OK, here are the blog reviews. There were seven entrants -- and thank you so much, entrants, for taking the time and effort to do this! It means more to me than you might think.
The rules to determine the winner are as follows:
Winner of this contest is determined solely by blog vote. ANYONE visiting this blog is invited to vote, whether or not you've entered the contest. There is only one vote per person, so get as many friends as you can to visit!
Voting period lasts from Sunday September 21st through Tuesday September 30th. Winner will be declared on Wednesday October 1st on this blog, and I will also send email notifications to all entrants of the contest. My determination of winner based on blog vote is final.
You can read about the contest announcement by going to the link here.
I'm placing the entries on this blog in the order that they were received.
Trumpet fanfare please...
With a voice loud enough, and a place to stand, singlehandedly one can win thousands of souls.
Rating: Five stars.
If you are an unbeliever, this book will challenge your unbelief.
If you are a believer, it will challenge your witness.
The premise of this novel is simple enough. As the UN extends its dominance over all the world, one violent hot spot remains: the Republic of Israel. Surrounded on all sides by bitter enemies, Israel would like nothing better than to sign a treaty bringing it under the protection of what is now the superpower of the world. The problem is not with the Muslims; the UN seems to have them well in hand. The problem is with fanatical followers of an ancient Way of thinking that has from its inception threatened the entire intellectual foundations of Israel's national religion, Judaism. The founder of that Way was an itinerant preacher calling himself Yeshua Ha'Maschiach, who made the absurd and blasphemous claim that he was none other than the son of God. For that he was put to death by crucifixion and then buried--but three days after that, his tomb was empty, his body obviously stolen.
Or was it? Since that day, followers of the Way have insisted that Yeshua actually rose from the dead. Today those followers insist that the UN treaty is a pact with a minion of the devil, and that Israel signs it at her peril. Moreover the following of the Way continues to grow, and in Israel itself that following is so great that the country risks national embarrassment and possibly a loss of the UN's protection. So the Israel Defense Forces must undertake a desperate mission: they will send a team of scouts back into time to watch, and record, the theft of Yeshua's body from his tomb.
But the UN, or at least its Secretary-General, has his own agenda. He does not want this mission to go forward until Israel must decide, one way or another, about the treaty. And he will stop at nothing, even sabotage and murder, to foil that mission.
Students of the Bible, both Christians and Jews, will easily recognize the Way for what it actually is, and the ancient term for the Way that St. Luke used in his book of Acts. Students of "the last things" will also recognize the role of the UN, and will understand when the author portrays the UN as somewhat less than friendly to most people's ideals of world peace and harmony. And even a physicist is likely to accept Deardon's proposed time machine as theoretically possible. Deardon is necessarily short on the engineering details that would be required to make time travel real. But she includes enough detail, even to the astronomical and archaeological dating that time scouts would have to use to figure out "when" they were, to make the reader believe that such a mission could happen.
More importantly, Deardon takes us into the mind of a skeptic the way few Christian writers achieve. This is partly because she was a skeptic, and became convinced to "follow the Way" after reviewing the historical evidence. One of her characters in fact follows a path quite similar to Deardon's own.
But A Lever Long Enough does not provide facile answers. Deardon does not browbeat her readers with her insights, nor turn Jesus Christ into Deus ex Machina. She clearly wants her readers to reach the same conclusion she did, on their own. The novel even ends in an uncertain way, as if to say, "I have laid out the evidence. Now you decide."
How many Christians, in bearing witness to others, have forgotten that what seems obvious to them is definitely not obvious to someone else? Amy Deardon shows us how a non-Christian thinks, something that any
Christian must understand if he has any hope of persuading such a person to "follow the Way."
Whether you are Christian or not, you cannot remain the same person after you have read a novel like A Lever Long Enough that you were before. Thus her novel succeeds in a "way" that is the most meaningful in which any author can succeed.
I found A Lever Long Enough intense and thought provoking. The action in the future Israel and ancient Israel is a study in contrast. Good and Evil are still at war, but over time technology has changed the weapons. The results are the same - weapons causing harm and death.
The main story is the Flashback project. Since the project's objective is to disprove one of Christianity's main tenets - Easter, Christians were forbidden to take part.
This proves to be a bit of a problem for some of the crew who are studying to go back to Jesus time. Facts are facts; you either deny the evidence or accept the consequences of agreeing with the Truth. While the characters struggle in both ancient and future Israel, someone is looking for them to slip up.
Amy Deardon did a great job making the new and old seem real. She has included some interesting twists. She shows effectively how for centuries politicians have tried to control Christianity by discrediting Jesus' resurrection and punishing Jesus' followers.
I'm looking forward to her next book.
"A History Lover”
A promising debut
Rating: 4 stars
I’ve always loved a good villain, and Amy Deardon has created one so cold-blooded and treacherous that he’s sure to compel the interest of readers. Fans of military suspense will love the clever plot twists that keep the novel spinning to a satisfying conclusion.
The author’s concept is intriguing, and her historical research very thorough. I’m also impressed by her ability to handle a plot about faith without succumbing to pat solutions or didactic bias.
"A History Lover"
Lever Long Enough: On the third day, did Jesus actually rise from the dead? Ms. Deardon took a long look at this concept, and decided to do in-depth research. She takes her research material presents it as a well done, fictional, mystery novel. This is not a religious novel, but is an entertaining concept it time travel.
Her story immediately captures your interest, and keeps it captive untill the very last chapter. The characters are well defined, and believable. The story line is crisp, and clear. She takes you from the present and smoothly transports you back to the first century.
A team of scientists travel back to the first century to save Israel, but they only have 72 hours to find the evidence they need.
Her writing skills are so good that you can actually 'hear' the words, 'see' the action, and feel the time running out.
Yes, you will enjoy reading this
I'll admit it right now: I don't normally enjoy reading "Christian fiction." I find the characters to be too unrealistic, and I find that the plots wrap up too neatly. In a word, most Christian fiction seems to be nothing more than preaching to the choir.
That is why Amy Deardon's debut novel, A Lever Long Enough, is such a treat. This ambitious tale combines romance, science fiction, and apologetics into a fast-paced story that is, in the final analysis, a fun read. The apologetic at the heart of the story is a factual exploration of the (pretty much universally accepted) facts surrounding the death, burial, and alleged resurrection of one Jesus of Nazareth.
The story does not resort to miracles or "road to Emmaus" style sightings to get the reader thinking. Instead, only decidedly non-supernatural facts are used, and the reader is required to make his own conclusions. Deardon never hits the reader over the head with manipulative or sentimental arguments. The science fiction device of the time machine and the political intrigue that drives the plot are really secondary to the personal narrative of the well-developed characters, who never seem to be plastic or unrealistic at all. And best of all, there is no big "conversion" scene at the end.
Ultimately, what makes a novel "good" is the storytelling. That is why I enjoyed "Lever," and I think you will, too.
Rating: Five Stars
A Lever Long Enough fuses strands of intrigue, inventive technology, romance, and religion into an explosive read. Benjamin and Sara enter the story as part of the team leading project FlashBack, a mission into the past to disprove the Resurrection. Sabotage only days before the launch date ratchets up the tension of the mission, a tension that builds once Flashback begins to reveal the secrets of the past. Throughout the mission Sara and Benjamin endure a journey that changes their feelings for each other and rocks the foundations of their faith. This story will drag readers into the past along with Benjamin and Sara, a past that comes
alive through Deardon’s meticulous research and vivid description. I give this stunning first novel five stars!
100% Adventure, No Filler
If you have a lever long enough, you may be able to propel yourself into another century. Perhaps even back to the days of the New Testament. If you prefer, as I do, to time travel by reading a good book, pick up a copy of Amy Deardon's debut novel, A Lever Long Enough.
This book is 100% adventure, no filler. A well-researched premise, fast-paced plot, and complex, deeply motivated characters will keep you turning the pages. You'll be sorry to reach the end. (Thankfully, Deardon is working on a sequel.)
Protagonist Benjamin Finan heads up a crew of Israeli scientists sent back in time to investigate the resurrection of Christ. The time travel sequence and first century lifestyle descriptions are captivating, and the adventure unfolds seamlessly in both real and past time, reaching a breathless conclusion. In the end, Finan uncovers truths that are life changing.
Evidently, the research to write her story was life changing for Deardon, as well. Once a skeptic who set out to discount the credibility of Christianity, she not only became a believer, but an apologist for the Gospel. "Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can move the Earth" is the famous Archimedes quote. Deardon has found a firm place to stand to move her readers with a fast-paced and hope-filled story.
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Time and Place
9 hours ago