Book One Of The Lightning Chronicles

I read a lot of books and while I am not as cynical as the wag that suggests there are only 7 plots in the entire literary world and authors merely recycle these plots over and over, however I do feel that a good many books lack that spark that sets them apart. That is not the case with Distant Thunder, Jimmy Root Jr. has found a most unique angle to base his book around. The basis for his action/thriller novel are two rather obscure chapters from the old testament, Ezekiel 38 and 39. In these writings can be found a prophecy concerning the future well being of the Jewish people in Israel. Is Ezekiel predicting that at some point Israels enemies will rise up united against her?

Distant Thunder weaves two distinct story lines together. In the first we have a group of fanatical Muslim terrorists who have procured some portable nuclear devices from Russia. These devices were ‘liberated’ when the Soviet Union crumbled. Their mission? To destroy the west by detonating them in major cities. In the second story line Israel’s enemies have joined forces and plan to launch an Iranian made missile equipped with an Iranian made nuclear device at the city of Haifa.

Our main heroes are Pastor Ty Dempsey, a peace loving man residing in the small town of Plattsville, Missouri. His life is becomes shattered with the death of his brother serving in Iraq. It is this event that draws Ty into his bible and most particularly the book of Ezekiel. In his eyes there is a clear connection to the the woes befalling the modern world in this ancient text. When he reveals his fears to his congregation not everyone is in agreement and certain elements start to seek his removal from the church. His sermons have started to fragment this quiet community.

In Israel we meet Captain Moshe Eldan, a fighter pilot tasked with keeping the airspace free from intruders. It is through his wife that he learns of Ezekiel’s prophecy. That becomes of even greater importance after he is shot down over the Golan Heights and makes a horrific discovery.

I do not think it is appropriate to reveal any more of the plot at this stage. Distant Thunder is without doubt the hidden gem of the summer. I know it is cliché, but this book is a genuine page turner. I cannot profess to be much of a practicing Christian, the occasional wedding and christening, and as I grow older, funerals are my main occasions to venture into the world of religion. This plot though piqued my interest and for the first time in years actually picked up a bible and read what Ezekiel had to say. My wife almost had heart failure when she saw me do this!

I will now share a secret with you. Jimmy Root Jr. is indeed a pastor in real life. This fact eluded me until I read his biography at the end of the book. I guess I should not have been surprised as the biblical quotes are likely outside of the realm of a regular author. But the style of writing, and indeed the action, thriller plot just does not seem like something I would have expected from a man of the cloth.

There is one section in particular that sticks in my mind. The dieing thoughts of a suicide bomber. It is very thought provoking and ends with the phrase:

Then suddenly and with infinite impact, it dawned on him that the voice was his own, and it was not subsiding. So this was hell.

Great book, grab yourself a copy and take a ride on the wild side. I can not wait for book two in this series.

Distant Thunder
is available from Jimmy Root Jr’s  web site.

Simon Barrett

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