Myanmar’s military toppled the civilian government. Now the country’s diverse population is banding together in protest
Culture Notable Books
Sera and William Hanover are enjoying their wedding day when an uninvited guest arrives with police. They arrest William after accusing him of stealing over $12 million. Meanwhile, Polish refugee Kája Makovsky nightly navigates the dangers of London’s bombings during World War II, all while growing closer to a war correspondent. Eventually, Kája’s faith and selflessness in saving children from a Nazi concentration camp play a pivotal role in helping Sera and William. At times the plot feels contrived, but the story’s rich writing, relatable characters, and historical context largely outweigh its flaws.
In the first book of The MindWar Trilogy, a leg-crushing car accident ended Rick Dial’s football career and his relationship with girlfriend Molly. But his gamer skills made him a top recruit for a U.S. anti-terrorism unit. As book two begins, the terrorist leader of the MindWar Realm, a virtual world blurring the line between fantasy and reality, abducts Molly. Rick will have to trust Molly’s rescue to a fellow agent if he’s to stop the MindWar attack on American targets. Fast-paced action and creative world-building make this an engaging read beyond the teen market.
The Sign Painter
Left homeless by her husband’s death, Amy Dowel and her daughter Kimmie need a new start. They get it when a Christian outreach center director offers Amy a new home, which leads to a new job. Then Amy witnesses a drug deal, and the drama ramps up as outreach security volunteers seek to keep her out of the crosshairs of big-time drug dealers. Complicating things is a budding romance with her new boss, yet Amy constantly looks to the Lord to protect her daughter and her new life from disaster. Although the ending is too good to be true, this is a suspenseful novel with a lot of heart.
Edwin: High King of Britain
King Edwin is as pagan as they come, and though he respects his new wife’s Christian religion, he and his men will not be easily swayed. But when he almost dies at the hands of an assassin, a Christian priest saves his life and gains his trust. Soon, Edwin’s faith in the God of the Bible frees him from superstition and points the way to a Christian future for Britain. This tale is more ribald and gory than necessary (parents of teens, beware!) and its ending is too abrupt, but the sympathetic characters and shifting alliances make a fascinating canvas for its clash of worldviews.
Colin S. Smith brings the thief on the cross to life in the 96-page novella Heaven, How I Got Here (Christian Focus, February 2015). He writes imaginatively from the thief’s perspective while dealing respectfully with the biblical account. For instance, he doesn’t invent words to put in Jesus’ mind or mouth. Instead, as we follow the thief through his last day on earth—from eating his breakfast, to carrying his cross, to finally breathing his last—Smith shares poignant reflections on law, justice, faith, and forgiveness. Through it all, he continually brings our attention back to Christ’s work on the cross and His offer of salvation to all who believe.
Christians looking for a book to savor at the beach, share with graduates, or challenge unbelieving friends will want to take note. —E.W.