Archive for the ‘Davis Bunn’s Novels’ Category

‘Arm-Chair Action and Suspense,’ Say ‘Strait of Hormuz’ Readers

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Strait of HormuzI love the variety of reader reviews I’ve received for Strait of Hormuz. Today’s reviewers are:

  1. Steve Hilton
  2. Renee Ann Smith
  3. Daniel Leonard

I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review.

Arm-Chair Action

By Steve Hilton, Doc’s Doin’s blog

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV)

A lesson which Marc Royce and Kitra Korban must re-learn if they are to survive.

In this installment of the Marc Royce adventure series, the story which began with Lion of Babylon and continued in Rare Earth finds an emotional and spiritual conclusion.

Marc, Kitra and a multinational, ethnically diverse cadre of supporters strive to match wits with a determined enemy adept at sabotage, subterfuge, and misdirection.  Racing against time, struggling to overcome insurmountable odds, and battling the enemies both external and internal, the team draws courage and confidence from the most powerful force the world will ever experience:  intercessory prayer.

While written as suspense fiction, author Davis Bunn shines the light of faith on the meta-narrative; the story which lies beneath the story.  Timeless truths are skillfully woven throughout, reminding the reader of two spiritual principles that should be rehearsed before getting out of bed in the morning, or retiring to bed at the end of the day:

1.   There is an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God who is still ruling the universe.

2.   You are not He.

5 stars for hours of arm-chair action and suspense pleasure.

Page Turner with Heart

By Renee Ann Smith, Doorkeeper blog

When you pick up a Davis Bunn novel, you’re guaranteed to be swept away on an exotic adventure!

In his latest thriller, you’ll join Marc Royce and Kitra Korban as they investigate Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point.

Marc is the State Department’s best-kept secret.

Kitra runs a kibbutz and occasionally helps the Mossad.

Kitra shows up in Switzerland just in time to save Marc from a set-up. In response, Marc throws her into a lake to keep her out of harm’s way—ruining the first designer suit she’s ever owned. So the story tension is set on high . . .

And the fact that Marc and Kitra are in love and trying to deny it, only adds to the fun.

What I liked best:

  • Action that begins right away—a bombing in the first chapter.
  • Strong, smart women who are vital to the plot
  • Exotic locations.
  • Danger.
  • Excitement.
  • The beauty of a relationship built on faith when Marc asks Kitra to meet each morning and pray about God’s will for their future.

Straight Into A Gripping Story

By Daniel Leonard, GoodReads

Davis Bunn has done it again; he’s written a book whose characters have captured my head and my heart.

Bunn’s pacing is spot on: just as I’m intuitively wanting more action, the story picks up, and just when I’m hoping the characters get to rest (so I can rest too!), a respite is given. A well-paced story is a pleasure to read.

Well done, Davis, well done. You are a man that knows how to distill many human cultures, in much of their misery, glory and beauty, into a fascinating tale that instructs, breathes life and satisfies the human longing for a wonderful adventure in the worlds of our mind, soul and spirit.

Readers Reflect on Marc Royce Series Finale

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Strait of HormuzToday, four readers of Strait of Hormuz reflect on the series finale. I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review. Today’s reviewers are:

  1. Michelle Rayburn
  2. Marjorie Vawter
  3. Charity Lyman
  4. Jill St. Clair

Tastefully Written Thriller

By Michelle Rayburn, Faith, Creativity, Life blog

Are you looking for adventure?

I have followed fictional character Marc Royce through Iraq and Africa, and now through Switzerland, and in true Davis Bunn style, the journey didn’t disappoint.

This third book in the series continues with agent Marc Royce working on a covert mission for the U.S. State Department in Geneva, Switzerland. For readers who haven’t read the first two books, Strait of Hormuz contains enough back story to pick up without feeling lost, but I highly recommend the first two books, simply because it adds to the depth of the characters who reappear in this book.

I’m a fan of Davis Bunn mostly because he has drawn me into a genre that isn’t typically my style. How? He does action, danger, and even violence so tastefully that my mind can fill in the details needed, without having every gory detail painted on the page. This book has its share of mystery, danger, gunfire, and betrayal, which kept a fast pace for readers who like action. It also has a softer, more relational theme, which brought balance to the plot.

There are several threads that don’t seem to connect until near the end of the book. I enjoy that mystery. Royce is on assignment that begins with an explosion in an art gallery, and ends with, well, of course I won’t tell you how it ends. It had plenty of intrigue to keep me hooked all the way to the end. I like how Bunn weaves a faith element into the story line without it feeling pasted in. In this book, I learned something about Messianic believers without it seeming like a history lesson.

There were several aspects of this story that would make it suitable for the big screen, and I’d be thrilled to see that happen. The ongoing action, an attack from a mysterious motorcade, an assassination attempt, a chilling scene where Royce and his team encounter a vessel on the Red Sea, the multilayered relationships of Royce and his team, wondering if any of them was a mole, and much more. It was one of those books that played like a movie as I read.

I love that this and Davis Bunn’s other books have the potential for a broad male and female audience.  The trilogy makes a great gift for the reader who likes a tastefully done thriller.

Fantastic finale

By Marjorie Vawter, The Writer’s Tool blog

Wow! What a fantastic finale to the Marc Royce Adventure series! Strait of Hormuz is nonstop heart-pounding action from start to finish.

Sometimes in series’ fiction, the main characters tend to stagnate after the initial book, but Davis Bunn doesn’t allow his characters sit back on what they learned in the previous adventures. They continue to grow and in spite of heartbreak or looking death in the face over and over, they grow in self-knowledge and toward the Lord, the acknowledged source of life and purpose.

The author continues to show his understanding of the unity believers have in Christ, a unity that surpasses ethnic differences and long-ingrained hostility. For Kitra and Marc, this means not hiding their faith, even when it means putting their lives on the line.

The plot line of Strait of Hormuz comes straight from today’s headlines in every newscast and newspaper. Learning to distinguish between friends and foes is essential to Marc’s staying alive to protect the ones he loves most. The Marc Royce Adventure series is one I can highly recommend, including Strait of Hormuz.

Excellent finale to the Marc Royce series

By Charity Lyman, Giveaway Lady blog

…One of my favorite aspects with a book by Davis Bunn is how he mixes Christianity in a novel without making it offensive. The main character is a Christian, but he isn’t pushy about it. They have real life struggles (okay, Marc is a little above the ordinary but that makes him pretty good in my book), personal battles and you see how they work through them.

Marc Royce trilogy will NOT end here!

By Jill St. Clair, Amazon

I am always impressed with the attachment I form to Davis Bunn’s characters, and Strait of Hormuz did not disappoint.

The plot is rapt with terrorism and geo-political espionage surrounding the all too real volatility of Jewish/Christian/Islam clash in the Mid-East. Every aspect of the story was particularly well researched and dense with local flavors of multiple countries, cultures and religions. Yet, that information flowed weightlessly around non-stop action to form a realistic backdrop, not coming across as contrived or intentional.

I found it refreshing to read about characters guided by integrity and deep faith instead of personal gain or accolades. This book has it all, intrigue, suspense, technology, politics, spirituality and romance.

Strait of Hormuz: Straight to the Heart

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Strait of HormuzToday, I’m sharing four superbly-written blog reviews of Strait of Hormuz. I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review. Today’s reviewers are:

  1. Laura Lee Groves
  2. Rick Estep
  3. Mary Ann Esque
  4. Sharon Steele

Strait of Hormuz… straight to the heart!

By Laura Lee Groves, Outnumbered Mom blog

This book is the third in the Marc Royce adventures, and I can tell you, it does NOT disappoint. I don’t know how Davis Bunn has managed to hook me on books whose subjects are not my first love, but he has. My guess is it’s the creation of the protagonist, Marc Royce.

Royce is flawed, but strong. In Rare Earth, his decision to walk away from a young lady, Kitra, was heartbreaking and compelling. And now, in Strait of Hormuz, Royce finds himself knee-deep in a clandestine operation, only to discover that the Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on him. And (as the book’s back cover says) it’s someone Royce knows…

The tension surrounding Marc and Kitra is engrossing, but as all of Davis Bunn’s books, this one displays an even more compelling and thought-provoking theme. I have never read a Bunn book without learning something, and this one opened my eyes even more to the missionary church movement.

Strait of Hormuz goes straight to the heart—for more reasons than one.

Review from a man’s perspective

By Rick Estep, Rick’s Readings blog

…Are there really nuclear weapons being shipped through the Strait?  What is the final target of the terrorists?  Who is providing help to Marc along the way?  Are these people friends or foes?  Begin your own undercover op when you BUY THE BOOK!!!

Mr. Bunn provides us with a fitting end to this great series.  While the body-count and action scenes aren’t as plentiful as in the first couple of books, there is still a great story-line that is easy to follow.  The character of Marc Royce continues to be a very godly man, using his spirituality to help in his decision making throughout the different situations in the book.  I appreciate seeing how a “manly man” can still be humbled before God and drawn to a personal relationship with Him.

Is this a “guy’s book”?  This is a tremendous book with foreign governments, terrorists, global travels and more.  With the addition of seeing a strong man bring his faith to his daily walk, this book is definitely a “guy’s book.”

Marc Royce is back with an adventure you don’t want to miss!

By Mary Ann Esque, Reflections of Radiance blog

Marc Royce, our favorite intelligence operative, is back with a story that is alternately heart-pounding and thought-provoking. From the luxurious and breathtaking beauty of Switzerland to the desert allure of the Sinai Peninsula to adventure on the high seas, Marc finds himself pursuing a mission that appears to be nothing short of impossible.

The opposition is formidable, and failure is not an option. Once again, Marc finds himself with an unlikely group of allies in a race against the clock. With intriguing characters, rich faith themes, and incredible suspense, Marc Royce’s latest adventure is well worth your time to read.

Though this is a work of fiction and a superb one at that, I find it is the faith theme that is the most memorable part of this book. It can be summed up with one word – surrender. All too often, we as believers set out trying to make our dreams and plans happen. In so doing, we leave no room for our Heavenly Father to work.

Is it any wonder that we find ourselves as hurt as Kitra Korban is when her relationship with Marc fails because she tried to make him do what she wanted? Trying to manipulate people and circumstances never has and never will work because God moves on His timetable, not ours. We have to surrender to His plans and purposes for our life and trust Him for the dreams we carry inside us.

Marc and Kitra surrender the dreams and goals they have for themselves to the Father, and they found that He had some God-sized dreams for them, dreams that they could not have dreamt up on their own.

On the five point scale with 1 being awful and 5 being amazing, I’d rate this book as five stars. This is a book that stayed with me long after I had read the final page.

Tense action, but not excessively gory

By Sharon Steele

…Bunn skillfully weaves themes of forgiveness, faith, and unity into each of the books.

Strait of Hormuz is a fast-paced action thriller. From bombs exploding in the first chapter to gun-fire battles, and high speed chases in a red Ferrari, it is non-stop action and mystery. Nine nuclear bombs have gone missing from North Korea and seem to be on their way to Iran. Mark and his team must discern the true threat and prevent an international incident which would likely lead to war. The key players use a mixture of skill, intuition, prayer, and godly intervention to thwart the devilish intentions of a very sophisticated group of terrorists.

Interwoven into the story is the romance between Mark and Kitra—a romance that honors God, yet leaves you guessing as to the outcome until the final pages.

Strait of Hormuz has intense action, lots of excitement and tension without excessively gory details. It has gentle romance without smutty sex scenes, and throughout it portrays Christian values. I enjoyed it and if you like adventure stories, you will too.

Eagle-Eyed Readers Spot Errors in My Books

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Rare Earth by Davis BunnBrian writes: 

I recently read Rare Earth. Overall I enjoyed it, and it was great to read a strong Christian hero novel.

I have spent a great deal of time in Kenya, and am married to a Luo. I was a little surprised at some of the inaccuracies in giving the Luo stories, in some of the language confusion (Yebo of course being Zulu), and the overstatement of the dangers of Kenya, Nairobi, and even Kibera. Of course there is the chance of being robbed, but other than that, I and so many others love walking the streets of Nairobi, and have wonderful ministry in Kibera.

I run a disaster response organization, and have traveled fairly extensively. One of my great concerns is this fear, particularly within the Missions community. Over and over I meet missionaries that do live in this kind of fear, and in complete isolation from the culture, and particularly the genuine strength and beauty in so many local churches.

Thank you for the writing you are doing, and I hope to read other books of yours in the future. If you are ever back in Kenya and want to find the joy of the streets and in Kibera please let me know, and I can connect you with various in-laws and Christian Kenyans who can take you around the city and the slums.

Dear Brian,

It was great to hear from someone with your background, and to learn that despite the areas of disagreement you still enjoyed the tale. I realize that many people who travel, work, and serve in these areas do so with complete safety. But everything I used as action scenes were in fact taken from real-life incidences.

It is also important to remember that this was a suspense drama. Just like people do not expect to be attacked on the streets of Washington after seeing a film about espionage, so too is it important to understand the emotive structure of a novel.

 UnlimitedBookCover788x1200Pat writes: 

I am an avid fan of yours and have read almost every book you’ve written. Currently I’m reading Unlimited.

A little disappointed though that some Spanish words/customs were not checked and are incorrect. “Padron” is not a word in Spanish. It is Patrón ( with an accent on the “o”) and it means boss or chief.

Also, OJ as an abbreviation is awkward to say in Spanish but “Oji” would have been a good choice.

I will happily send along other ideas if you’re interested. Since I’m a native speaker and a Spanish teacher with a Ph.D., I’m well qualified!

As always, I’m enjoying your style and wit!

Dear Pat, 

While I’m indeed very glad that you enjoyed the story, I am so sorry to learn of the errors you discovered in the script. Because I do not speak Spanish (German, Italian, some French), I entrusted the manuscript to proofreaders.

As always we do still come across issues at the published state that we wish had been found earlier. But ‘patron’ will most certainly be altered.

As for the ‘OJ’ issue, on this point I can assure you that the locals do indeed refer to their home town in this manner, actually using the English way of saying the letters.

This entire project was a learning experience for me. I left the US and North America for Europe and then Africa when I was twenty, and have not traveled Mexico, Central or South America.  Everything you find in this story comes from people who have lived and worked there all their lives, including a number of amazing new friends who have managed to survive the current difficulties in Juarez.

In any case, I thank you for writing, and am grateful for the keen eye you showed to the text.

Is Fiction Stranger Than Truth?

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Strait of HormuzToday, I’m sharing another round of excerpts from reader reviews of Strait of Hormuz. I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review. Today’s reviewers are:

  1. Samuel Hall
  2. Mary Arndt
  3. Debbie Phillips
  4. Cynde Suite
  5. Gene Mumau
  6. Pamela Morrisson
  7. Dennis Brooke
  8. Lydia Blow

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction

By Samuel Hall

Davis Bunn keeps his hand on the throttle throughout our ride into Strait of Hormuz.

Marc Royce, an intelligence operative from Bunn’s earlier Kenya story, Rare Earth, is in Geneva, Switzerland for the first time ever. Royce is without backup, without a job (he’s just been fired), and without a gun (Swiss security), yet he’s about to enter an art gallery by “request” of the U.S. government to copy files which hold information of vital national importance.

His arrival is anticipated. The gallery has just been broken into and a bloodstained body on the floor draws him to the precise location to trigger a bomb. A suspected leak in U.S. intelligence dictated that Swiss intelligence not be informed of Marc’s mission. Coincidentally, Kitra Korban, a lovely distraction from Marc’s exploits in Kenya, arrives at the gallery at that moment with the express purpose of saving his hide.

That all happens within the first eight pages…

High-energy thriller

By Mary Arndt, Goodreads

Davis Bunn did an excellent job developing authentic characters and a thrilling plot. Strait of Hormuz is easy to read, keeping you on the edge of your seat excitedly waiting to see what will happen next. Bunn uses a great mixture of excitement, romance, faith and travel in this book. You will not want to miss it!

Davis Bunn’s stories have it all

By Debbie Phillips, Debbie’s Digest blog

Davis Bunn is my favorite author these days. I have been enjoying his new books, as well as some older ones I have gotten out of the library. His stories have it all. This one has:

Romance (but not gross icky romance, just enough to make me go awwwww and not enough so my sons don’t want to read the books.

Intrigue. Spiritual battles. Guns. Love. Prayer. Explosions. Friends. Enemies.

New friends found in unexpected places.

Life. God. Uncertainty.

People trying to find God’s will.

People with problems figuring out what to do next…. just like me. Well, not really JUST like me as I don’t usually have people shooting at me or trying to kill me in my everyday life.

I did love this book though. I LOVED the whole series. I still think book two is my favorite though, but I couldn’t exactly tell you why, with books one and three tied for a close second.

I was VERY sorry to hear this was the last of the books in the Marc Royce series. Everyone go awwwww again, this time in a sad way.

Edge-of-my-seat thriller

By Cynde Suite, Cyndecat’s Reading blog

…A finely woven story of courage, faith and stick through- it- ness that makes for an edge of your seat , nail-biting thriller. His characters are believably human, they have their doubts, they have their wounds but they also have their faith to rely on to get them through whatever life throws at them. His characters pray and read the Bible and share their faith with one another. It is a beautiful multicultural blend of sharing together despite their differences.

This was the most enjoyable of the three Marc Royce books. The action was non-stop, the plot was relevant, believable and could have been written from today’s headlines. Christians need books like this not only to help us wake up to the world around us but to visualize how we are to respond to our world.

Global tension and spiritual candor

By Gene Mumau

When Davis Bunn puts pen to paper – or more likely fingers to keyboard – he has an uncanny ability to weave global tension and spiritual candor into a page-turner novel. It is refreshing to read a well-presented mystery without the language assaulting one’s sensibilities in each dialogue. As the reader begins to anticipate the ending he finds he must adjust his expectations with almost every chapter. This adventure will keep you coming back page after page.

My kind of hero

By Pamela Morrisson, Daysong Reflections blog

Marc Royce is my kind of hero. He does not grandstand or try to draw attention to himself but quietly goes about taking care of business to the best of his ability. He plans ahead and tries to be ready for any unexpected problems. Most importantly, Marc does not back down from his responsibilities and will not abandon an unfinished assignment before completion. Although perfectly competent on his own, he does not have to be in charge at all times but works well with others toward the same goals…

Masterful story with memorable characters

By Dennis Brooke, Amazon

My wife and I were talking about what makes a great book. We like novels that take us to fascinating places, put us in the shoes of memorable characters, and surprise us with plot twists. The first two Marc Royce adventures fit that bill and so does Strait of Hormuz, Davis Bunn’s last book in the trilogy.

The way Davis weaves his stories he puts you in the action and scene with a skillful use of the language. Some authors seem to be in love with the sound of their own words. Davis is in love with the art of the story and he immerses you in it.

I like the Marc Royce character because he’s both heroic and real. The way he faces his trials contain great life lessons. One of his lines in the book made me really think: “There is no harder lesson for me to learn than to recognize the moment when I am called to be weak.”

Marc Royce leads the charge!

By Lydia Blow, Amazon

I loved this book – actually the entire series. Strait of Hormuz was very believable considering the world situation today, and it had “real” and likable characters. It kept my interest with many different things taking place, from hidden church groups to shoot-outs to secret operations. The characters were all very different and of different nationalities, but they worked together for a common cause.

A Story of Heartbreak and Mending

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Strait of HormuzToday, I’m sharing a slew of excerpts from reader reviews of Strait of Hormuz. I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review. Today’s reviewers are:

  1. Geni White
  2. Sarah Judith Cole
  3. Tina Hunt
  4. Kitty Bucholtz
  5. Kattarin Kirk
  6. Beckie Burnham
  7. Russ Hanley
  8. Shari Bradley
  9. Sidney W. Frost
  10. Deb Haggerty

Mark Royce Faces Great Odds to Prevent a World War

By Geni White, Amazon

Marc Royce has again been called to investigate a matter that could involve the whole world in war, started unwittingly by the United States. As usual, Marc’s appointment upsets powerful government leaders, so he must work without official sanction and against numerous attempts to have him removed from the case…

Great book

By Sarah Judith Cole, Amazon

…Royce must solve the puzzle of an attack that seems to be directed against America, but the pieces don’t fit together like he expects them to. After seeing the woman he loved, but had to let go, painful memories and desires resurface. On top of that, he has to find people he can trust, and has to stay out of trouble with the authorities.

Grow Along With the Characters

By Tina Hunt, Pot of Manna blog

…The characters have a depth that makes them quite real. As is typical of Bunn’s writing, they grow as they face their issues and questions. And while faith is an obvious theme and thread that runs through the story, it is certainly not “crammed down your throat” or preachy. Topics of past hurt along with questions of trust for the future are dealt with in gentle wooing ways that may find you questioning your own faith journey and growing with Marc, Kitra, and Rhana.

Loved the Characters

By Kitty Bucholtz

…While struggling to find out where the new threat to America is coming from, sometimes at odds with his own government, Marc meets a really interesting array of people – a Swiss operative and a Swiss police inspector, a Persian art dealer, a knighted English art collector, and many more, as well as several people he’s worked with in the past. (I love it when you see characters appear in multiple books. It feels like you get to know them better.)

Heartbreak and Mending

By Kattarin Kirk, A Gracious Stumble blog

An amazing story of heartbreak and mending. It makes you realize that even when we don’t get our human version of happily-ever-after God has a plan that is so much better.

Pulse-Raising Action

By Beckie Burnham, By The Book blog

A great book for suspense lovers, this novel has it all — terrorists, multinational spies, a threat to Israel and the US, and a group of patriots with the desire and hope of freedom for their countries. There is also a very satisfying romantic element to sweeten the plot. A great conclusion for a great series.

Marc Royce is off on another action packed thrill ride

By Russ Hanley, Amazon

If you like action-packed adventure and suspense, you’ll love this whole series and especially Strait of Hormuz. These books can be read by themselves but the real gem is in reading all three in order because you’ll get to know the characters and understand their history.

Marc Royce is the hero America needs and Kitra Korban is the “girl next door” only with more complexity and interest. Bunn creates characters and stories that are so real you feel like you’re right there and these are people you know.

Journey With the Characters

By Shari Bradley, Amazon

…Though Marc and Kitra are the primary focus, I found the complexities of the other characters and the trials they face to be equally stirring, very much like ourselves and the passages we each face in our own lives.

It is not easy being an operative in this dangerous world of international intrigue and turmoil, nor is it easy to really look inside and see ourselves for who we are. In these engaging stories, we have seen Marc overcome tragic times in his life to live again and love again, all the while serving his country and his God.

Powerful Descriptions

By Sidney W. Frost, Christian Bookmobile blog

…The story moves quickly and the suspense gets intense at times. The descriptions are so powerful you feel you are there with the team and you wonder if the author has firsthand experience with such situations. He knows what he is talking about and he makes what could be a confusing tale understandable and entertaining.

Has Marc Royce finally met an enemy he can’t beat?

By Deb Haggerty, Positive Grace blog

Strait of Hormuz, the third in Davis Bunn’s Marc Royce series, has all the elements of a good story: the beautiful woman, a mysterious older woman, a daunting enemy, and lots of action. Bunn squarely nails every element!

Reader Mailbag: Chinese Subject Matter in ‘The Great Divide’

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The Great Divide by Davis BunnRosalina writes: 

Recently I borrowed The Great Divide from my local library in New Zealand. I was so hooked into reading it that I ended up purchasing a copy which I have re-read several times.

The Chinese subject matter interested me greatly as my mother grew up in China (we are not Chinese) and I also belong to a China Friendship Association in NZ and naturally I do have Chinese friends.

You handled the Chinese side of things beautifully and it was a topic that needed to be written about.

Dear Rosalina,

It is amazing and gratifying to know that my words have reached your distant corner of the globe, and even more so to learn the story resonated with someone who has this bond to China. My wife’s graduate thesis was based upon this issue, and her research is embedded in virtually every page.

Danger and Dark Alleys in ‘Strait of Hormuz’

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Strait of HormuzI’m delighted to share another round of reader reviews of Strait of Hormuz with you. Today’s reviewers are Mary Hake, Gary Gilmore, Katherine Scott Jones and Faith Farrell. Read on…

Exciting adventure and intrigue!

By Mary Hake, Amazon

Plunge into the world of international intrigue and danger in Davis Bunn’s newest book, Strait of Hormuz.  Marc Royce, who starred in the astounding Lion of Babylon and its exciting sequel Rare Earth, needs to stay at the top of his game to outwit and survive the enemy’s tricks and attacks. When even his American compatriots seem to suspect him and thwart his efforts to protect the world from nuclear meltdown, Marc must decide whom he can trust and how to carry out his mission—even if it means going it on his own.

Circumstances throw Marc and Kitra Korban together again, which can be awkward as they attempt to deal with the threats they face and the future they long to spend together. They must both overcome the past in order to move forward.

I always enjoy the way Davis Bunn weaves his stories with authentic characterization, thrilling plots, and realistic settings, and includes new technology in the mix. The novel definitely sounds like something from the pages of current history. Let’s hope if such a crisis does develop that the outcome turns out as well as this fictional account ends.

I suggest reading the series in order but each book is an exciting adventure of its own.

Danger and dark alleys

By Gary Gilmore, blog

Full of romance, thrills, dangers, intrigue, high speed, and dark alleys, Strait of Hormuz does not disappoint. Davis Bunn is a masterful writer. From the explosive first chapter to the unexpected ending, you are in for a hair-raising good time.

Strait of Hormuz finds Marc Royce in Geneva, Switzerland, for some unknown reason – unknown to Marc and to Ambassador Walton who sent him there. Marc struggles throughout the whole book to determine his reason for being in Geneva, and the struggles not only define his skills, but highlight the matter of US security.

In every situation in which he finds himself – and he finds himself in some unbelievable situations, he does not seem to know how or why he is where he is. But being the astute man that he is, Marc collects all of these happenstances as clues to some bigger puzzle. He does not so much stumble into situations as he marches purposefully into them. He believes that eventually he will know the purpose, and that it will lead him to the desired end, which he is sure he will recognize when he sees it. Now that is trust with a capital T.

His trust in God, his Ambassador boss, and his country, along with his positive, optimistic attitude of life, seem to keep him afloat and upright. It is tempting to reveal the plot in order to make the point, but you will just have to read the book. And just know that those who have already read the book are looking over your shoulder, eager for you to discover what they have discovered along the way.

Another well-drawn adventure from an author who understands his brand

By Katherine Scott Jones, Story Matters blog

Genre: Fiction/Christian/Suspense

Judge this book by its cover? I can’t decide. On the one hand, it captures the essence of the book’s climax. But it doesn’t hint at its strong romance or the glamorous Swiss setting leading to that point. In my opinion, this cover is meant to appeal to the male audience.

Reminds me of… Brock and Bodie Thoene.

Buy or borrow? Fans will want to buy.

Why did I read this book? For Bethany House for review.

My take: Davis Bunn strikes me as a novelist who understands his brand and knows how to deliver time and again what his readers clamor for: well-plotted, deeply researched stories populated by complex characters and threaded with strong inspiration messages.

In Strait of Hormuz, readers will once again find Bunn’s trademark clean, straightforward prose as well as between-the-eyes Christian themes. They’ll also find another element we’ve come to expect from his novels: a well-imagined, fictionalized take on real-world politics.

I can’t decide, however, which audience–male or female–the Marc Royce series will appeal to more. They contain a balanced blend of action (in this novel alone, I believe I counted four major explosions) and romance, plus heartfelt explorations of spiritual matters. So I guess the answer to my question is that Bunn writes for both men and women (and in this way, he reminds me of John Grisham). Indeed, I’d say his finely honed skill at writing for a broad audience explains much of his well-deserved popularity.

If pressed to give Strait of Hormuz a rating, I’d give it 4 stars–falling short of five only because this style of storytelling doesn’t particularly resonate with me. Nonetheless, I’m confident this latest of Bunn’s well-drawn adventures will surely appeal to his myriad fans–and win him a few more besides.

Lessons of faith, culture and history

By Faith Farrell, Found a Christian By His Grace blog

…While reading this I learned much more about Iran, the history of Persia, Israel’s precision trained Mossad, the Strait of Hormuz itself, and the lives of Christians in the Middle East where faith often has to go underground to survive. There are Jews, Muslims and Christians among the characters, and some characters are not what they seem at first.

They are complex, and once you get to know the good characters, you really like them. You care about them, you are fascinated as you follow them in their mission, and you know that you don’t want any of them to be hurt or killed.

One of my favorite characters was Kitra, a spirited woman who is offered a world beyond the kibbutz of her youth, and a chance to save her people. Kitra is also offered love, true love, and must make choices about how to proceed with that.

The plot is the kind that is fast moving but never at the expense of the details that make it memorable. Military, Intelligence Agents, men and women of espionage, Christians who manage to spread the Gospel through “hidden” Churches… it’s all here.

And the setting. Once again, the writing brings the settings to life. I went online and looked up St. Catherine Monastery in Egypt, intrigued by the way Davis Bunn had described this place. The many photographs confirm that sunrise there is as other-worldly beautiful as it sounded.

Yes, Strait of Hormuz  is a book that you can give a man or a woman of any age, because there are well-drawn characters both male and female. If you read this book you will learn lessons of faith and culture and history while enjoying a great story.

Learning About Other Cultures Through Novels

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Hendrickson Publishers recently re-released the three books in The Priceless Collection series, which had been out of print for seven years.

This family epic blends mystery and romance and is set in the luxurious trappings of contemporary London and the turbulent economies of Eastern Europe.

The Priceless Collection

Florian's Gate by Davis Bunn The Amber Room by Davis Bunn Winter Palace by Davis Bunn

Here are two reader letters that reflect on the books in The Priceless Collection.

Vickie writes: 

I stayed up late last night to finish Florian’s Gate. What an amazing book. I read a lot of fiction, but I love fiction that includes history.

Like the main character, Jeffrey, my view of life beyond the Iron Curtain has always been limited by my own paradigms. It was eye-opening to see the people of this land through Jeffrey’s eyes as he experienced them first hand.

I was not surprised to find that many of the stories of the people in the book came from first-hand accounts of real people. This is a great book about the courage and strength of a nation that has endured so much.

Dear Vickie,

As you may have gathered from the dedication and acknowledgements, this story was based upon the experiences of my wife’s family, and so holds a very special significance for me. I’m thrilled that you connected with it.

Dave writes: 

I recently finished reading the three books of The Priceless Collection. Thank you so much–I learned a lot about what Poland has gone through, just in my lifetime. Also learned a bit about Russia while reading three very interesting stories.

Some of your books are hard to read as they describe working and living conditions in other countries that are so much different than what we have lived through. We had a chance to go to Germany on a work and Witness team in 2000 and spent a week working at the Nazarene church in Frankfurt and another week traveling around in Germany.

We spent three days in Berlin and got to see what the war did and where the city was divided for so many years. While it is now one city again a lot of evidence of what it was like is still there. At the time we were there they were refurbishing the building that used to house the German government before the Soviet Union divided the city.

The leader of our group grew up in Germany because his father was pastoring the church in Frankfurt while it was being built in the 1960s. As it turns out I was only a few miles away in Wiesbaden, in the army at the same time. Did not meet them until we met in a church in Meridian, Idaho many years later.

Because he grew up there he knew of a small museum in Frankfurt that he took us to. It was very small and the only thing I remember from it is the two display cases–one of what Frankfurt looked like before the war and the other what it looked like after we got through bombing it. Not much left standing.

Living in America tends to spoil us as far as our freedoms compared to a lot of other countries in the world.

Dear Dave,

It has been remarkable how these stories have connected with an entirely new audience, 15 years after they were first written. The wall has fallen, and so many people in these affected countries now consider it so far past that it holds no real importance.

They want to focus forward, join Europe, move into better homes and jobs and futures. I was therefore concerned when I heard the books were to be re-released. And yet still they connect, and in such lovely ways.

For details and purchasing information about the books in The Priceless Collection, visit:

Book 1: Florian’s Gate

Book 2: The Amber Room

Book 3: Winter Palace

Complex Female Characters in ‘Strait of Hormuz’

Monday, December 9th, 2013

In these new reader reviews of Strait of Hormuz, the reviewers reflect on faith and friendship. You’ll hear from Mark Buzard, Audrey Sauble and Kim Martinez.

Lion of Babylon Rare Earth by Davis Bunn Strait of Hormuz

Making God Part of the Story

By Mark Buzard, Thoughts of Sojourner blog

As with the other two books, the very likable Marc Royce returned as the main character. He is thrown again into some major political suspense and intrigue. I really had a hard time putting the book down, and since I was reading it when I didn’t have to put it down, I let myself be pulled into the story, and through the book traveled all over Switzerland the Middle East. Although the book is fiction, the reality of how much the Arab nations hate Israel is not, and the book had a very scary scenario of what could happen if one of those countries decided to go after Israel.

Bunn is an author who isn’t afraid to write Christian fiction and make God part of the story. The Christian aspect of the book only added to the story, and was such a part of the story that it wouldn’t have been as great of a book without it. Through fiction, the author shows how God can always work for the good, and even when things look impossibly grim, He can save the day.

I was sad to see this series end, but this book wraps up an excellent series with a lot of suspense, drama, action, and some romance thrown in for good measure. I still say the first book was the best, but this third one is even more exciting and action filled, and left me with a great satisfied filling that comes from reading a great novel.

When Friends Need Help

By Audrey Sauble, The Lore Mistress blog

Everyone has a friend who needs help occasionally. Marc Royce’s friend just happens to be Ambassador Walton, a very old friend and a top intelligence official.

It also just happens that Marc’s friend needs help with a very serious problem. The US was tracking a shipment from North Korea to Pakistan when nine containers on the shipment disappeared. US officials believe the containers are headed to Iran, with the missile parts that could increase Iran’s firing range to reach the US. Within a week, the containers will have time to reach Iran, and meanwhile, the US’s best solution is also the worst—to stop ships entering the Strait of Hormuz and search them for the containers. Doing so may stop the attack, or it may give Iran an excuse to declare war.

Marc’s role is to find a way out—specifically, he’s supposed to track the money and find out what really is going on. Unfortunately, his first search effort uncovers a booby-trap instead.

And then Kitra, the Israeli nurse Marc met in Rare Earth, walks onto the scene.

In the background, waits a shadowy, but intriguing, cast. There’s the wealthy backers who can send agents anywhere in the world or to any five-star hotel at a moment’s notice, as well as the underground house-church with members from enemy cultures and a mission to protect believers in hostile countries.

Bunn started the series in 2011, introducing freelance intelligence operative Marc Royce in Lion of Babylon. The middle novel, Rare Earth (which I reviewed last summer), won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. And now, Strait of Hormuz marks the end of the series.

Even as the last book in the series, Strait of Hormuz stands on its own, telling Marc’s latest adventure separate from his previous missions. As with Rare Earth, I would have no problem picking up the action from the first few pages. At the same time, this being the second book I’ve read from the series, I noticed more that Bunn doesn’t spend a lot of time on character-development. I was able to connect fairly well with Marc and Kitra, but part of that was from having met them before.

I’m not sure whether I would classify Strait of Hormuz as a slow-paced spy story or a fast-paced romance. It has elements of both—Bunn balances a race to save the world fairly well against Marc and Kitra’s struggle to understand their emotions and their relationship.

Bunn does well at both, but I found the background characters with their range of motives and backstories to be the best part of the story. They were also, in some way, easier for me to connect to than the story from Rare Earth. So, while Strait of Hormuz ranks 4 out of 5, I liked it better overall than Rare Earth, and I’m not sure I was ready for the series to end.

Another fantastic Marc Royce action!

By Kim Martinez, Amazon

While a lot of our media shows us intrigue that disengages from personal purpose, Bunn shows us how the two intertwine to develop our future.

He doesn’t shy away from the hard questions that real people ask, nor does he give easy answers. Instead, he weaves terrific intrigue with honest human interaction to create a fantastic book that is well worth your time.

Strait of Hormuz is classic Davis Bunn – intricate character development and amazing plot work. In fact, one of the things I particularly like about Bunn is his ability to create very complex female characters. Many authors seem to create complex male characters in their action novels, but Bunn manages to do both.

Strait of Hormuz is a current-day, believable plot that took me inside communities that I hadn’t heard of. I learned a bit about Christianity in the Middle East while reading a great action novel. If you haven’t read Rare Earth yet, you might enjoy both books best if you read them together. Although each stands alone, the character development of Marc and Kitra spans the two, and is really well done.