Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This Week From CFBA
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally. To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within. Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
IT'S BEEN 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING...PREPARE TO BE ILLUMINATED...August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful, hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles. It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out. If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure. The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.
"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11." -Aspiring Retail Magazine
MY REVIEW: I was very excited about the premise for this novel. After reading it, I felt the book delivered on some of its promises, and fell short on some others. The research is excellent, but sometimes the pace of the story slowed for an information dump on ancient manuscripts. Some plot threads led to nowhere, and the characterization felt light. It felt like, in an effort to be action-packed, setting, emotion, and description were sacrificed. I didn't get a definite spiritual message from this story.
On the upside, the book is entertaining, the action moves swiftly, and the star of the show is a precocious child with the mind of a wizard. There are several visual aids in the text of the illuminations under examination that are very helpful in following the story. I am hoping subsequent books in this series feature these same characters, as I would like to get to know them better than I did in the first book.