many surprises. Dialogue is colloquial and historically rooted, as in Twain’s Huck Finn. The short novel is packed with action, intrigue, and scoundrels who have Rowdy over a barrel. Readers will want to find out exactly how the unlikely hero is going to escape yet another predicament. - Publishers Weekly, 7/11/14
Highly recommended! A hard-edged and well-crafted novel, with surreptitiously smart prose, confident plotting, and characters you feel you know. - Michelle Burford, founding senior features editor of O, the Oprah Magazine
Feast for Thieves is smart, gritty, and inforgettable. Filled with calamity and humor, this book is a hands-down winner. It's about time veteran writer Marcus Brotherton added his powerful voice to fiction. His writing voice is superb. - Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Book of Mortals series
An exhilarating story told in a neo-Western genre, of all things. Masterful and riveting, humorous yet poignant. Anyone who enjoys books by Ted Dekker, Randy Alcorn, or Leif Enger will enjoy every story woven by Marcus Brotherton. This unique and page-turning adventure will harvest a whole new fold of fans. - Julie Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Free
Part Band of Brothers, part True Grit, this is the rollicking tale of a wartime hero's fight to find his place in a post-war world. Rich with action, Feast for Thieves is cinematic storytelling at its best. - Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call
As a great admirer of Marcus Brotherton's nonfiction work, I was eager to dive into his debut novel. Feast for Thieves does not disappoint. From the first page, Rowdy Slater emerges as a character to root for, complete with flaws, charm, and an unshakeable conscience. I enjoyed this story from beginning to end, a wonderful tale of redemption that will leave readers hoping for a sequel. - Kristina McMorris, bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep
A gutsy, never-preachy story filled with massive redemptive undercurrents. Why read this? Ultimately it's a book of hope, and it shows how anyone's heart can be changed. - Matt Carter, lead pastor, Austin Stone Community Church, Texas, and coauthor of The Real Win
Marcus Brotherton has crafted more than a rousing story here. He's created characters who leap off the page and a small corner of the world you can lose yourself inside, all held together with stirring prose. I really enjoyed this book. - Billy Coffey, bestselling author of The Devil Walks in Mattingly
This story is a delight. There is a strong sense of literary quality here, combined with a remarkably unique redemptive message. The characters are real, the descriptions potent, and the force of a good story well told is strong throughout Highly recommended. - Davis Bunn, bestselling novelist, writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University
From the Back Cover
Preaching or prison. An impossible choice for a man who usually solves his problems with a rifle or his fists.
Sergeant Rowdy Slater was the most incorrigible paratrooper in Dog Company during World War II. But after the war, when Rowdy robs a bank with the black-hearted Crazy Ake, he vows to turn his life around. The lawman, suspicious that Rowdy’s confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail. Rowdy’s choice? Preaching at the community church in Cut Eye, Texas, at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.
At first the job seemed easy, particularly since Rowdy took over for the willowy female missionary who held the church together while the men were at war. But when Crazy Ake shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared and is forced to make a deadly choice.
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As a WWII veteran who is a little rough around the edges (to say the least), Rowdy Slater is essentially forced into life as a preacher. As the wife of a pastor, it is somewhat difficult for me to imagine a realistic scenario in which someone enters the ministry against his will; however, somehow Rowdy's story seems to make sense. Although we like to think that we always act with honorable motivations, Rowdy teaches us that sometimes our heart follows after we make the correct choice out of a sense of duty or obedience. Themes of forgiveness and mercy are pervasive as Rowdy makes his choices in life and we witness the results and watch his heart change. Getting to know Rowdy also reminds us that everyone has a story behind their actions and that sometimes we judge others for what they do without realizing that they may be coming from a place of pain and loss. We're all in need of "the good meal" that Rowdy is looking for.
In addition to the dynamic character of Rowdy, the book features well-developed minor characters and a strong plot. The themes are thought-provoking, and the novel is written in a manner that is fast-paced and entertaining. Colorful language helped me visualize the setting and, most notably, the lavish descriptions of food throughout the story clearly made me understand why "feast" was an apt word to include in the title! I appreciated Brotherton's notes regarding his choice to use dialect as a narrative device and especially enjoyed reading about the real-life paratrooper-turned-preacher who inspired the character of Rowdy.
I certainly hope there will be more Rowdy Slater books to follow!
However when he first announced he would write a fiction novel, i thought ok, i wish him all the best but i wondered how difficult it would be to write fiction compared to his usual work, myself i am not an author or writer of any kind so i am sure it is much more difficult than even what i imagine.
On first hearing of the synopsis of the story i was a little unsure i would enjoy it as the main themes were of no real interest to me, but i bought the kindle book to give it a go and show Marcus a bit of support, as some of the entries in his blog have been helpful for certain aspects of my life.
I found myself getting in to the story early on and liking the characters and eager to read it through to see what happened next. Now that i have completed it, i really enjoyed it and look forward to another installment of Rowdy Slater's adventures.
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Shannon van roekel--author of Desert Fire