‘Skillful Storytelling’, Writes ‘Rare Earth’ Reviewer

By Diana Williams, To Plant a Seed

Twists. Turns. International intrigue. Adventure. Environmental disaster. Rare Earth has all of them. It has been many years since I have read a story that I could not anticipate what would happen next. Bunn has told a story with well-crafted characters and realistic settings. Though I have never been to Kenya, Bunn put me there.

About Rare Earth

Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.

Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area’s reserves of once-obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements—called rare earth—have inflamed tensions on the world’s stage and stoked tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.

But this time, Royce may have gone too far.

I give Rare Earth 4.6 stars

Why 4.6 stars?

Characterization: 5 stars

I have worked in response to natural disasters and despite the strain of the situation there are human relationships that just naturally form. Bunn masterfully brings out these bonds between soldiers and agents and men and women as they respond to the disaster. He then takes it to another level by adding in a layer of government corruption and international greed.

Creativity: 5 stars

Bunn gives us a rare glimpse into what can happen when multiple cultures come to faith in one Savior—centuries of hatred is broken down and unity arises.

Content suitable to a diverse audience: 4 stars

Though the book underlines the Christian faith it shows us what it looks like when other faiths come to believe in Jesus. We get to see through their culture.

Command of language: 4 stars

Bunn’s command of the language paints and contrasts the darkness of an erupting volcano and the hope arising in Marc Royce as he heals from the loss of his wife. My only reason for not giving him five stars is I thought some of the language of a soldier was not fitting. Otherwise his language takes the reader on a ride through Africa.

Connection to current issues: 5 stars

I believe this book reflects current issues because we are living in a time of multiple natural disasters around the globe and corruption is not as rare as we wished.

Diana K. Williams is a former Environmental Scientist who now pursues writing full-time. By God’s grace she is a past winner of Writer’s Digest Magazine’s annual writing competition. She blogs at www.ToPlantASeed.com

This review was originally published on Diana’s blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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