Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Brouwer’s Broken Angel Twists and Surprises

  • 2008 25 Sep
Brouwer’s <i>Broken Angel</i> Twists and Surprises

Author:  Sigmund Brouwer
Title:  Broken Angel
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press

When Caitlyn’s father abandons her in the wilderness, leaving the young woman with only instructions about how to escape to “Outside” and memories of his intense survival training, he also warns her to never let “them” capture her—dead or alive. 

Caitlyn knows she is different.  How could she not, with that huge hump on her back and the thick mass of hair covering her spindly fingers and arms?  What Caitlyn doesn’t know is that she’s being hunted by a bloodthirsty bounty hunter and his bloodhounds, who will stop at nothing to capture her—dead or alive.  Caitlyn also has no understanding of how truly evil Appalachia, the rural place where she was raised, actually is.

Run by zealous “elders” under the watchful eye of Bar Elohim, Appalachia is a theocracy where those who disobey even the slightest edict are killed or sent to work as slave labor.  Cars and books are not allowed, but computers are—although they’re all linked to the town’s mainframe.  Everyone must also carry a “vidpod,” a GPS device that records conversations and transmits video messages from authorities.  Animals and some people even have tracking chips embedded into their muscles.

Because of her deformity, Caitlyn has never made friends, so she had no regrets about leaving the rural enclave of Appalachia.  Nor the trek, which she must make on foot.  It’s still a daunting thought—even if she has no idea she’s being pursued .  What Caitlyn is really worried about is her father, however.  Why is he leaving her?  Why is he crying? And what must she make of the cryptic note he thrust into her hands, just before forcing her to rappel down a cliff?  Eventually, all will be revealed, but not without devastating consequences.

The author of 18 novels for children and adults, is no newcomer to the writing scene.  His recent novel, The Last Disciple, co-written with Hank “The Bible Answer Man” Hanegraaff, was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America.  Brouwer also teaches writing workshops.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that his latest boasts quality writing.

Brouwer’s characters are extremely well developed, and his descriptions are excellent.  His pacing is rapid, and he fills the book with plenty of twists and surprises, right up to the very end.  He definitely keeps readers turning pages, while transporting them to another world—one that is very scary indeed.  And that, perhaps, is the book’s one drawback.  

In addition to graphic depictions of torture, which will make many squeamish, Broken Angel is dark.  There is hope in the midst of that darkness, but readers will be left with the disconcerting sense that the world—and evangelical Christians—are on a deadly path.  As Brouwer says in his Amazon blog:

The greatest danger in the politicalization of faith awaits for the day it might have total success, a danger that America’s founding fathers foresaw by establishing the separation of church and state. Horrible and godless as a democracy might appear at times to the religious right in America, it is still far more inviting than the reign of the Christian Inquisition or the current theocracy in Iran.

He makes an excellent point, in the context of a well-written, fast-paced sci-fi thriller.  If you’re searching for a breezy inspirational story, however, you may want to look elsewhere.