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The Ambition

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The Advocate

The Ambition by Lee Strobel

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

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"...Strobel’s first foray into fiction is an enjoyable and believable read."

With his job in jeopardy, Garry Snider, a cynical reporter begins sniffing for a scandal at the mega church his girlfriend attends. Eric Snow, the disillusioned pastor of said mega church, is desperate for change in the ministry and his life. He finds himself being courted and groomed for a potential senator seat, much to the dismay of his wife and congregation. Chicago’s history of corruption provides the dark background in The Ambition with a two-faced judge, a gambling “in debt to the mob” lawyer and the mobster Bugatti brothers.

The Ambition contains abuse of power, hidden deception, deep wounds, weak faith, haunting shame, uncertainty and relationships. It is about life!

The two characters, associate pastor Art Bullock and elder/prayer meeting volunteer, Dick Urban, instill reason in the midst of the insanity and uncertainty of the other cast members. They do it without preaching hell, fire and damnation. An evangelical case for Christ is woven within the storyline but it is not proselytizing at its worst with a bunch of Christian jargon. The relational element as well as the inner conflicts within the characters is what propelled the story for me. I’d have no problem handing my copy of The Ambition to a friend who is seeking answers with regard to their place in eternity.

Although Lee states that to guess who the book characters most resemble would be a futile effort, it’s unmistakably clear his life experiences provide the fodder for the fiction within these pages--everything from the plot to the characters and dialogue.

Events leading up to the conclusion were rushed to a degree. Expanding the conclusion with more details would have been appreciated. Some aspects were left unresolved in a storyline that doesn’t appear to be open-ended.

Even with some minor disappointments, this prolific non-fiction author is a confident writer. The Ambition is on the light side for the novel genre with only 282 pages and little suspense. Yet Strobel’s first foray into fiction is an enjoyable and believable read.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.