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The Warriors by Mark Andrew Olsen

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The Warriors by Mark Andrew Olsen

Reviewed by John Perrodin

"Author Mark Andrew Olsen struck it big with book one, The Watchers. This follow-up volume has the feel of a rerun."

The first three chapters of The Warriors deliver big. Together they comprise one of the strongest, most stunningly written openers of any book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. Unfortunately, the book plummets from this high into a tedious “Bourne Conspiracy” meets television’s “24”. Only not as exciting.

Author Mark Andrew Olsen struck it big with book one, The Watchers. This follow-up volume has the feel of a rerun. You sense the twists in the road early. The primary problem is that there’s no real menace in the few zombie-like nut cases (filled with the spirit of evil) following the hero and heroine through their paces.

Early on the plot devolves into a drawn-out chase. The towering mountains and greenery of Switzerland, Italy, France, and Germany swoosh by with Abby Sherman, a woman who “sees” messages from God, always taking time to enjoy her surroundings. “Gazing out her window at a field of green grass practically glowing in honeyed sunshine, Abby took in the beauty of the landscape.” In the Swiss Alps “Abby was awakened by a wedge of golden sunshine creeping across her face…” Later, in Southern Switzerland, “The long drive along the Swiss-Italian border had revealed an unending procession of lush green valleys and vast sun-drenched mountain ridges…”

About one-third of the way through the book, Abby says, “But never in my wildest dreams did I think my words would drive you away.”

(Dylan Hatfield, macho would-be love interest, responds.) “You didn’t, Abby, and neither did your words. It was a coincidence really.”

She smiled. “Oh, still believe in coincidences, do we?”

They do and how. The coincidence level in The Warriors soars. Everything remotely stressful gets resolved within a few pages. When the next trauma looms we quickly learn that all will be well soon. Once the reader figures out the pattern, we know exactly what’s going to happen and when.

The first border crossing is permitted because the guardhouse is opportunely hit with lightning before news of the escapees can be transmitted. And so it goes through the entire book. Dr. Skinner, a professor, unbelievably “happens” to be in the right place at the right time about to deliver a lecture on exactly the subject that both Abby and Dylan have taken an interest in. Skinner is a teacher-on-tape that no one can turn off on the topic of the Waldensians, early Protestants who met a violent end.

The Warriors is like Horton Hears a Who without the compelling characters, amusing dialogue, or deeper meaning. It could be named God Hears a Prayer. And as with the Whos in Whoville who demand to be heard, the more prayers the better. Because, apparently, unless and until every possible praying voice is lifted to God, He won’t act – or save. Despite this emphasis on the importance of corporate pleas, ultimately the world is rescued by one man, the hero who wants to survive his ridiculously impossible mission for another kiss from his sweetie.

Discerning readers should pass on The Warriors. Try Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness if you want to experience the excitement of spiritual warfare. Maybe the next book in the series will deliver on the cover promise of a “novel of suspense.” The Warriors, alas, falls far short.

John PerrodinJohn Perrodin is the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild. He co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. The latest release in that series is Seclusion Point (Thomas Nelson). His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, releases in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit www.simplelittlewords.com to find out more about the book, and visit John's website www.johnperrodin.com to find out more about his writing.