T Davis Bunn
There are those who say that Christian fiction is inevitably second rate; it's clear that they haven't read T Davis Bunn or, more particularly, The Great Divide: here we have a legal thriller that's as powerfully written as anything in its genre in the secular marketplace.
A young black woman — a political activist and an American citizen — goes missing in China. Her distraught parents call on the US Government for help but find themselves up against a brick wall of bureaucracy. They then call upon Marcus Glenwood, a lawyer, for help but Glenwood is in need of help himself: his life's a wreck, his wife suing for divorce after their children were killed in a road accident when Glenwood was in the driving seat.
Glenwood steps into the fray anyway and finds himself fighting the toughest legal battle of his life and fighting for his life, quite literally as his opponents seem prepared to stop at nothing to prevent this case getting to court. Glenwood is up against New Horizons, an American megacorp whose investments and involvements in Chinese trading relations are, let's say, less than straightforward. Their attitude to the law seems to be buy it, bend it, break it, but whatever you do, beat it, and bulldoze anyone and anything that stands in your way.
But Glenwood battles on, supported by the the local black community where he's found a welcome. All the family want is their daughter safely back home. Can Glenwood deliver? Can he break through the barriers of twisted diplomatic relations and backhanded financial dealings?
More than a dramatic novel, this book deals with issues of race relations, of the human search for identity and purpose, of faith and faith betrayed and even offers some romance along the way. Finally it raises and leaves some damning question marks over the West's dealings with China, of investments tied to cheap labour and human rights violations, of abuse and injustice.
If you're a person who enjoys courtroom-based thrillers and you'd like something that offers a moral challenge with it, this is definitely one for you. You'll never read a "Made in China" label in the same way again after this.
Phil Groom, March 2005
Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.Order from www.christianbookshops.org | Order from St Andrew's Bookshops
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