Monday, May 18, 2009

Ulterior Motives by Mark Andrew Olsen - MY REVIEW

“You just want to pour out as much death and suffering as you possibly can on the innocent and guilty alike. Do you call that mercy?” (p. 145)

“I had already been taught to hate Israel and the West from the time I could understand language. Condemnation of the infidels was more constant than talk of the weather.” (p. 151)

So the dialogue builds between a former member of the Army’s Delta Force and the most hated Al-Qaeda leader in the known world. Greg Cahill and Omar Nirubi find themselves isolated in almost every way, and for a brief space in time, these two men explore forgiveness. Mark Andrew Olsen’s latest novel, Ulterior Motives, creates a scenario that I’m sure many have pondered since the attacks on our country on September 11th. As people struggle to understand the spiritual battle that rages amid the war in the Middle East, the question begs to be answered, can the blood of Christ and the gospel message reach into the heart of the most powerful terrorist?

From Omar Nirubi’s Muslim standpoint forgiveness offered from God through Christ Jesus “…belittles the cost of sin to make it so easily overcome.” (p. 166) From Greg Cahill’s point of view “…the cost of sin is so high, we could never pay it ourselves. It’s so enormous that only God could pay it for us. So He did.” (p. 166) As these two men confront each other and their darkest sins and fears come to light, the reader begins to understand the gulf that divides the human soul from eternal redemption. However, as Greg’s character begins to truly understand how much he himself has been forgiven, the reader then begins to realize that the grace of God shed upon sinners reaches even to the darkest and most dangerous hearts.

Ulterior Motives does require some amount of suspended disbelief, because the likelihood of any of this taking place is – well – highly unlikely to say the least. However, the story is well-told, the action well-executed. The ending is very satisfying in many ways, although it was tied up a little too neatly in some areas. Bottom line, this story is timely and explores the Muslim faith in the light of Christ’s redemption. The difference between the two becomes blatantly clear, as well as the marvelous grace that offers that same redemption to all of us no matter how dark or depraved our deeds.

I can heartily recommend Mark Andrew Olsen’s latest novel Ulterior Motives! Visit Bethany House Publishers website to learn more!


Mark Andrew Olsen, whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated with Tommy Tenney on bestsellers Hadassah and The Hadassah Covenant. The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.

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