Guarding the Past (revised edition): Book One

D. L. Crager

Publisher: Trilogy Christian Publishers Pages: 470 Price: (ebook) $12.99 ISBN: Reviewed: November, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

Guarding the Past takes its protagonist on a physical, moral and spiritual journey, as the archeologist heads to a remote African jungle, where he discovers that the “backward” inhabitants are far ahead of the “modern” world in science and technology.

Just as Benjamin Maschel, who will receive his PhD in archeology in a week, is about to give up hope that any of his grant proposals will be accepted, a mysterious manila envelope arrives. Inside is a cryptic message offering him $100,000 and the chance for archeological discoveries beyond his dreams—provided he keep the offer secret and travel blindly to an unknown destination.

Ben is shocked to end up at a mountain enclave in the Congo inhabited by the Israelite descendants of Solomon. He soon discovers he’s the last in the line of King David’s warriors, destined to be the Guardian of all of Solomon’s treasures and a host of other items that attest to a literal acceptance of the Bible. The only problem with Ben becoming the Guardian is the fact that he’s an atheist.

Soon, he meets the beautiful Mariah, who tries to convert him to a belief in God, meanwhile adding romance to the plot. From here, the book becomes a blend of Indiana Jones meets Thomas Aquinas on his way to the lost Ark (or Arks), combined with various Israelite families seeking to take over Guardian duties and making it hard to discern the good guys from the bad.

Regardless of one’s faith, the romance, infighting and problems in Ben’s conversion are believable, and Mariah’s arguments for the existence of God are thought provoking. The narrative moves slowly at times, however, and could be tightened to create a faster pace. Additionally, the author’s prose can be awkward (“Benaiah adorned a grin of agreement…”; “Smiling with a quick spout of laughter…”).

Despite such issues, Guarding the Past is largely engaging and will have readers pondering the nature of God throughout.

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