In the early hours of the morning, a group of armed terrorists enter an apartment complex on
During her morning run, Amber Robbins, an international reporter for the Washington National, comes across the crime scene. Amber surveys the front of the building and one chilling factor stands out—the door jamb has been painted red. As the first Western reporter on the scene, Amber plunges headlong into an investigation which is quickly dubbed the Passover Massacre. It soon becomes apparent that this is not a normal Palestinian terrorist attack. In her bid to uncover the truth, Amber’s research finds her traveling from
Mohammed Faheedi, an Iranian Intelligence Officer, also follows the Passover Massacre with interest. An Islamic splinter group called the Martyr’s Brigade is soon connected to the massacre. But why would a group who’s past attacks have been on Western held assets in the Middle East and Europe suddenly turn on Jerusalem? This question raises many doubts for Mohammed, who soon sets out on his own investigation.
Amber and Mohammed’s search for answers does not go unnoticed, and they soon find themselves running for their lives as they try to protect the innocent caught up in a religious battle.
By The Sword is a fast paced novel that accelerates the action even more with a page-turner ending. The only disappointment for me was an unconnected plot element in the middle which raised questions towards the end. If you fail to pick up on this, then it is a smooth read that won’t leave you disappointed—and eager for more. A nice little hook ending promises another book will be on the way.
I came away from this book with mixed feelings. Quite often we fail to see beyond our own backyards. Many of us live in a country where religious freedom is the norm and we have a right to choose who we worship. Persecution is minimal. Yet we get so caught up in the materialism of our lives and what we class as “hardship” that we don’t see what others have to face. We can walk down the street and openly display our faith in Jesus without the fear of death. We can walk into Christian churches freely knowing we won’t be massacred for our faith.
By The Sword was a reminder to me that I should rejoice in my freedom. I have been blessed to live in a country where I can worship God without a death threat hanging over my head. It also reminded me not to get so caught up in my own trials that I forget those who are less fortunate and are martyred for their beliefs.
Interview with Mike Yorkey
Provided by Glass Road Public Relations
How did the idea for this book spark?
My church pastor, Rick Myatt, and I began talking about writing a novel in the spring of 2000, based upon our mutual love for thrilling fiction. I wanted the lead character to be an investigative reporter who chases after a major, global-changing story. I had done some investigative reporting for a small-town newspaper when I started my journalism career, and I'll never forget how my job was on the line when I investigated the tax judgments and liens filed against the most powerful politician in the county. Fortunately, the story stuck, and voters recalled him eight months later in a special election.
Rick and I were also interested in the
Who handled the research? Plot line? The actual writing?
I handled the research and the actual writing, although Rick wrote bits and pieces of dialogue because he had a good ear for pious "religious" talk. Rick was great in talking out loud on the plot line . . . if we have this person do that, then we can do this . . . we really haven't had any readers predict what happens in By the Sword, which is great since the last thing we wanted to do was write a predictable novel.
How do you think 9/11 affected the way publishers and readers view your story?
September 11 was huge-and didn't help us at all. As the
Getting back to 9/11, Rick and I hustled and finished our novel by December 2001. When our agent sent it out, the response was . . . underwhelming. In fact, no one wanted to touch a novel with a major terrorist act, and publishers were wary of how much interest Americans had regarding the turbulent
We got rejected by every CBA publisher doing fiction. Some acquisition editors were forthright in their reasons behind the rejections, and we listened to them. One pointed out how the manuscript was not ready for prime time because of its writing quality. I took those criticisms to heart. I studied books on writing fiction. I rewrote scene after scene. I combined characters and simplified a few plot threads. I avoided any narration and stuck to action. I eliminated flashbacks. I tightened up the prose and reworked the dialogue. I reworked plot details based upon the
Writers often find that their books mirror real life in ways they never anticipated. Have you seen this happen with By the Sword?
Very much so. Rick and I are blown away with the new president of
How has writing fiction differed from non-fiction? Which do you find harder to write?
Fiction is definitely more difficult and more pleasing to write. Readers can tell when amateurs are writing fiction. I'm sure the manuscript we finished in 2001 was pretty amateurish. But we learned from our mistakes and have written a pleasing, professional book that is entirely plausible while still keeping readers turning pages. In other words, I had a ball writing a book that I would want to read.
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