The Fire Seekers by Richard Farr (The Babel Trilogy, Book 1). 256 pages.
The Fire Seekers is a rare book that defies categorization. Is it Christian fiction? Science fiction? Mystery? Suspense? At first I thought it might be Christian fiction, but discovered halfway through the book that it wasn’t. If it was, it would be one of the best Christian novels I have read in a long time. But alas, even though the subject matter explores the concept of religion, it isn’t Christian. I’m reluctant to give out too much information about the book, lest I spoil it for a future reader, but here is the promo material on Amazon.
An undeciphered language in Crete. A rash of mysterious disappearances, from Bolivia to Japan. An ancient warning at the ruins of Babel. And a new spiritual leader, who claims that human history as we understand it is about to come to an end.
Seventeen-year-old Daniel Calder’s world falls apart when a freak accident brings personal tragedy—and he discovers there’s a link between the accident and a wildly successful new cult, the Seraphim. Catapulted into a violent struggle for humanity’s past and future, he’s not even sure who the enemy is, or if he’s battling a phantom that doesn’t exist. But as Daniel puts his life on the line, he is forced to conclude that our very survival as a species will depend on who, and what, we choose to believe.
The characterization is impeccable, the dialogue is funny yet believable, and the plotting is tremendous.
But what makes this book so special for me is the surprise. I was kept guessing all the way along. And during the entire 256 pages, until the end, I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. That is significant to me, a writer who all too often stops reading a book because I know what’s going to happen.
The other thing that blew me away is how much detail there was, and how apparently knowledgeable the author is. I am talking expertise in cooking, anthropology, philosophy, archeology, modern and ancient languages, physics and medicine. The author is either brilliant or spent a great deal of time doing research. Probably both. He also includes extensive end notes for those who are interested in where he got his ideas.
But that’s not to say the book is perfect. I would feel like I am cheating you if I didn’t point out at least one or two minor mistakes. The biggest thing was plausibility. One of the major characters suffers four broken ribs, a broken back, and a broken leg, but in what seems like no time, he is out and running from bad guys before you know it. The other thing that annoyed me was a prologue that provided massive amounts of exposition. It’s necessary to give context for the story; just not all at one time.
I just wish I could find a Christian novel of this caliber. In any case, I recommend this book. Highly. Five out of five stars.