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Men of Grit Adventure #3

Secret of the Lost Settlement: The Duty of Warriors

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Colonel Nobody (The Boy Colonel) and the Stoning twins (Brothers at Arms) are back! Outlawed for a crime he did not commit, the ''Boy Colonel'' must seek pardon by finding witnesses to his supposed crime in the whaling fleet off Greenland's coast. But his plans go awry when his search amidst the fjords and shifting ice-mountains leads him into a hidden valley peopled by descendants of a Roman expedition lost during Nero's reign.

When twins Lawrence and Chester Stoning arrive with news of Queen Victoria's ultimatum, Colonel Nobody must decide whether to stay and protect the colony's persecuted Christians or venture to escape with the proof needed to save his best friend from hanging. Or will he survive the settlement's horrors long enough to do either?

332 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2013

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About the author

John J. Horn

7 books61 followers
As the youngest child in a book-loving family, it took me a while to realize that there was such a thing as a boring book.

My special love has been the fiction of 19th-century authors such as G.A. Henty, R.M. Ballantyne, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, and more. Of course, these were imperfect men who wrote imperfect stories, but the themes they espoused, such as courage, diligence, mercy, protecting the weak, and fighting for the right has greatly influenced my writing. Although I don't seek to replicate their styles, I do find inspiration in their tales of adventure, and seek to communicate that in fresh ways to a new generation.

The greatest influence in my life has been my faith in God. I am a firm Christian, no 'buts,' 'excepts,' or apologies. My goal with each book is to glorify God and encourage readers to be more Christlike, even as they enjoy the action and adventure of each story.

My historical novels weave exciting plots into a background of historical reality. Most of my characters and their actions are fictional, but the world they inhabit is based on life as it really was. Technology progresses, fashions die or are reborn, the way we talk evolves (or devolves, depending on your point of view), countries gain or lose territory, and the world changes in many other ways through the centuries, but what it means to be a human being does not change. We face the same struggles, the same fears, the same temptations, the same victories, and the same joys as the citizens of Ancient Rome, or the knights of the Middle Ages, or the gentlemen of Victorian England.

Many complain that Christian fiction is “preachy.” Is mine? Well, I don't pause my stories to deliver diatribes or altar calls. But I absolutely do weave my faith in Christ into my stories and seek to communicate vital messages and themes in each novel. If a book doesn't have the potential to make you a stronger Christian in some way, it's probably not worthwhile reading. But that doesn't preclude action, adventure, and all the rest from any of my stories, because I find that a Christian's life is the most exciting of all.

I write mystery, intrigue, action, adventure, suspense, and wholesome romance.

I do NOT write blasphemy, cursing, magic, sensuality, evolution, or humanism.

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5 stars
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26 (26%)
3 stars
17 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews826 followers
November 13, 2017
4.5 stars.

*is NOT okay* *is still glaring at author* *is still glaring at friend who loaned me this and didn't give me warning* :D

WOWWWWZAAAAAAAA. Just wow. I can't even. OH MY GOODNESS! This book is one wild ride after another! I'm not sure I even breathed while reading this. As I've mentioned in a previous review of this series, while these books are quite unrealistic, they are still a ton of fun, and somehow just "work". I'm not a fan of unrealistic adventure stories, or adventure stories in general, really, but this was so . . . just crazy fun! I stayed up wayyy to many nights to finish it. This author's talent is suspense and action! And it wasn't all action either - there was a lot of heart in it too! I sobbed through the ending. Because I TOTALLY did not see it coming! O:O And Lawrence and Pacerina are ADORABLE, as is Chester, and Nobody and his betrothed, too. <3 <3

If you love adventure stories, I highly recommend this! And even if you don't . . . maybe still give it a try? You might like it. I did.

Profile Image for Jayna Baas.
Author 3 books139 followers
January 7, 2022
Time travel without the time travel. Because I’ve read the first two books in the Men of Grit series, I’ve gotten used to ignoring editing flaws and having my sense of reality a bit stretched. But still—walking through a tunnel in a mountain in nineteenth-century Greenland and stumbling into a lost Roman colony? A colony that still operates exactly like Rome, all these centuries later? Yes, reality-stretching. There’s no way the colony actually stayed completely true to first-century Rome after centuries of no contact with the empire. But the story was interesting and an excellent reminder of how depraved Roman culture really was. Because of that, I don’t recommend this book for younger readers. The issues are dealt with fairly well, but there’s a lot of violence, some torture, and lots of characters in Roman slave mines and arenas. It truly did feel like time travel, and I applaud the author for his skill in portraying Rome and the challenges facing early Christians in the first century—or the nineteenth century, take your pick. It got hard sometimes to remember that this wasn’t actually happening in the first century and that it wasn’t fair to judge it by the standard of “But I don’t think I can see the apostle Paul doing that…”

By far my favorite part of this was getting to see the Stoning twins again. Colonel Nobody is great, too, but I really enjoy Lawrence and Chester—and Pacarina is a nice addition! This book was different from the first one that featured the Stoning twins, because this time it’s in third person instead of Lawrence’s first-person POV, but the personality contrasts were still excellent—and often hilarious. Having Lawrence and Chester in the same book with Jacques and O’Malley was just a riot sometimes. There was one character whose storyline, while tragic, didn’t seem to add much to story, in my opinion, but I understood how it played into Colonel Nobody’s struggle to learn to fight all over again. Could he actually do everything he did after being treated the way he was? I don’t know, but if anybody could, it would be Colonel Nobody. Because of the violence and one sad twist near the end, it’s not going to be one of my top favorite re-reads, but I enjoyed it. Plenty of adventure and drama!
Profile Image for Micaiah.
155 reviews
April 1, 2019
THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC. (might update my review sometime. we shall see.)

As most of you probably know by now, John J. Horn is my favorite author. He's an incredible writer, and I'm a huge fan. Brothers at Arms? Easily my favorite fictional book. Each of his novels weave together adventure, heart-pounding action, humor, and a whole lot of great story-telling, along with Christian morals and faith messages.

But Secret of the Lost Settlement was so completely different than his last two books. The message was bold and John didn't shy away from delving into it. The message is what this book is all about. The duty of warriors? This is it.

I think that's sort of what I loved about it.

I cried, I laughed, and I hurt. Both times I've read it I've been entwined into the character's lives and the story. Horn has an amazing writing style - he knows how to craft a well-told tale. All of his books are adrenaline-pumping adventures set in exotic locations.

You know what, I'll take a detour and talk about locations for a sec. (Random? Maybe a little.)

All three books in this series have really amazing settings - the jungles of Peru, the frozen steppes of Siberia, and the icy mountain ranges of Greenland. (Now, whenever I hear someone talking about Peru or Siberia, I perk up...haha!) I love the settings!

Back to Secret.

The characters? They're all back - with a few new additions, of course. Colonel Nobody, ever his super-serious self, is even more so in this book - but for a reason. All of the trials that Noble goes through in this novel he deals with incredibly well. He stands strong, and in the midst of it all he still is gallant and brave.

Now, Law: he is so different in this book! He's matured. There's a part near the end where he steps up to save Pacarina, and he fights Roman soldiers by himself. He fights soldiers. If you guys have read Brothers at Arms, then you'll know why this is so cool.

Chester is ever his impetuous, fun-loving self. And he gets an upgrade on The Eyesore, much to Lawrence's chagrin. (Love it!) Chester is such a great character.

Jacques and O'Malley? Well, I can safely say they haven't changed much, even in the midst of being outlawed. Jacques doesn't take to Chester very well (but then he finds out who the Stonings are in relation to his beloved Colonel Nobody, and things quickly turn in the opposite direction).

John handles his themes well, never going into so much detail you would want to put the book down. There are much more mature elements in this book because of the Romans and their horrid practices, but again, they're handled pretty well.

I must admit I was partially disappointed that the series suddenly became much more serious overall in this novel. Sure, there's the always-present humor that I love about John's novels, but it feels heavier.

Why I Recommend This:

The message; the characters; the story. The message...of doing the right thing, making the right choice, even when the outcome isn't what you'd hoped it would be. The characters...who stand strong when the odds seem impossible. They don't give up. They fight for the right and for the innocent and for the just cause. The story...is bittersweet and will most likely touch you deeply and leave you in tears.

It's a historical, adventurous, God-honoring, sometimes nerve-racking ride that you won't soon forget.
Profile Image for Bekah.
Author 11 books24 followers
May 5, 2017
This book was amazing. It was fun to be reunited with old characters and I was soon chuckling at the humor this author very seamlessly wove into this story to provide comic relief in a very intense, yet wonderful, godly story.

What I Liked: This was a story with godly truths mixed in very well. I quickly became lost in the story as Colonel Nobody began his journey to find six crewman of the ship "Miriam" to prove his innocence and get his friend, Edmund, out of jail before he is sentenced. When Nobody and his men accidentally stumble upon an ancient Roman civilization where the people are seemingly unaware that there's a world beyond their valley, Nobody realizes that he's in danger of never getting home.

The cruelty, wickedness, and horror of the Roman empire was depicted very well in this book, but it was also done tastefully. It seemed to give a very accurate view of what ancient Rome was like, but this author didn't go too far and wasn't too graphic, even though the selfishness, greed, wickedness, and immorality of the people in this valley were not masked.

I was cheering Colonel Nobody and his men, the twins, and Pacarina on as they strove to be a light for Christ in the midst of a dark, dark valley. Biblical principles are shown in this story and I appreciate John J. Horn's strong stand for the Bible in this book. He wove this story very well and I wanted to find out what happened quickly, but at the same time I wanted to take my time and savor the story. Jacques and O'Malley kept me laughing, the bravery of the twins and the lessons they learn through this adventure were fun to read and kept me on the edge of my seat, and Nobody's stand for what was right and all of the godly characters relationships with Christ were inspiring.

What I Didn't Like: There wasn't anything that I didn't like about this book. I definitely recommend it for older readers in their teens. This story is very intense at times and deals with some very cruel subjects, but this story was very good.

I give this book 5 stars for an excellent story that encouraged me in my own faith. Excellent job, John J. Horn. Perhaps you have another story about these characters in the works? :) ;) This book will definitely be among my favorites of 2017 and it's quite possible it will be in my top 10.
Profile Image for Alicia Willis.
Author 8 books156 followers
December 25, 2013
14+ for violence and mature themes.
5 Stars.

Get ready for a thrilling escapade - one whose perilous themes will linger in your heart for long after you've read it. It's definitely an improbable, bold adventure. If you enjoyed the previous two installments in the Men of Grit Series, you'll be certain to enjoy this novel.

This book was different from the other two books in the series, at least to me. It felt much more masculine, as if it were meant for guys. Horn's writing style has always been more bold and blunt, but this novel felt especially so. And the violence was definitely kicked up a few notches. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it does lean on the guy side as far as books go.

On a historical level, I was very happy! This book felt and was very well researched. I even learned some new facts! Of course, as a historian myself, I could quibble over tiny details, but they were a matter of individuality. Every historian has different takes on things. I felt the ancient Roman settlement was very well portrayed. (Hence my 14+ rating.) Topics such as abortion, slavery, and flogging were covered, naturally from an edifying Christian worldview.

I liked the story-line very much. It wasn't a "fluff" book. It was real, gripping, and young men in particular could learn a lot from the godly characters depicted. On the more controversial topics (such as deceiving one's enemy), Horn always explained from the Bible why the characters were doing right. One thing I liked was that this wasn't a happily-ever-after story. I cannot say I was surprised by the ending. Horn tends to give subtle hints about where the story is going, which I like. And the end portrayed the duty of true warriors in a very godly, honest fashion.

I didn't cry, but there were several times (especially the end) where my heart was pounding and I felt sick. Good books do that to you. They make you think and come away changed. This is such a book. I recommend it to historical-fiction fans, history buffs, and young men with a heart to learn about the true duty of warriors.

I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The sentiments herein are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Mikayla.
900 reviews
March 18, 2020
This was a hard book to rate. I've been waiting to read it for a long time, so when I finally got it, I dived in and read most of it in one day (I probably would have gotten through in one day, but I had to sleep eventually). The plot and idea were very good, I loved all the characters, but I did find myself disappointed a bit when I finished the book. They went traipsing all over the world, getting himself hurt, separated from their loved ones, and fighting battles.
So while I enjoyed learning about what happened to the characters, I found myself wishing there was something more to this book.

>>2020 I had trouble re-reading this book knowing the ending. Lawerance is my favorite character, so it was fun to see his part of the story. My main complaint (other than the violence), was how perfect Noble was. I mean, he always does the right things, knows the perfect thing to say, and never looses his cool. He's... frustrating.
Profile Image for Gabriella.
12 reviews
September 27, 2022
Wow. I am at loss for words. This has to be one of the most well written books I’ve read. I was so glad when the Stoning brothers and the boy Colonel finally end up in the same story. The plot is excellent, and you hold your breath throughout the entire book. You feel like your literally there with them, rejoicing in their victories, crying over their losses. John J. Horn does an excellent job capturing the audience and weaving in encouragement. This book, although fiction, truly helps readers to really think about the duty we have as God’s children and to act even though it is hard.
But… I was completely unprepared for the intense battle and the loss involved in the growth of each character. I’m not going to give away any hints, but I will say that it was a tough read with all the horrors of living in a wicked Roman settlement. Yet, even in such dark places, good things can happen. Well done, Mr. Horn!
635 reviews29 followers
July 14, 2014
"Secret of the Lost Settlement" is a wild adventure that is fun and original. Even though I have not previously read any of John Horn’s books with these characters, the short introductions provided just enough to get me right into the story where this volume picks up.

My copy came through Goodreads First Reads.
Profile Image for Jeremiah.
17 reviews
January 27, 2020
I really liked it, though I was sad at points. I would very much recommend this whole series. I think its safe to say these are my favorite books, and John J. Horn has become my favorite author. So if you like fiction, adventure, action, and humor than you should read this series.
Profile Image for Erin.
142 reviews11 followers
February 28, 2022
Colonel Nobody (The Boy Colonel) and the Stoning twins (Brothers at Arms) are back! Outlawed for a crime he did not commit, the ''Boy Colonel'' must seek pardon by finding witnesses to his supposed crime in the whaling fleet off Greenland's coast. But his plans go awry when his search amidst the fjords and shifting ice-mountains leads him into a hidden valley peopled by descendants of a Roman expedition lost during Nero's reign.
When twins Lawrence and Chester Stoning arrive with news of Queen Victoria's ultimatum, Colonel Nobody must decide whether to stay and protect the colony's persecuted Christians or venture to escape with the proof needed to save his best friend from hanging. Or will he survive the settlement's horrors long enough to do either?

3.5 of 5 stars
After reading the first two books, I wasn't sure how I would like this one, but I definitely enjoyed it! I liked the Stoning twins more than Colonel Nobody, so I found myself just trying to read through the parts without the twins quickly so I could get back to Chester and Lawrence. I also thought that Nobody was kind of ungrateful to the twins, so that annoyed me. However, I still liked the characters in this story. I still loved Pacarina, and I was disappointed we didn't see Lady Liana more throughout this book. I also hated most of the Roman characters, but I think I was supposed to, so that's okay.
I did enjoy the Rome aspect of the story, because it made it almost feel like they had time-travelled, and I enjoy that, because it's always fun when they put loved characters in a totally different time period. I didn't like all the Roman torture parts of the book, because I really didn't need that, but I did enjoy seeing the Christians living in this difficult culture.
One of my favorite parts was just reading about them planning their onslaught on the castle, because I really liked seeing how that came off, and I liked how much we got to see the character development of both sets of characters from the last book. However I really didn't like a few parts of this story, such as...
I would definitely recommend this book to any Christian reader who was looking for an adventurous series to read.
Profile Image for Suzannah.
Author 27 books463 followers
July 6, 2014
This book held a lot of potential. John J Horn seems to have been nourished on exactly the right sort of book, with all the bloody grit of Beowulf tossed into the blender with the outrageous swashbuckling adventure of Rider Haggard and the earnestness of Ballantyne and Henty. When he gets the balance right, as he did in Brothers at Arms, his writing and plotting shines. However, there are things he doesn't do particularly well--yet.

The most obvious flaw in this particular book was the handling of the themes. The themes are all excellent, of course, and I loved the author's regard for the Word. John uses his novels as--well, as war games, if I may use the metaphor again. Unlike many modern-day authors, John never shies away from forcing his characters through tough ethical problems which they have to solve with Scriptures. That's the stuff of real dramatic tension, and it makes for excellent plotting. Unfortunately, the themes in this book usually felt laboured and awkward. There were a number of places where the author's concern for strict theological correctness seemed to overwhelm the flow of the plot, the integrity of the characters, or the believability of the setting.

Read the rest of my review, and an interview with the author, at my blog, Vintage Novels.
Profile Image for Melissa.
831 reviews87 followers
June 3, 2017
This was not my favorite of the three in the series, though it was still a quick read with lots of adventure and many twists and turns. Be aware that there are some dark subjects throughout, and quite a bit of fighting. Some of the important issues addressed were sanctity of life (even those born with mangled bodies), faithful, real love, chivalry, trust in God, and defense of family. There was some good humor and good switching between characters. Overall an exciting read, if a bit depressing (which is somewhat called for with the subject matter).
Profile Image for Violet W..
42 reviews5 followers
July 2, 2022
Horn's subtitles are totally the best! I may be slightly paraphrasing here but I loved this part: There isn't always one right choice. But to make the best choice, even if it's hard is the duty of a Christian, and the duty of warriors.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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