With powerful endorsements by both a congressman (Pete King) and a well known reporter (Larry Kudow) on the cover, I was aching to get into this book. The first of Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant novels, Warrior Monk, catches your attention from page one. It reads like one of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp adventures, dishing out details and action at a fast pace. And in the midst of that action Keating manages to brilliantly present the reader with thought provoking truths, seemingly little things that aren’t pondered nearly enough, such as a note about church architecture or a relational reality particular to men who hold the pastoral office. At other times he deals with larger topics such as church doctrine and practice. As the story unfolds Keating presents the Christian faith in a real way that any reader will appreciate, exposing differences and difficulties between varying denominations and between the Church and the world without distraction. This perfect backdrop propels the protagonist, and the reader, into the challenges of the book.
It’s a spectacular ride steeped in theological intrigue! As a fan of G.K. Chesterton I delighted in the similarities between Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant and Chesterton’s Father Brown. In the 20th century, Chesterton, a journalist (among other things), gave the world a detective priest. In the 21st, another journalist (among other things), Keating, gave the world a spy-turned-pastor. Grant is not without his Flambeau either. Both characters are the perfect mouthpiece for the authors to speak to the ills of the world in their day and age.
The chapters are brief, which makes ingesting the story between the interruptions that are always working to pull this reader out of the adventure a breeze. Chapters four and five deliver the goods. I’ll never sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God the same way. What a mental picture! The fun never stops. Truly from cover to cover you’re in for a treat. I can’t wait to dive into the next Pastor Stephen Grant novel.