A debut action novel focuses on a young man’s faith in the face of a morally corrupt world.
From Pedri comes protagonist David Peterson. David can kill a mountain lion with his bare hands, skin and clean a deer, and take down a grizzly bear with a hunting knife. He also knows how to prospect for gold, talk a druggie into changing his life, and argue the finer points of Roman Catholicism with anyone who dares to listen. That’s right, aside from being a hardened outdoorsman who has spent a brief period in prison, David is a devout Catholic. He also mistrusts the Drug Enforcement Administration, hates Communists, and feels an odd fondness (considering he is only 24 years old and living in the present day) for the infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy. David soon falls in love with a young beauty named Angela. Though their relationship hits some snags, they become engaged, and the two chaste partners eagerly await their wedding day. Thanks to David’s discovery of some gold, it seems their dreams may come true. But David’s dreams are hardly small. He wants to foment revolution and build an army of “true patriots.” What will become of his lofty ambitions? While David’s ruggedness could be played for some comedy, it is not. Readers are meant to take him at his word, and he is verbose indeed. For instance, it is David’s opinion that wrongdoing “comes by way of our own free choice in letting our base instincts rule over our higher reason.” David is hardly a flawed hero; he’s more of a Davy Crockett figure prone to long speeches with a lot of opinions on Vatican II. The excitement in this series opener comes in seeing David clash with the modern world. There is no telling what he will do next, no matter how outrageous it may seem to average liberal folks. But the problem is that no matter how high the metaphorical mountain to climb, readers will realize early on that David will always end up victorious. Worse, he seems to glean little from his triumphs because there is not much for him to learn. In the end, the only thing he comes away with is an even fuller sense of his own righteousness.
While this religious tale is invitingly ambitious, the perfect hero strains plausibility.