I am so glad to see Christian publishers producing more speculative fiction. Maybe the voices of readers looking for more Christian SFF/speculative fiction are starting to be heard. And that’s a very good thing.
Mike Duran’s new book is the perfect example of what we’ve been waiting for. A reluctant prophet, supernatural/spiritual warfare, and an interesting set of characters round out this story to make a fun read. What’s it about? Never thought you’d ask.
Zeph Walker (who really hates being called Zephaniah) is a wounded warrior — and a discouraged one at that. Battered down by life, he hides away in seclusion, having as little contact as possible with the townspeople. His reasons for that barely begin with the scar that has disfigured his face. “Zipperface,” some call him and the emotional wounds caused by their cruelty are only a small portion of the hurt he feels deep inside.
[pullquote]But when God wants us to fulfill a certain destiny, he won’t rest until we come around. It is no different for Zeph. Enter the mythical ninth gate of Hell.[/pullquote]
It seems he was never free to run his own life, which was rigorously controlled first by his mother, then his stepmother. With little involvement from his dad, he felt abandoned when his mother died.
You see, he was born with the gift of prophecy. As a young boy, crowds would flock to church meetings to see the young prodigy and the next miracle that he would perform. But then life’s cruelties set in and Zeph abandoned his gift and distanced himself as far away from it as possible, even to the point of telling God he’d had enough and wanted no part of it any longer.
But when God wants us to fulfill a certain destiny, he won’t rest until we come around. It is no different for Zeph. Enter the mythical ninth gate of Hell.
Surrounded by urban legend, many people fear the site for good reason. Early miners had unearthed a subterranean site haunted by evil spiritual forces and it seems that Zeph’s renunciation of his gift has only made things worse. His words have unlocked hideous, deadly forces that would stop at nothing to destroy mankind. And yet, in despair, he doubts there is anything he can do. So the battle begins.
I truly enjoyed this book. Mike has a style of writing that is all his own. For me, the suspense of the plot was compounded by the emotions of the characters, swirling the tension up like a tornado until I had a very difficult time putting the book down before I finished it. If you like spiritual warfare books, I strongly recommend this one. I’m so glad it was selected for the CSFF blog tour. Well worth the read.
I’m sure other bloggers on the tour have much more to add to the discussion. Here on my main web page (http://fantasyandfaith.com for those of you receiving this via email) you can find a list of the participating CSFF bloggers on the sidebar to the right. I encourage you to check them out. There are some great discussions going on.
Meanwhile, for more on Mike Duran and his new book, here are a few links: