Posted by: John Gillmartin | April 3, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Rose Conspiracy; Craig Parshall, Harvest House, 2009

“Please don’t let this case get to the death-penalty phase. Do that for me, will you?”

Antagonist to her Protagonist attorney

I evaluate books on the basis of our worldviews; clearly we select our reading material on that basis. The following are ten worldview factors considered relevant to an objective review of The Rose Conspiracy:

Moral Offense/Personal factor: very low
Agenda/Worldview factor: high/religious
Readability factor: high
Interest/Attention factor: high – slow to start but ultimately high
Fog/Confusion factor: low
Historical factor (if applicable): strong
Educational factor (if applicable): medium to strong
Novelty factor: high
Finish factor: medium
Overall Rating: On a scale of one to ten – an eight point five; if you’re not a history fan, or you’re an anti-religion zealot, you may not see it my way … but, then, I don’t really care!

See below for the key to these factors.

OVERVIEW

According to Harvest House, the publisher …

Parshall takes his readers to the nation’s capital, where a hitherto unknown [John Wilkes Booth] document has turned up…and turned into murder.

As the Smithsonian’s president examines a newly discovered account of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, an intruder steals in, kills him, and disappears into the night with the document.

Vinnie Archmont, an accomplished and stunningly beautiful artist, is implicated. She hires the brilliant but secretly guilt–burdened criminal law professor J.D. Blackstone.

Blackstone finds himself uncovering the Mystic Freemasons’ most guarded secret. He reluctantly turns to his uncle, a Bible–quoting Anglican priest and occult–religions expert. Enemies like a sorcery–obsessed billionaire English lord, a powerful U.S. Senator, and a ruthless prosecutor force Blackstone to employ all his cunning.

In the process, he is compelled to choose between

[the] spiritual counterfeit and [what is presented as] Gospel truth, [between] guilt and forgiveness … [as well as between] destruction and a new beginning.

Parenthetical inserts are Spacious Skies’ clarifications.

Overall I enjoyed the read; though not as engrossing as I prefer, it was a pleasant read and not a waste of time as so many are after you’ve read a couple thousand books in your lifetime; by that I mean the author overcame my overread prejudices.

Those prejudices tended to make the characters and plot somewhat predictable and, in many ways, poorly developed. However, after finishing the book and looking back, I see this criticism as relatively undeserved.

The intent of the author and the publisher was to present a Judeo-Christian worldview in the context of an historical setting. Did they accomplish that? I would answer that with a qualified yes. Simply put “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and so I would have preferred a frontal assault on the subject.

By chapter 46 a subtle Judeo-Christian witness picks up and becomes quite well conceived and presented.

At at least one point (about Ch. 28) the reading slowed to a crawl and at another point (about Ch. 37) I began to feel like there were too many cliches being thrown in … however, in both cases the distraction was brief.

As a big fan of historical fiction, I would have enjoyed a greater development of the Lincoln assassination and the plethora of Civil War connections. But on the whole the work did not suffer from their absence.

I would recommend this book to any reader; especially those who enjoy criminal or historical fiction, specifically those with a Judeo-Christian worldview.

AUTHOR

Craig Parshall is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, and the author of six legal–suspense novels: the five books in the Chambers of Justice series, and the stand–alone Trial by Ordeal.

Parshall speaks nationally on legal and Christian worldview issues and is a magazine columnist. He has coauthored five books with his wife, Janet, including the historical novels Crown of Fire and Captives and Kings.

DISCLAIMER

I am not an employee of Harvest House Publishers, nor am I associated with them or the author; additionally, I’ve received no compensation for this review; the book was provided to me at no cost for the purpose of review by Active Christian Media.

FACTOR KEY

Moral Offense/Personal: did the author include material I found personally or morally offensive?
Agenda/Worldview: did the author use his work to push an agenda or personal worldview?
Readability: how did the text flow; did I have to stop and go back? A little or lots?
Interest/Attention: Was I grabbed early on and held there to the end?
Fog/Confusion: did the author write more than needed? was his style or plot line confusing? did I feel uncertain about where the author was going at any time?
Historical: Since I read lots of historical stuff, were there a lots of historical goodies for me to munch on as I read? (Note: full coarse meals earn “very high” ratings)
Educational: did I learn anything I did not already know or had forgotten?
Novelty: did the author present novel approaches in his plot and people?
Finish: did the author leave me hanging? did I feel cheated after sacrificing my valuable time to read his stupid book? In other words, did he finish his effort in a valiant way?
Overall Rating: the author’s final grade; a one is an “F”, a five is a “C”, and a ten is an “A.”

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