“A small band of believers vs. a powerful media conglomerate: Bunn has created a stunning, multilayered tale of power and, ultimately, hope.”
Click here to read their entire review.
“A small band of believers vs. a powerful media conglomerate: Bunn has created a stunning, multilayered tale of power and, ultimately, hope.”
Click here to read their entire review.
Today we wrap up our reader reviews for Strait of Hormuz with three fantastic reviews that reflect on Marc Royce’s character. Today’s reviewers are:
I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review.
I met Davis Bunn the week I won Operation First Novel in 2011. Two things dominated my time that week: wandering the hotel in a state of shock, and chatting with Davis Bunn. That day he signed my copy of Lion of Babylon, and that night I met Marc Royce.
Royce, the main character in the trilogy, is like no one I’d ever met. On one hand, he’s sensitive to the leading of God, and on the other hand, he’s a man of action. Very rarely had I seen the two come together so well.
While I tagged along in the world of Marc Royce, in my personal life I was plunged into the world of being an author. Out of my comfort zone, I floundered. I had many friends and confidants, all who helped me along. But looking back, it was Marc Royce who showed me the way.
Time and time again, especially in the newest book, Strait of Hormuz, he steps out on faith, not knowing the future, but knowing Who holds the future. The results are usually not as the reader would guess, or Marc Royce would hope for, but like the real world, God knew the larger picture.
And so, as Marc Royce and I grew together, we found that if we place our trust in Christ, we would be led to grow, expand, and He would change lives for the better. It may hurt, but the outcome far outweighs our current discomfort.
That is why I keep copies of Davis Bunn’s Marc Royce series on hand. My signed copy of Lion of Babylon is as worn and dog-eared as my other copies. Because I keep going back to read certain passages, my favorite parts, and to relive that special day when I won Operation First Novel, met Davis Bunn, and started my journey with Marc Royce.
By Gigi Murfitt
Get ready for an adrenaline rush because this book has it all. Money laundering, explosions, assassination attempts, fast cars, a castle, high-tech spy equipment, a multi-million dollar yacht, and international terrorism threats.
Strait of Hormuz is the first book I’ve read in the Marc Royce Adventures by Davis Bunn. It certainly won’t be my last. I’m hooked! The pace is fast and descriptions of scenes well written. I could feel the chill of excitement on my skin as I waited for the next surprise. I was rooting for the characters all through the book.
Marc Royce is on assignment to follow a rumor trail to the Mid-east. Time is of the essence as he pulls a team of operatives together to outsmart the terrorists. Failure to do so could escalate into global disaster. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through this thrilling book.
Now I’m anxious to go back and read Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth, the other books in this series.
I am most excited to hear Davis Bunn in person at the Seattle area Northwest Christian Writer’s Association Conference this year from April 11-12, 2014. He is an excellent writer who has captured my attention. I’ll be a reader of Davis Bunn books for a long time.
From Lion to Warrior to Friend
By Lonzine Lee, GoodReads
First Lugal (a lion), then Shujaa (a warrior), and now he confirms, “It’s my job to protect the innocents… to serve my country.”
That’s Marc Royce, the consummate man of conscience, daring and focus that author Davis Bunn has gifted to his readers in his exciting Marc Royce trilogy.
I’ve long admired Davis Bunn’s amazing ability to draw his readers into a story with compelling dialogue, compassion and action scenes. With the character of Mark Royce, he has outdone himself. We first meet Marc Royce in Lion of Babylon, the first book in the series. He’s emotionally bruised from the death of his wife, and spiritually thirsty.
We next meet Marc in Rare Earth in Kenya on another undercover assignment. There he meets Kitra Korban, an Israeli nurse searching for her missing brother. Those are understated references to two highly recommended, excellent reads.
If you have read the first two Marc Royce books, the expectation is different, the bar has been raised. We know more about Marc, and we expect great things of him. We expect a compelling witness of his Christian life; we expect to be introduced to a different culture, to grow to better understand a people; fights, intrigue, peril and a miraculous exposure of some type of deadly evil. Book three in the Royce trilogy, Strait of Hormuz, meets those expectations with a flourish and a twist.
Marc Royce is the heart of the trilogy. His journey from a bruised soul to a man of purpose to a man awakened to hope and finds true joy is such a wonderful transition. You begin to see how one person that chooses to give of self for others can truly make a difference, and possibly you will arrive at the realization that you, too, are one person that can be led by God to influence a people or a nation to the greater good of all.
It sounds lofty and ethereal in some camps I’m sure, but that’s what Davis Bunn has created with Marc Royce, a man that faced the worst within himself, took a stand for others, and embarked upon a great adventure. I really hope you take it upon yourself to read this trilogy.
I love the variety of reader reviews I’ve received for Strait of Hormuz. Today’s reviewers are:
I hope you’ll click the link next to each name to read their full review.
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.
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:
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.
Today, 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, 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:
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.
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.”
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.
…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.
Today, 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:
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.”
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.
Today, 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:
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…
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.
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.
…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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’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…
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.
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.
By Katherine Scott Jones, Story Matters blog
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wow. I wish I could share ALL the fantastic reviews from readers of Strait of Hormuz. Here’s a sampling of excerpts from reviews that have been posted recently. Today we’ll hear from Vickie Taylor, Tammy Griffin, Katherine Wacker, Pris Phillips, Deb Killian, Shirley McDonald and Eddie Gilley! I hope you’ll click on each author’s link to read their full review.
By Vickie Taylor, Book Marks blog
A former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations once noted that “Patriotism… is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”
This mind-set is the framework from which Marc Royce operates. A U.S. intelligence operative, Royce specializes in being the man on the ground in tenuous situations with little prep time and no backup—the man whose instincts and judgment can be trusted when Intel is sketchy and allies are hard to find. Royce is the man you count on when you can count on nothing else, and that makes him the perfect hero for the imminent threat facing the Middle East in Davis Bunn’s latest release, Strait of Hormuz.
The third installment in Bunn’s Marc Royce series, this story opens with Royce being sent to Switzerland to follow up on a lead, but when he arrives, his lead is dead, a bomb is about to go off, and the woman he cares about walks into the building right before detonation. Readers are dropped straight into the action and hit the ground running as they follow Marc Royce into the fray.
The sense of urgency established in the first chapter builds by degrees as the reader joins Royce in his pursuit for answers in the midst of political posturing between competing intelligence agencies and rival governments. On this mission, Marc is searching for a missing freighter carrying what is believed to be guidance systems for long-range missiles. U.S. officials fear that the components, shipped from North Korea, are headed for Iran, and recent Intel indicates that the Atlantic Coast of the United States may be the target.
The United States wants to intercept the cargo before it reaches the Strait of Hormuz, the channel of water linking the Persian Gulf with the open ocean, but the ship has gone off the grid. Marc’s job is to discover the ship’s destination and find the people responsible for its movements before military intervention is necessary.
Royce’s trip to Switzerland was supposed to connect him with the man facilitating the financial transactions for the movement of arms. Instead, it leads him to an ally inside Israel’s intelligence agency and an informant with connections to Iran. These unlikely allies work together to prevent a serious international incident and, in the process, find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Their love for country is surpassed only by their commitment to Christ. Trapped inside a world that would divide them by geography, politics, and culture, these patriots transcend those arbitrary barriers to form a cohesive team.
This unique collaboration allows them to find answers to the questions their governments aren’t asking and puts them all on the front lines of a deadly assault aimed at America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Tension mounts as the team is forced to work against time and outside official governmental parameters to prevent a biochemical attack on Israel and to apprehend the man responsible for its implementation.
Davis Bunn’s skill at weaving faith and integrity into the fictional world of covert ops without sacrificing the adventure and intrigue inherent to the genre is unparalleled. Fans of Bourne and Bond could easily identify with Marc Royce’s world and would, no doubt, come to respect a man who values progress over politics and pursues justice rather than glory. Royce’s keen intellect, combat skills, and decisive command make him an admirable warrior while his sincerity and compassion make him an attractive hero. This combination accounts for the character’s overall appeal to both male and female readers.
Also appealing is the view of the world we see through Marc Royce’s eyes. This series depicts more than the age-old conflict of nation rising against nation. It casts a vision for a world where leadership is defined by sacrifice, unity is prized over power, and peace is found in obeying the call of God. In Strait of Hormuz, Davis Bunn offers readers a model of hope for a world in turmoil and a picture of faith that perseveres in spite of the obstacles.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, in large part, because Bunn portrays a world where peacemakers are recognized as the sons of God and the meek really do inherit the earth. I find the more I read Bunn’s work, the more I want to live in that world. How about you?
By Tammy Griffin, Tammy’s Book Parlor blog
From the first page the excitement comes at the reader with a barrel of gun fire, explosions, and a high speed chase in a red Ferrari! And Marc is thrown into a perilous situation with a woman he is attracted to but cannot love… A great end to fantastic trilogy!
By Katherine Wacker, Katherine’s Chronicle blog
Davis Bunn is at his best when he transports readers to places most can only dream of. He tells a story in exquisite detail as few Christian authors do. This gift only enhances the already page-turning, suspense-filled tale that could be ripped from today’s headlines. It is incredibly well-researched and filled with details that even a political junkie would enjoy.
By Pris Phillips, Amazon
I have read both of the previous Marc Royce books by Davis Bunn, and Strait of Hormuz is the best yet! I’m about half way through the book, and can’t put it down! I had to write a review before I even finish it… it’s THAT good!!
By Deb Killian, M2M blog
Davis Bunn once again captured my senses as he took me on a new journey of reconnaissance, romance & faith… I was drawn into the story as Bunn wove each character in and out of the tapestry of the rich and beautiful to the dangerous and harrowing moments of international espionage. From prominent art gallery, yacht and luxurious resort to high sea adventure and car chase you will find yourself on the edge of your seat as Marc and the woman he secretly loves zigzag their way through an intricate plot.
Davis Bunn has a gift of interlinking suspense with God’s plan, redemptive nature and hope for each individual person. I love un-wrapping each and every story. You will too.
By Shirley McDonald, Amazon
…Continuing Marc’s story on another assignment for Ambassador Walton, Bunn uses well-developed characters, fact action, suspense, and multicultural friendships to explore those hard to answer questions that many people have about Christian beliefs. The reader learns much about the Middle East as Marc’s group travels throughout the area in an attempt to stop a vicious terrorist attack. Author Davis Bunn gives the reader much to think about, along with a hard-to-put-down story. A definite 5 star rating!
By Eddie Gilley, blog
…As in the other two books in this trilogy, Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth, readers are treated to detailed descriptions of locations in several countries. Bunn takes the time and effort to thoroughly develop the settings of the events in order to bring the reader along on the incredible and dangerous journey facing Marc [Royce] and [Kitra Korban]…
…As usual, Bunn manages to write an action novel that includes faith without coming off as fake or forced. The story of Marc’s faith and how it affects his life as an agent continues to unfold in way that will seem natural to those who have read the previous two volumes but will also make sense if this is your first foray into the world of Marc Royce.