Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rare Earth - a review

Rare Earth is a great book. It is written by Davis Bunn. I have read other books by Davis Bunn that he did with Janette Oke, and enjoyed them a lot. When I saw on Davis Bunn's Goodreads page that he was looking for blog reviewers for 2 new books of his I was totally in. This is the second review, today, my other review, for Hidden in Dreams, can be found HERE.

ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-0-7642-0906-2    $14.99; 368 pp
ISBN (Hardcover): 978-0-7642-1017-4     $22.99; 368 pp
  Also available in the following formats:
     Audio Book, MP3
     Audio CD
     Kindle Edition
     NOOK book

Rare Earth is Book 2 in the Marc Royce series (Lion of Babylon is Book 1). However, Rare Earth is a stand-alone novel – the main character is the same as in Lion, but nearly all the other characters are new to this book. Readers will have no trouble understanding Rare Earth if they have not read Lion yet. I have not read Lion of Babylon yet, I will be reading it soon, and I did not have any trouble getting into this book, understanding it, following the plot, or enjoying it. I can't wait to read book 1 of the series. I am sure it will be as good as book 2 was.
About Rare Earth
(from the back of the book)
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.

My Review:
Wow! What a book. This book was excellent. I wish I had the money to get all my friends a copy. I just loved it. It has: Characters that I can relate to. Suspense. Building tension. Interesting subject matter...rare earth metals. Relevance to real problems in today's world. The U.N. and international trouble. Action. A definite Christian emphasis. Hand to hand combat. Spies. Good guys. Bad guys. Intrigue in finding out who the good guys are and who the real bad guys are.

I love the Christian/spiritual nature of this book. It is expertly weaved throughout the story. Pastors, Christians, prayer, God, Jesus, worship in many places and many languages, it is wonderful. Here is one small sample.
   "Kitra's mother said, "All over Israel there is a secret phenomenon. People are discovering the love of Jesus."
   Marc felt a shiver course through his frame. The softly spoken name became the cohesive force. The means through which all these broken shards began pulling together into a mosaic." (pg. 229)
"For the Messiah. The risen Lord. They name him, and they pay the price. They become outcast within their own clans. They are the banished ones, even here in their homeland. They are persecuted for accepting the power of eternal love." (pg. 230)
Boy does this book draw you in. A number of times Bunn has given me just a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole thing. Drawing me to want to know more. Excellent, excellent writing. The main character, Royce, tells his plan to his superiors and to others, but Bunn does not tell us yet. It is maddening... making me read, and read, and read, because I. Must. Know! But, now that I know will I tell you? Of course not! I could not do it justice and would ruin the story. Get the book. Read it. You will love it.

Reading this book has also caused me to do some research on rare earth metals. The following may, or may not, be as interesting to you as they were to me. As a rock hound and geology enthusiast, I took geology classes in High School and Geology was my minor in college, . Wow! The research that went into this book and the knowledge of important international affairs astounds me. I had no idea. The pdf, with it information about China, was especially interesting.

Out of 5 stars I give this book 
Yup I give it 6 stars out of 5... it is just that good. Why do I give it 6 stars? Because of the quality of the writing, the level of suspense, the subject matter and the wonderful Christian characters! That's why!

I recommend everyone read this book. Now that I am done I am loaning this book to my daughter and I told her not to put off reading it, but to read it right away, and not to take her time reading it over the next few weeks or months... but to get at it and get it done! It is just that good!!!

YouTube Book Trailer:

In case you can't see the video above here is the direct link:
Read the First 3 Chapters of Rare Earth
(caution... you may get hooked and you may need to read more!!! Thus causing you to purchase this book!)

In case you can't read the first 3 chapters here on my blog here is the link to read them online - Rare Earth by Davis Bunn Sample Chapters 1-3

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. 

Q & A with Davis Bunn

When you finished writing Lion of Babylon (book 1 in the Marc Royce series), did you just keep going with the storyline and wrote Rare Earth at the same time? Or was there a time gap in between?
Normally by the time I complete a story, I have been living with the characters and the tale for about a year. What I need more than anything just then is a break. I don’t need to stop writing; I just need to write about something else. The emotions for a new book have to be fresh. The characters are not just continuing on. They are starting over. The emotions and the concepts and the tension and the theme are all brand new. The names stay the same. The rest of the universe shifts on its axis.
Marc Royce is not your typical hero. Where did you find your inspiration for his character?
As I started researching the first book in this series, Lion of Babylon, I took a flight where I was seated next to this very remarkable woman, an amazing combination of hard intelligence and great gentleness. She was reading a pocket New Testament. We started talking, and it turned out that she was a special operative, formerly with the State Department intelligence division, and now working with the Department of Defense Intel. I found myself drawn by this incredible paradox of ruthless focus and very intense calm.

Soon after this flight, I had an opportunity to meet a senior figure in the CIA. I had never had any contact with the intelligence community, and all of a sudden I was finding one door after another being opened, because both of these people—the DOD Intel officer and the CIA agent—took it upon themselves to help introduce me to their worlds. I have found this happen on a number of occasions, and these ongoing miracles humble and astound me. I drew on these people as the basis for structuring my hero.
What can readers expect to find in Rare Earth?
All my books hold to one key aim—to create a story that carries a moral, and together result in an impact or challenge or inspiration or comforting assurance that remains long after the book is set down. That, to me, defines a worthy effort.
What kind of character is Marc Royce?
He carries his faith into a world that likes to think Jesus no longer plays a role. He sees himself as the ultimate outsider, wounded by the loss of his wife, searching for a place he can call home, and an ideal worth living for—or giving his life for.
Tell us about one or two other key characters.
Like the book that launched this series, Rare Earth is a story about the missionary church. Many of the other characters are Kenyan, and reveal the amazing role that believers play in this nation.
What type of research did you do for this series?
I worked in Africa for four years early in my adult life. I was not a believer at that time. I came to faith four years later. I taught in Kenya last year, the first time I had been back to sub-Sahara Africa in almost twenty years. Going back to Africa now, as a believer, has opened my eyes to many things. Seeing with the compassion of sharing faith and seeking to serve means that I do not merely observe, I share with them. I hope this comes across in my story.

Research is a huge component of all of my stories. But with Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth, the situation was quite different. In both these Royce novels, I was combining knowledge gained in my previous business life with the perspective gained from my walk in faith. It has been quite a fulfilling experience, personally, to revisit these lands and see them through the eyes of our compassionate God.
What was your favorite scene to write in Rare Earth?
It is very rare that a first scene holds such a powerful connection for me. Generally it is one where there is a revelation between characters, or a defining moment when a person’s eyes are truly opened to the eternal for the first time.

But in Rare Earth, when I shut my eyes and envision the story, it is that first scene that blazes into light. Travelling on the UN chopper from Nairobi, watching the volcano take shape upon the horizon. Marc Royce has been sent out there to fail. And to die. I really am pleased with that opening sequence.
What’s next in your writing pipeline?
The film project Unlimited, for which I wrote the screenplay, has now ‘wrapped’, that is, filming has been completed. The producer and director are now deep into the editing process. Meanwhile, I must get busy and write the novel.

I had the whole thing backwards here, doing the script first, but it has been a lot of fun, and the concept remains very fresh. So hopefully it will come alive on the page as well as the screen. Both the film and the story are titled Unlimited, and are slated for release in September 2013.
How can readers find you on the Internet?

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Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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