Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage


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Isle of Fire
by Wayne Thomas Batson

Reviewed by Melissa J. Carswell

"...story telling at its best, and readers who were captured in Isle of Swords will find themselves captured all over again in this adventure as well!"

Wayne Batson delivers another page-turner in Isle of Fire, sequel to Isle of Swords. The book opens with a troubled Cat, tormented by what he does not yet know and haunted by what he does know. Battling a rage that borders on murderous at times, Cat is a man torn between the man he fears he inevitably is, given who his father is, and who he discovered himself to be aboard the William Wallace.

Mentored by Father Brun, chief of the Brethren Order, Cat is asked to Captain a ship in Father Brun’s fleet. This fleet is built for a task that affects countries and generations alike - -find The Merchant.

The Merchant, as described by Father Brun, is a person cloaked in secrecy and anonymity. Despite the vagueness of who The Merchant really is, he causes some of the greatest calamities in the world. The Merchant is not one individual person, but instead, one great evil, training apprentices down through the centuries. The Brethren believe they have been called by God to stop The Merchant before a new one can be apprenticed, and in so doing, forever end the line of Merchants. Cat eventually accepts the position offered to him and the Brethren Order undertake their journey.

Meanwhile, Declan Ross (pirate captain of the William Wallace in the first book) has retired from his pirating days. Now he is a part of the ranks of Commodore Blake, working for England. Their job? Ridding the seas of pirates. Pirates who are still operating in the “sweet trade” are given the option of retiring from their professions and being granted redemption of all past crimes or must face being taken by force by Ross and his crew.

*Spoiler alert* As if that story line doesn’t deliver enough intrigue and adventure all on its own, the author resurrects Bartholomew Thorne, originally presumed dead from the New Providence tsunami in Isle of Swords. Of no great surprise to the reader is the fact that Thorne has made connections with The Merchant himself in order to achieve his own evil ends.

Thorne, more evil than ever (if that was possible) is manipulating situations for himself with the help of his little peon pirates. He turns the ears of the King of England using the mouth of another man (in yet another shocking twist) convincing the King that there is no longer any need for Commodore Blake’s job. The argument that is convincingly, yet ironically crafted by Thorne and spoken by his messenger, is “now that Thorne is dead how bad can the threat of pirates really be? After all, wouldn’t the king rather save the money being given to Blake and his crew for the purpose of getting rid of pirates, and use it to expand his own treasure chests instead?” The King is convinced of this deceitful logic thus opening the way for Thorne to take over the seas without any fear of being stopped by Blake or Ross. He sets out to achieve this goal by enlisting the aid of the violent Raukar (Vikings).

Once again, Wayne gives us stories within a story. A romance, a man’s quest for his identity, and the ultimate battle for the defeat of evil. A woman’s search for the answers to her past and a little boy in desperate need of a family. And through it all, the unspoken, yet very clearly shown thread of the critical importance of the role fathers play in the lives of their children. Wayne does all of this, all the while weaving into the story, the beautiful thread of individuals finding and reading the writing that God has left on each of their hearts.

Isle of Fire is story telling at its best and readers who were captured in Isle of Swords will find themselves captured all over again in this adventure as well!

Melissa J. CarswellMelissa J. Carswell: Melissa is a Board Certified Christian Counselor. However, due to the appearance of a little bundle of Miracle in the past year, the counseling practice is now on indefinite hold. Instead, Melissa has entered the world of freelance writing from home. She is currently one of the content writers for TotallyHer.com (to be launched in September of 2008). Melissa has a passion for mentoring teen girls and young women and does so whenever possible. Her heart longing, along with her husband, is to use her education and credentials someday to have a home full of abandoned, abused, and terminally ill childen. They are still waiting for God's hand to unfold that particular chapter of their lives. When Melissa isn't changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking meals, mentoring the afore-mentioned young women, tending to her garden, being her husband's biggest fan, and soaking in every cuddly moment with her daughter, she reads and she writes. It is not unusual to see 2-3 books laying around the house at any given time and the hard drive to her computer houses several partially-written manuscripts to the secret dreamed-of-published books Melissa hopes for in the future. You can check out A Weak Rose here.