Often times we pick out a novel to entertain us—whether it is a suspense or romance or action. Sometimes we choose a novel to take us away, an escape from reality. Occasionally we select a novel just because we’re bored. And then again, sometimes that book unexpectedly teaches us far than we ever expected.
That’s how it was for me with Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. I had heard good things about this novel, and when I saw Rachelle Gardner of Wordserve Literary advertising a free book for those who would write a review, I jumped at the chance (who doesn’t love “free” books?).
And let me just say one thing—WOW! It has been a long time since I read a book that forced me to examine, not only myself, but deeper issues, such as the essence of Christianity, and the effect our choices have on ourselves as well as those around us.
Lost Mission parallels the stories of two sets of people—a trio of friars from the 1700s, and a trio of Christians in modern times. The two main characters (one of the friars, and a young woman in Mexico) both answer God’s calling and travel to California (well, in the friar’s time it’s still New Spain) to save souls—and everything goes wrong. Both stories begin with a quest and end in fire. I won’t tell you what kind of fire…you’ll have to read the novel.
Mr. Dickson is a phenomenal storyteller. I will admit that I did have a little trouble with the writing style at first. It had a formality to it that just wouldn’t let me relax. It took me about a week to read the first 40 pages or so. After that, though, I read it in two days. I was stunned by the twists and turns the story took.
I enjoyed the unique way he changed POVs. Each chapter began with the friar’s POV, and when it was time to switch to modern day, instead of a hard break, he took a different approach. He would ease into a sort of narrator speaking, showing how what happened in the friar’s POV reflected what was about to happen in the modern POV. It was all very intriguing.
My favorite thing about this book is the way it has stayed with me, and probably will continue to do so. He shows us how easy it is for Satan to work his way into our lives, even as Christians. It brought to light how fear and grief, as well as desperation can not only render us useless, but can lead us down a frightening path.
I could go on to list the many things I learned, or that I was reminded of, but I think that would take away some of the surprise of the book. Instead, let me offer up the book to one lucky person! Leave a comment and your email address below and a week from today, I’ll draw a winner.