For purposes of transparency, I need to state that I came upon this book when I was assigned it on Goodreads as part of a thread on Christian speculative fiction. The authors and readers there agreed to review each other’s books for the purpose of promoting and helping fellow authors grow.
Here’s the official back cover copy for Invasion:
From New Mexico, the land of enchantment, and its history of mighty men comes a modern tale of conflict. Deborah “Stones” Jackson at the ripe, old age of 31 had thought she was done with the covert life. The gut shot during the op in Eastern Afghanistan, compounded by the care of the Jalalabad hospital, had nearly killed her. Ralph, her boss at Black Sail in Maryland, had finally gotten her to Germany for emergency care. Then he sent her back to New Mexico to recover. She wasn’t sure she’d be going back.
But a calling rarely lets up, and Stones was meant for combat. The new foe was devious, coming up from Chihuahua, with support in surprising places. She’d never been faced with traitorous Americans, amazing wealth, and the sheer nastiness of an oppressed people demanding freedom.
Cut off from the East with no resources, Deborah discovers that God has a plan for her which she never could have dreamed—far beyond her wildest imaginations. She’d have to deal with her mother, who was a legendary assassin?!
As you can see, it’s not your typical Christian novel. As I read it, it struck me as a cross between a military sci-fi story and a Christian story, with it leaning heavily toward the former. I was even a bit concerned about the Christian element going into the story, considering several factors that I will mention in a minute, but the author throws in a strong dash of spirituality toward the end that helped me reconsider. But let’s take a look at it a little more systematically.
Theme. The story has a strong military/espionage/conspiracy theme, and the author shows his strength here. He is skilled in bringing in detail and knowledge of military background and weaponry, which helps take you into the story. And the theme of the United States being invaded is one that typically gets me interested. Unfortunately, the concept that Hispanics as a whole are here to turn the Southwest United States into their own country is not only preposterous but offensive. I realize this is only a novel, but fiction has been used in the past to influence people’s attitudes many times. And considering what is going on in politics, it’s something to consider.
Setting. The author does an excellent job with setting, knowing south central New Mexico very well, and being able to take the reader there also. And he uses that knowledge constructively in the story. I was impressed.
Characters. Here is where the cliché military writing appears again. All the men are big and muscular; all the women are curvaceous and gorgeous. In fact, considering this is categorized as a Christian book, I was surprised how often women were referred to by their figure, their beauty or their sexiness, including and especially the female pastor (who also happens to be a CIA assassin). And there are several incidents where women are there merely as objects of desire. One sees that one-dimensional type of characterizing of women in military books quite often, but if the author wants readers other than teenage boys, he needs to reconsider this.
Overall, the book had a relatively interesting story, albeit with a strong demand for suspension of disbelief. As far as military stories go, it was fairly readable. And as I mentioned before, the missing spiritual element appeared later in the story.
But the racial overtones that come with the theme, as well as the obvious ties to current national immigration policy, turned me off from the story pretty early on. If you’re a reader who supports the current administration and believes that immigration is a clear and present danger, there’s a good possibility you might enjoy this book. For me, it was a no vote.
I give it three stars out of five.