Also by this author: The Promise, The Drummer Boy, Sinner, Green, The Dream Traveler's Quest, Into the Book of Light, The Curse of Shadownman, The Garden and the Serpent, The Final Judgment, Millie Maven and the Bronze Medallion, Blessed Child
Series: The Caleb Books #2
Published by Thomas Nelson on September 2002
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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One man holds the key to finding the Ark of the Covenant.
In this explosive sequel to Blessed Child, Rebecca Soloman leads a team deep into the Ethiopian desert to hunt the one man who may know the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. But Islamic extremists fear that the Ark's discovery will compel Israel to rebuild Solomon's temple on the very site of their own holy mosque in Jerusalem.
They immediately dispatch Ismael, their most accomplished assassin, to pursue the same man. But the one in their sights is no ordinary man. His name is Caleb, and he is also on a quest--to find again the love he embraced as a child.
As tension mounts between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations, David ben Solomon is convinced the only way for it to dissipate is to take it to the boiling point. Muslims have been in control of the Temple Mount for far too long and it is time for Israel to take back what is theirs. But the only way this will ever happen is if Israel decides to rebuild the Temple. And this will only happen if Israel has the Ark of the Covenant. Following some enigmatic leads, he sends his daughter, archaeologist-turned-assassin Rebecca ben Solomon, deep into the heart of Ethiopia to find the one man who may know the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Caleb.
Hot on her trail is an Islamic assassin named Ishmael, intent on killing Rebecca and her crew not just to satisfy a personal revenge but also to ensure that the Ark is never found. Chaos and cacophony surround the formerly peaceful monastery called Debra Demarro. Caleb flees into the desert, both to escape and to find himself. And that is only the beginning.
A Man Called Blessed picks up several years after Blessed Child. Caleb has grown but his faith has diminished. Life has become humdrum rather than a miracle. That childlike faith he once had seems to have disappeared. He now lives in the rebuilt remains of the monastery he grew up in, but the spiritual power it held seems to have vanished. The novel is one of searching: Caleb for his lost faith, Rebecca for the artifact she believes will save her people, Ishmael for the revenge he believes will save his people. Unfortunately, the political storyline of obtaining the artifact—it’s the Ark of the Covenant, of course—dominates the book, reducing what could have been a contemplative character study to a generic Indiana Jones knockoff.
The action is fine. The dialogue is a bit clunky. The pacing lags except for when there’s action, in which case it moves too quickly. The heart of the book should be the motivations of all the major players, but the focus is instead placed on the political and religious machinations behind it all. The idea that the Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia isn’t a fictional one. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant in Axum, having safeguarded it since it was stolen from Jerusalem during the reign of Solomon. All of that is quite unlikely, but the legends of the Ark have persisted.
A Man Called Blessed is a story about the location of God’s presence, not one that sits upon a religious relic but one who lives in the heart of his people. That’s the theme of the book. While others seek the artifact or the revenge they believe will save them, Caleb rediscovers the true presence of God, not in any Ark but in his heart. If that theme had been developed in any substantial way, or if the plot had been anything but a generic quest action/adventure novel, A Man Called Blessed might have lived up to the expectations set by Blessed Child. It’s hardly the worst of Ted’s novels, but it might be the least original and the most stock Christian Fiction.