Friday, February 25, 2011

Blood Covenant by Lisa Harris

book cover

Blood Covenant
by Lisa Harris

ISBN-13: 9780310319061
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: February 2011

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
When fighting erupts between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers deep within the Republic of Dhambizao, thousands are forced to leave their homes. Dr. Paige Ryan, who works with Volunteers of Hope International, is sent to lead a team to set up a refugee transit site—where the immediate needs for shelter, water, sanitation, and food are critical. Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot for Compassion Air, joins the team to help fly supplies in and out of the area.

With the refugee camp already experiencing overcrowding, raids, and uprisings, a group of American mountain climbers is attacked by the Ghost Soldiers. Paige’s medical team responds immediately, rescuing survivors and taking them into the camp. When it’s discovered that one of the trekkers is carrying an infectious disease, the harrowing conditions of the camp are forgotten.

In desperate need of vaccines and the Ghost Soldiers blocking the only road out until their demands for amnesty are met, it won’t be long before the disease is out of control … and there is nowhere to run.

My Review:
Blood Covenant is a fast-paced Christian thriller with some romance. It's the second novel in the series, but the lead characters have changed. However, reading this novel first will spoil some major events in Blood Ransom, so I'd recommend reading that excellent novel first.

I think this novel will appeal to both men and women. The story was set in a fictional third-world Africa country with a corrupt government. It focused mostly on the perils of life in a refuge camp which were made worse by fighting going on nearby. The vivid setting and job details brought the story alive in my imagination and made me feel like this really could have happened.

The tension remained high throughout the story and mainly came from the physical danger to the characters. There were more good-guy point of view characters than just the main romantic couple, and the romance was more what you'd expect from someone in this situation (as in, "I admire how they're dealing with the situation and want to get to know him/her better when this is done"). The characters were smart but acted realistically, like I'd expect of normal people caught up in a very scary and overwhelming situation.

Several of the main characters were Christians with a strong faith in God which helped them endure the setbacks and sorrows they encountered. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this interesting, well-written thriller.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Monday, February 21, 8:55 a.m.
Vensi, Mponi region

Dr. Paige Ryan hesitated in the open doorway of the Cessna Caravan before stepping down onto the grassy runway. An early morning mist lingered along the edges of the clearing, but even the cloudy veil wasn’t enough to mask the handful of thatched huts smoldering on the far side of the landing strip.

The familiar feeling of helplessness pressed against her chest. The last time she’d gone out with the mobile medical unit, the pilot had been forced to do a low-level pass before landing to scatter the herds of goats and the children playing soccer with their homemade balls on the airstrip. Today, all that greeted them was an eerie silence coupled with the bitter smell of burning huts.

Simon Love, head of emergency relief, stepped up beside her and tugged on the bottom of his Volunteers of Hope T-shirt. “Apparently the government’s statements that the rebel’s threats are nothing to worry about were exaggerated. It looks as if most of the villagers have fled this area.”

Except those slaughtered by the rebels. A lump swelled in Paige’s throat. She hadn’t wanted to believe the rumors. Seventeen dead in Mkondi. Six in Latasha. Fifteen near the border town of Marani...But if Simon was right, those deaths could easily be the tip of the iceberg.

Their pilot, Nick Gilbert, grabbed Paige’s medical bag from the storage compartment and handed it to her, temporarily distracting her from the haunting scene. Given another place and time, she’d have given his boyish good looks a second glance, but today all she could see was the smoky destruction in the distance.

“I’ll wait here with the plane, but we need to be in the air by eleven if we’re going to have time to visit the other villages and still make it back to Kingani before dark.”

The pilot’s strong southern drawl sounded out of place in the middle of the African bush, but to Paige it helped soothe the recent renewed pangs of homesickness. Tennessee had never seemed so far away.

She slung the bag over her shoulder and shot him a smile. “Then I reckon we’d better get moving.”

Nick’s reply was cut off by the loud rumbling approach of a beatup 4x4, replacing any feelings of familiarity with the reality of the situation. Fighting between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers had escalated in the past seventy-two hours, with the villagers scattered across the base of Mt. Maja caught in the crossfire of the conflict. And while the government insisted that President Tau’s army was maintaining control over the situation, the senseless killings being reported only reinforced her helplessness.

Read prologue and more of chapter one.

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