The Nexus Nebula Saga
The Nexus Nebula Saga
Musings on books, writing, fatherhood, and other clichés.
Gideon Ira: Knight of the Blood Cross: Deus Vult Wastelanders Book 1
Adam Lane Smith
Five out of five Charlies.
The Book That Screams Out For a Video Game Adaptation.
When I heard “Ultra-violent pulp Christian fiction,” I knew I’d be reading this book. The cover art promises sword fights, gunplay, and hordes of dead demons.
And man does Smith deliver on that promise.
Gideon Ira is the prototypical pulp hero with a Christian twist. He slashes and shoots his way across a post-apocalyptic land in which the final war of our modern society tore open the barrier between Earth and Hell. He kills hundreds of demons while carrying hints of a dark past. What sets him apart from other pulp heroes is the strength of his moral conviction. No underhanded methods for him—he’s a golden boy, child of God, through and through.
Gideon’s greatest strength, ironically, leads to the book’s only weakness. As Gideon tolerates no moral grey areas, neither does the narrative. A few characters are introduced that offer interesting alternate perspectives and provide real opportunity for challenge and character growth, but these individuals tend not to survive very long in favor of showcasing Gideon’s strength of belief. As black-and-white morality is part of the premise of this story, this flaw is entirely forgivable.
The battles form the bulk of the story, but each action sequence is different enough to stay fresh while moving the plot forward. He makes use of his powered armor’s features to give him the edge, and Smith has a knack for peppering in those details in a way that blends into the action rather than bogging the narrative down with excessive descriptions.
This book is one that would translate extremely well into an interactive game. There are solo battles against hordes, multi-player co-op stealth missions, defensive positions against oncoming waves, and cinematic boss fights. Smith’s descriptions of the powered armor’s HUD, tagging features, time-constrained weapon power-ups, and limited buff items betray his love for strategy games.
In the midst of all that, despite the deep detail of Gideon’s loadout and personal mission, Smith manages to make his hero feel like a small part of a much larger war. Gideon’s contribution is vital to the effort, but all around him are threads of different stories with their very own heroes.
This is a satisfying tale that strikes the perfect balance of leaving the reader wanting more. Highly recommend this gripping book.
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Kevin C Hensley
Modernization brings increasing social control. Young men taking responsibility and having families are our best hope of pushing back against what is coming. I write fiction geared toward encouraging them to do so.