The writing could also be strengthened.  Parshall occasionally mixes pronouns used to identify characters, which is confusing, and he tends to “tell” too much.  The weakest aspect of the book, however, is its Christian message.  To be sure, that message is a strong one constructed of solid theology.  But, in the book, it comes across as a series of sermons.  They take readers out of the story and into a classroom dominated by a seminary professor, throwing off the pacing and leaving the impression that Parshall only wrote the book to debunk Freemasonry and show how dangerous it is.

Many Christian authors succumb to the belief that fiction is an excellent bully pulpit.  Others insist that the goal of fiction, much like films, is to entertain—and that any message contained therein should be one which allows the reader to see or not see that message, in the “those who have eyes to see and ears to hear” vein.  That’s what Jesus did when he told stories.  He merely pointed to the truth, using symbols and analogies.  Only his disciples were given the true meaning of his stories. 

Those who are used to the gospel being presented like a sermon in Christian fiction will probably enjoy the book for its thriller aspect.  Others—most likely those at whom that message is directed—could find it too pedantic and pushy.

**This review first published on May 5, 2009.