Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Tenth Crusader

Title: The Tenth Crusader

Series: Rick Macey Cyberthriller #2

Author: Kirk Outerbridge

Genre: Adult Cyberthriller

Excerpt from Chapter One of The Tenth Crusdaer:

One last job.

Rick Macey accessed the internal comms of his neural net as the sun-bleached hangars of the old Downey Fields complex loomed like an airport ghost town on his right. It was an hour’s drive from downtown LA, and the autonav had him arriving right on schedule for the transaction. Good timing—he wanted this deal over with.

His comms came online and spat out an e-mail from Sheila. Macey opened it, and its contents unfolded in the corner of his vision. An itinerary. One peek at the incredible destinations and already he wanted this job done. Macey closed the e-mail, isolated his comm from the net.

One last job, he thought again. One last job and I’m out of here.

A military cyborg returns to the Philippines to solve a political—or is it religious?—assassination.

Craft: Like book one (Eternity Falls), The Tenth Crusader reflects solid writing skills.

The characters are often complex, full of flaws, virtues and mixed motivations. The plot is forever twisting as allies become foes and foes allies—only to shift back unexpectedly—and the lines between good guys and bad blur. The prose is clean, servicing the story practically, even if lacking the grace I’ve come to appreciate during the past nine months of renewed reading in classic literature.

However, The Tenth Crusader seems to lack some of book one’s appeal, and the climax felt somewhat reminiscent of Eternity Falls—and therefore somewhat predictable. The end itself was incomplete and unsettled, not providing the normal pressure release, but that could be a set up for a third book.

Content: Not unexpectedly, The Tenth Crusader carries content constructed in grays as it allows the reader to wrestle with some questions with far-reaching implications. Many of these echo the “does the end justify the means” questions voiced in book one, but approaches from the direction of complacency, persecution, taking a stand for one’s faith, and living “at peace with everyone” “as far as it depends on you.” (Romans 12:18)

As for additional issues, the line between good and evil is consistently blurred; a Christian married a non-Christian (though on the positive side, the repercussions are shown); and violence is depicted in detail, though not usually dwelt-on. Finally, many strong sexual threads, implied and talked about (though again not usually shown), are found in this book, from prostitution to fornication. They’re not out of place contextually, but could be problematic for some readers.

Summary: Although I enjoyed The Tenth Crusader, it does not feel quite on par with Eternity Falls. The content is also a stronger mixed bag. Therefore I recommend strong caution, if not outright avoidance, for new Christians, those under 18 years, and anyone with sensitivities toward strong violence or sexual content. However, readers who love suspense and/or techno-type thrillers will probably find this a great read, and the questions asked could makes this a good discussion book.

Ratings: Craft—4, Content—3, Overall 3.7 out of 5 stars

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