The Church Builder
By A.L. Shields
420 Pages

About Book: One group focused on destroying all religion.
One group struggling to preserve the church.
One woman searching for the truth.

The evidence is against her. The FBI is right behind her. A malevolent killer has her in his sights. And as Bethany digs deeper into a complex web of lies surrounding her ties to the murder of her client's son, she remains unaware of the real battle in front of her. She thinks her friend Annabelle was killed because of what she learned about a rumored first-century Christian artifact. What Bethany doesn't know is that Annabelle died in the crossfire between two shadowy organizations that have been doing battle for centuries.

The Wilderness, wealthy and vast, is dedicated to the destruction of all religious faith. The Garden, a group of seven members led by a man they call the Builder, carries on a grim, secret struggle to protect the church. Only a few in the Garden realize that there's more at stake than the artifact the Wilderness is seeking. But as Bethany discovers that she's a tiny part of a larger war, can she trust the Builder to save her? Or will he sacrifice her for the sake of the cause?

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to A.L. Shields. His new book The Church Builder is one that will make you think, creep you out in parts (at the magnitude of this chess game the main character finds herself in as a pawn – it’s all to real), have you admire Bethany Barclay in how she thinks and have you care for her situation. It’s crazy. This story reminded me of a few movies; One the Fugitive with Harrison Ford. Bethany Barclay (a Harrison Ford type character – who is a small town lawyer in this story) comes home to find someone dead in her kitchen. She immediately calls 911. The police arrive and interrogate her and tell her not to leave town they will have more questions for her.

This tale revolves around two secret societies opposing each other in the middle of a religious battle. Which brings me to the other movie this reminded me of was The Davince Code. Bethany realizes she’s being framed for murder. All the evidence is stacked against her. Her only hope is to find the killer herself. The only real lead she had was to find out who killed her friend Annabelle. Annabelle was trying to find the Pilate Stone for the cult she belonged to; the man found dead in her house had a connection to the cult too. Everyone wanted their hands on this artifact. Her friend was close to the discovery when she was murdered. Finding the artifact would change how everyone viewed the church and Christ! Bethany knew the two were connected but how? There lies the mystery, suspense, drama, intrigue.

I liked Bethany. She was smart, compassionate, vulnerable, committed in doing the right thing. She’s surprised at her situation. She never expected to be fighting for her life and that of so many others. This is a great book for a book club discussion. There is so much in here. It will make you stop and look at life and church differently. The word says we fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. This author gives us a peek at this very notion. This is the first book in the series. This is a book you won’t want to miss and an author to watch.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins


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