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Urban Angel Urban Angel

Andrew Chamberlain
ISBN 9781860244995 (1860244998)
Authentic, 2004
£6.99

Category: Fiction
Subcategory: Christian

Do you believe in angels?

If not, perhaps by the time you've read this book you will. We're not talking seven-foot tall winged warriors dressed up like Spartacus here — in fact, given the book's title, there's surprisingly little description of what this particular angel - or the demons he opposes - look like. Rather, this angel stands alongside his human charge and prays for her; and as he does so, as the other human characters involved join in with their prayers, God's power is released against the forces of evil.

This is no fairy-tale either: it's a story of real people, real situations, real temptations. As I read it I frequently found myself recognising situations I've faced myself or watched others face: there's a raw sexuality in these pages as we encounter issues of loneliness and singleness, the search for intimacy battling the lust for immediate satisfaction in desperate, driven sex. Raves and all-night clubbing. Drugs. Money, twisted relationships and power-struggles, a satanic cult, demon-possession, murder. This is street-level, urban Christianity facing reality head-on: can the Christians stand up against everything a grab-it-now, get rich at any cost culture throws at them?

It's about one Christian in particular, Alex Masters, a single young woman in her mid-twenties, and her unseen attendant, a 'guardian angel' if you like: all he knows is it's his job to keep watch, to protect her. Alex doesn't know he's there and so the action takes place on two levels: the one we're used to, that everyone can see — and another, where demons and angels are at war, an invisible, parallel reality. And when the angel takes direct action to protect her, Alex is left shaken, disorientated.

It's also about Alex's younger cousin, Daisy, a rebel with no time for God or religion. But she knows that her cousin is someone she can turn to in trouble.

Both girls are lonely, looking for love. But can love exist without betrayal? Can Alex's Christian faith take the strain of the relationships she finds herself in? Can anything break through the barriers of cynicism and despair that Daisy has constructed around herself?

Andrew Chamberlain breaks the mould for Christian fiction and Authentic, as a Christian publisher, have made a bold move in going to print with a book that pulls no punches about human sexuality, that offers no easy romance or sentimentality, that wrestles with the grit of city life and the spiritual forces at work behind the scenes.

This isn't a book to leave on your bookshelf: read it, then pass it on.

Phil Groom, April 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.

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