Book Review | Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

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Bethany House | 2013

Somewhere along the line I failed to pay attention when I said I’d review this book. I thought I’d read somewhere that it was end times fiction and I was expecting something along the lines of Joel Rosenberg, who by the way, is about as action-y, thriller-ish as I get when it comes to the novels I read. Maybe it was just that I’d read a few good ones recently, saw a reference to the Middle East in the title, and jumped on it. Who knows? Whatever the reason for this slip, imagine my initial confusion when I found myself reading what I have since described as ‘A Christian James Bond”! Not my usual cup of tea (and being British I KNOW what tea I like and stick with it!).

It’s therefore to Bunn’s credit that this novel, which is part of a series featuring agent Marc Royce (officially labeled ‘international drama’ by Bethany House), not only engaged me enough to finish reading, but actually entertained me! Bunn has made the characters both likeable and intriguing enough, and the action close enough to events I can picture happening on the international stage, to appeal to a Jodi Picoult girl like myself, still mainaining enough action, suspense and drama to please those who enjoy a good secret agent action novel but would like the hero to be more sanctified than James Bond.

The international relations aspect to the plot is plausible, and Bunn successfully captures the contrasting cultures in which our protagonist finds himself, from an Israeli kibbutz, to a Swiss city, to an Egyptian resort. He is slow to introduce the practical nature of Royce’s faith, although it is clear all the way through that our hero is a believer. When he does, it is in such a way that I believe this series could still appeal to someone who is not a Christian or who is unsure about what they believe. There is no ‘cheese factor’ and his faith doesn’t compromise Royce’s standing as an action hero. Royce himself is clearly a character with integrity and strength but still very human with relatable struggles. In addition, I found the fight/action scenes (usually the thing that puts me off ‘action’ as a genre) to be written graphically enough that I could imagine how it would look as a movie, but not so violent that it seemed inappropriate as entertainment.

In conclusion, even though it wasn’t what I was expecting and I don’t have a plethora of books of this genre to compare it to, I can see that this is a well-written book. It will be appealing to Christians who want to make wise choices with what they consume, whilst also including enough action and political attention to appeal to the classic action novel fan. Despite not being a fan of this genre, I found it engaging and will definitely read the next in the series when it’s published to find out what happens in Royce’s personal life!

Used by permission. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.