23 March 2015

Wilderness Rising by A.L. Shields

From A. L. Shields – pseudonym for New York Times best-selling author Stephen L. Carter – comes the thrilling sequel to The Church Builder.

An age-old struggle between the enemies of God and the champions of faith.
A rumored relic that could prove Christ performed miracles – or declare him a fraud.
A woman on the run from international authorities.

Bethany Barclay is fighting to outwit the Wilderness, an ancient and powerful cabal bent on destroying Christianity. Its members murdered her best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must find the Pilate Stone – a mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

But she's not the only one looking for the stone. In an international landscape of double agents, Bethany finds it impossible to tell friend from foe. The Garden, a secret group of powerful intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is collapsing under the rising power of the Wilderness. And an ocean separates her from her only proven ally – the lone wolf Ray Fuentes, who has battles of his own to fight.

A sparse trail of breadcrumbs takes Bethany across Europe into a labyrinth of academics, art historians, and followers of a reclusive monastic order. As her quest transforms into an ever more complex and dangerous game, unlikely actors in the drama emerge. Some are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief.

Including her own.

Though I haven’t yet read the first Church Builder novel, the second one, Wilderness Rising, by A.L. Shields still proved to be a gripping and engaging read, keeping my attention from start to finish. I assume the plot picks up soon after the end of the previous novel, with Bethany Barclay on the run, and as she follows the clues left by her friend across international borders, the plot quickly fills with suspense and danger at every turn. As I read, I wondered and questioned, right along with Bethany, who of the many characters could actually be trusted, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the fast-paced twists and turns involved. Fans of suspense and thrillers, especially those who enjoyed The Church Builder, will not want to miss Wilderness Rising - however, I do highly recommend reading The Church Builder first. Though I managed to read and enjoy Wilderness Rising, I know my experience would have been enhanced with an understanding of the previous novel.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of Wilderness Rising and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Author
A. L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for thirty years. He is also the author of seven acclaimed works of nonfiction and five best-selling novels. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), spent eleven weeks on the New York Times best seller list.

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