This is a vivid first-hand account of the life of an elite Navy SEAL operator. The book focuses on the raid that killed Osama Bin laden, but that onlyThis is a vivid first-hand account of the life of an elite Navy SEAL operator. The book focuses on the raid that killed Osama Bin laden, but that only occupies a little over half of the book. The first portion of the book sets up the life and experiences of a SEAL in "SEAL Team Six," or DEVGROUP, as Owen says they are now known. For those interested in what it is like to train for and carry out various types of dangerous missions (Owen was also deployed on the mission to recover Captain Phillips, among other missions that are recounted here), this book provides a compelling first-person account.
With regard to othe Bin Laden mission, the book provides a riveting and vivid account. The minute-by-minute account of the nighttime raid gives the reader a real sense of what it was like. Owen (the name is a pseudonym) was one of the men who encountered Bin Laden on the third floor of his compound, an encounter that ended in Bin Laden's death.
As an account of the mission, and the life of a SEAL, the book is very well done. I have also reak Mark Bowden's account of the Bin Laden mission, and enjoyed that one more for the lead-up to the assault itself, as Bowden does a great job of describing the hunt for Bin Laden and the intelligence that lead to locating him in Abottobad and in situating the mission in a broader context. In that area, Owen's book is much briefer. But it excels in recounting the mission itself (Bowden's book did quite a good job of that as well, though not in quite as much detail as Owen). So, recommended for those who are interested. I found myself skimming a bit with some of the initial missions, but the pages seemed to turn themselves once the Bin Laden mission began. ...more
Glenn Packiam provides some very insightful reflections on what it means to worship. This book is primarily about retrieval, particularly of the richGlenn Packiam provides some very insightful reflections on what it means to worship. This book is primarily about retrieval, particularly of the rich heritage of worship that has characterized the Christian church from the beginning. But it's not a book about making every church a fully liturgical church. Instead, it calls us to remember that worship is not a means of attracting people to our churches or even primarily a means of expressing affection to God, but it is a storied way of embodying our existence as God's people and acknowledging God's identity and attributes. Worship is something that forms us and forms how we believe. Packiam particularly emphasizes that worship throughout the history of the church (and particularly the storied liturgies) has been carefully crafted by theologians seeking to faithfully embody the riches of the Christian faith. And the Reformation placed great emphasis on worship practices, again with theologians paying great attention to every motion and word. This should be a cautionary tale to worship planners in our age (Packiam himself is one, so he's not demonizing). This is a short and worthwhile read for anyone who wants to think more deeply about worship, and particularly about the worship service....more
This a fascinating and action-packed book, much in the vane of Caldwell's earlier Rule of Four. Caldwell takes the reader into the Vatican and into thThis a fascinating and action-packed book, much in the vane of Caldwell's earlier Rule of Four. Caldwell takes the reader into the Vatican and into the pursuit of mysterious discoveries hidden in ancient texts. The story revolves around the Shroud of Turin and the Diatessaron, both fascinating in their own right. But Father Alex Androu finds himself caught up in mysterious intrigue (which may be orchestrated by the pope himself) when he finds his friend Ugo Nogara murdered. Ugo was just days away from opening an exhibit at the Vatican Museum that centered around the Shroud. Had he discovered something the church didn't want known?
The Fifth Gospel is not unlike the Da Vinci Code, in that it involves a mixture of ancient "history" and modern intrigue. It stays closer to reality, though, instead of being lost in flights of historical fancy. Though it isn't without its problems. The most central is the facile contrast between "theology" and "history" when it comes to reading the Gospels and the Diatessaron (a harmony of the four canonical Gospels that was done by Tatian in the mid- to late second century). In fact, the whole plot of the book basically revolves around the assumption that anything found only in the Gospel of John is unhistorical (in fact, it can't be historical). And that's a frightfully simplistic and outmoded way to approach the Gospels. Most current scholarship has a much-more-nuanced approach to "historicity" that accounts for the fact that all of the Gospels are interpreted history, told with a particular viewpoint (what history isn't?). So don't expect to get sound advice on how to read a Gospel synopsis, but even so, Caldwell does deal with some interesting issues (such as the relationship between the accounts of the various Gospels).
In the end, I thought the weak scholarship detracted, but so too did a few of the later plot turns, which didn't quite hold up to the weight put on them (such as the importance of a note Ugo left and the simple way it was to be redacted to unearth the true message). I guess my biggest complaint that the whole Diatessaron plot was unnecessary, providing another fascinating relic to be sought but also to point out the relationship between the canonical Gospels, in which could be found all of the relevant details. So The Fifth Gospel is a pretty good read, but not spectacular. Its interesting setting within the walls of the Vatican, the pursuit of interesting relics, and the mysterious nature of the plot that seems to be driving the action all make for a pretty good thriller.
Thanks to the publisher and the Amazon Vine program for the advanced reader's copy of the book....more
This book is spectacular. Harry Bosch is on trial for the shooting death of the Dollmaker, an alleged serial killer. And as the trial progresses, a neThis book is spectacular. Harry Bosch is on trial for the shooting death of the Dollmaker, an alleged serial killer. And as the trial progresses, a new death raises doubts about the guilt of the man whom Bosch shot. As uncertainty rises in Bosch's mind, he has to prepare his testimony for the trial while also scrambling to make sense of the newly discovered body. The pall of the Rodney King beatings hangs over Bosch's head, and the mistrust of the LA Police form a backdrop for the book and provides color and life to the setting. The plot is perfectly crafted, and Harry Bosch is a sympathetic yet complex protagonist. This book blends courtroom drama and police procedural together in a perfect mix. It is one of the most enjoyable mysteries I've read, and that's saying a lot. Highly recommended. ...more
This book, the second in the Harry Bosch series, is another solid offering from Connelly. Bosch interposes himself into the investigation of a fellowThis book, the second in the Harry Bosch series, is another solid offering from Connelly. Bosch interposes himself into the investigation of a fellow officer's suicide, and odd overlaps with two of his other murders lead him down a twisted path that leads across the border into Mexico. There is a lot of action in this one, along with the usual mystery. Bosch is a great protagonist....more
This is a pretty good piece of contemporary fiction. A megachurch pastor in Chicago faces a big decision with the prospect of a move into politics. AThis is a pretty good piece of contemporary fiction. A megachurch pastor in Chicago faces a big decision with the prospect of a move into politics. A reporter for a major Chicago paper takes a look at the same megachurch, trying to dig up some dirt. A Chicago lawyer finds himself doing a favor for some unsavory characters. The plot works relatively well, the characters are ably drawn, and the struggles they face certainly echo reality. Strobel definitely writes from experience in the newspaper and legal worlds in Chicago and in the megachurch world as well. ...more
This is a pretty solid mystery, and follows on two other good books by Gruley that also take place in Starvation Lake, Michigan. The small town in norThis is a pretty solid mystery, and follows on two other good books by Gruley that also take place in Starvation Lake, Michigan. The small town in northern Michigan adds a really nice sense of place and makes a great setting for the books, with small-town politics and discoveries about the past playing a role in his plots. The mysteries are well done, and Gus, the newspaper-reporter protagonist makes a good narrator. Enjoyable....more
This 1971 thriller is truly a classic. The plot is well crafted, the characters engaging, and pursuit compelling. The Jackal is a hired gun brought inThis 1971 thriller is truly a classic. The plot is well crafted, the characters engaging, and pursuit compelling. The Jackal is a hired gun brought in to assassinate the French President. He's truly a professional, and his carefully laid plans make even knowing that there is a plot hard for authorities to determine. But once Claude Lebel is on the hunt, he doggedly insists that something is afoot and must gather together shreds of evidence before it is too late. Phenomenal. Don't miss it....more