Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Bell Messenger, by Robert Cornuke and Alton Gansky

The Bell Messenger was recommended to me by a visitor to my website. I've asked readers to share some of their favorite book titles with me, and Kay suggested I add The Bell Messenger to my library. I'm so glad I did. The story is a combination of historical fiction and contemporary action.
The authors, Robert Cornuke and Alton Gansky, have spun an intricate plot that revolves around a bible originally carried by a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. When the soldier is mortally wounded in action, he insists that the Union officer who shot him take the bible. “A dry rain cometh if you do not take the book,” he whispers.
In the story that follows, the bible eventually comes to a young man in 1980, and through his efforts the reader learns of the book's journey from a Virginia battlefield to a California railroad camp, into World War I, and across the sands of Egypt. Each life it touches connects with the life of the previous owner. Ordinarily I don’t like stories that use an object to connect decades, but The Bell Messenger manages to do so without feeling episodic.
A word to squeamish readers—the battle scenes are quite graphic. A little more so than I would have liked. However, the fascinating tales of the bible's owners more than make up for a little gore. At the end, Cornuke and Gansky tie the various sections together in a satisfying conclusion.
I recommend The Bell Messenger. I’d love to hear comments from others who've read it.


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