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
Series: The Martyr's Song #4
Published by Thomas Nelson on August 2005
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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What would you die for?
That's the question suddenly thrust upon a small band of women and children in Bosnia at the close of World War II. When a group of bitter soldiers stumble upon their peaceful village, they suddenly face an insidious evil...and the ultimate test.
It is then, in the midst of chaos and pain that the Martyr's Song is first heard. It is then that the window into heaven first opens. It is then that love and beauty are shown in breathtaking reality.
You have in your hands the story and the song that changed...everything.
By 2005, Ted Dekker was turning himself into a household name in Christian fiction circles. The previous year had been billed “The Year of the Trilogy” with the release of Black, Red, and White and Dekker took home his first Christy Award for 2003’s Thr3e. He was now on the scene and with that came reprints of his earlier books. The Martyr’s Song trilogy saw some cover updates, but the big new thing (that almost immediately got overshadowed by the release of House, Dekker’s collaboration with Frank Peretti) was The Martyr’s Song, a novella that expanded on the story of Father Michael, Karadzic, and Nadia as told in When Heaven Weeps.
Dekker tells the story through the eyes of Marci, a young woman who believes she isn’t beautiful and who is told to read of Nadia’s story in a book called The Dance of the Dead, a book written by Jan Jovic, the protagonist of When Heaven Weeps. If all this seems a bit complicated, it is, particularly for the space available in a novella. The story-within-a-story technique isn’t necessary and only draws readers away from the emotional depth of the book in order to make sure we’re following the applicational value. (We are. It’s not subtle.) The Martyr’s Song would have worked better had it been written as if it actually was The Dance of the Dead.
The core of the story retells what we know from When Heaven Weeps. A murderous soldier named Karadzic descends on a hidden Bosnian village intent on slaughtering the town. His men are less enthusiastic, but war is war and soldiers obey their commanders. One of those soldiers in Jan Jovic.
Karadzic orders the villagers to carry their crosses—huge gravestone crosses—on their backs. If God is with them, God will save them. If they drop their cross, the priest, Father Michael, will die. It’s an impossible, tortuous task. A young girl, Nadia, speaks out against the cruelty and finds herself the subject of Karadzic’s rage. But in the face of evil, Nadia and Father Michael unite to sing The Martyr’s Song. Amidst chaos and pain, the song cries out in the tiny Bosnian village: a song of victory, a song that opens the gates of Heaven, a song that shows love and beauty in all its breathtaking reality.
The main problem with The Martyr’s Song is that it doesn’t offer enough. Not enough to be distinct as a standalone story. Not enough to be even that much different than what’s already told in When Heaven Weeps. I don’t want to call it a gimmick, necessarily, but it does ring more of a good business decision than anything. Paired with the book came a CD (remember those?) of what was, at the time, an exclusive single from Todd Agnew based on the book. It’s a unique offering, for sure, but you aren’t missing anything by skipping it.