Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: Sudden Peril by Frank Richardson

I recently had the opportunity to read Sudden Peril by Frank Richardson, and I have to say, I was very intrigued by the story. Let me share the backliner, and then I'll tell you my thoughts about the novel.

Jamie Madero's summer internship turns out to be anything but ordinary when he discovers the truth about The Freemen Foundation. Now outnumbered and outgunned, Jamie and his fellow Insiders must stay one step ahead of their enemies to survive in this high-stakes novel of intrigue and deception. This perfect adrenaline rush of a book is suspenseful, surprising, and packed with action. You won't be able to put it down.

The main character, as mentioned in this backliner, brings us into the world of The Freemen Foundation. We go with Jamie as he believes he's being offered a job to discovering that he's been recruited into the foundation, and we experience his wonder at the purposes behind the foundation's mission. From there, we leave Jamie and move on to other characters, coming to know them and the reasons for their commitment.

The Freemen Foundation is a group of men and women who have chosen to devote their lives to rooting out modern-day Gadianton robbers operating in huge corporations. They act as spies, going into these corporations, discovering where laws are being broken, and turning the information over to the authorities. This is the way they have chosen to bear the standard of truth and to live up to their beliefs. And from that sentence, you might have already guessed that most of the members of the foundation are LDS.

I enjoyed reading about a group of people who didn't just wring their hands and say, "Oh, isn't that too bad" when faced with the problem of corruption. They decided to do what they could to make the world a better place one step at a time. Many of the corporations they infiltrated were mysteriously doing away with whistle-blowers, and so were not only stealing money and funding things they shouldn't have been funding, but committing murder as well.

One might question, how could Latter-day Saints, in good conscience, deliberately join an organization that operates in secret ... doesn't that make them guilty of belonging to a secret combination? And how could these Latter-day Saints spy, take up arms, and beat people up, all without losing their Church membership?

These questions did pop into my head as I read, but I just as quickly dismissed them. Men of God have always been called upon to fight for the sake of righteousness. Whether it be to protect their families, or their lands ... think about Captain Moroni, and Teancum. Think about all the soldiers who go out to war to fight for our freedoms. Being a soldier does not make you any less a man of God.

Let's talk about secret combinations for a moment. As near as I can tell from the research I've done, a secret combination takes place when evil men take upon themselves an oath to serve Satan. We see the earliest example of this in Cain's murder of Abel. These men then murder all those who stand in the way of achieving their goals, which are money, power, and domination.

If this is the definition of a secret combination, then we can't place that label on just any old group that operates in secret. Think for a minute about the CIA and the FBI. They are called upon to go undercover and pretend to be things they are not, but they operate for the ultimate good of protecting us and bringing criminals to justice. Would we call them secret combinations? Well, I know some people who don't like these organizations and might call them all sorts of names, but that's not what I'm after. The point I'm making is that you can most certainly operate in secret without desiring to serve the devil, and I believe it's not too far of a stretch for the author to invent a group of righteous men and women who work surreptitiously to bring down evil.

Anyway, off my analysis and on to my closing thoughts ...

The story is tense and gritty, but never gratuitously violent. I appreciated the author's ability to convey the high stakes in a scene without resorting to foul language. It's the perfect combination of suspense and action without gore and guts. I liked the imagination, the speculation, and the way this novel asked me, "What would I do to protect my family, my home, my religion, from evil men in these latter days?" I think it's a question we all should ask ourselves from time to time.

FTC: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my review. My vehemence and conjecture were thrown in as icing on the cake and were neither solicited by, or expected by, the author or his publisher.


Abby said...

OOOOH! This sounds intriguing! It is going on my "must read" list. I love books like this. Great review. I can't wait to check it out. :)

Susan Aylworth said...

Your analysis of the Gadiantons and the Freemen is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Those of us who turn our noses up at men such as the fictional Freemen (or the real FBI/CIA) may be forced to recognize that we are their partners, letting them do the dirty work that we eschew but benefitting from their service.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Great review, Tristi! <3

Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

Frank said...

Tristi, as always you give more than you take. In this case, you have deepened and enriched the discussion of appropriate steps honorable people can take to combat evil. Whenever you chip in, things get better. Thanks for all you do.

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