THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.
Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.
But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.
A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.
Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.
This is really and exceptional book. It is very unique in the Christian genre as it deals with some rather intense issues and the hero of the story has a questionable reputation. While the book has many dark themes, the author uses humor to lighten it up, which makes for a good mix. It also has a strong historical thread that I found intriguing and enlightening. I thought Bartels did a great job describing the events involving Malta and Marie Antoinette. The novel may have seemed like your everyday thriller at the start, but it hit home as the story developed and we saw two men, one a fake preacher and the other an ex-con who was converted while serving time, both question the faith upon which they have built their lives. As the book unfolds we see them find inner strength and their true selves, It was not only an action-packed read, but had a real moral to the story. I was impressed.
~Reviewed by Pat B.