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Chris Reynolds
Island of Redemption
The Shack, with a Castaway twist, wrapped up in the conundrum of Life of Pi. When Mark Lambert disappears at sea, he is assumed dead by the outside world. Instead, he lands upon an uninhabited island far from any shipping lanes and far from hope. Alone for five years, all the things he once thought important slowly fall away as new priorities, beliefs, and a broader sense of existence begin to emerge. He feels in control of his new life, until a powerful hurricane slams the island and changes everything. The storm reveals the existence of a hidden part of the island, an Eden where an angelic beauty enters his world. In time, the two become close friends, and she grows to be his conscience, teacher, and spiritual guide. By dismantling what was once a secular worldview and polishing it into a lens seen through the eyes of God, Mark moves forward on his transformative journey of redemption. Each night the mystery woman leaves, only to return the next morning. Where does she go? She will not say. Is she real? He dare not question at the risk of losing his only companion. After years together, she announces that her work is done and he is ready to fulfill his destiny, the plans God made for him at the beginning of time. Within days, Mark is rescued by treasure seekers. It is Mark’s intimate knowledge of the island that leads to the greatest discovery in modern times. The find will make him one of the richest people in the world. How much can one man accomplish if God’s hand is involved?
In this inspirational Christian adventure, Reynolds (Ghost Gold) charts a flawed man’s journey towards salvation, literally and spiritually. Off the coast of Barbados, a horrendous storm during a solo boating trip washes well-to-do middle-aged Mark Lambert ashore on a deserted island. Luckily, plentiful food and fresh water provide paradise living. Better still, a flirtatious, fantasy-worthy woman named Angel persuades Mark to listen to her daily Christian teachings. Over the next eight years, her ideology cleanses his soul. Their parting coincides with the arrival of Mark’s daughter who searches for a legendary pirate woman’s booty. As father and daughter go in quest of the missing riches, they piece together the island’s mysterious past.

Inspired by the author’s own religious conversion, uplifting themes characterize Mark’s narrative, along with a steady stream of Christian aphorisms. “Regrets are the past crippling the present” and “Joy…is the serious business of heaven,” learns the castaway, bringing him serenity even as he despairs of ever seeing his home or family again. Upbeat self-talk and Angel’s playful companionship maintain a light tone throughout. This positivity, along with nods to Navajo and metaphysical beliefs, enliven otherwise serious lessons about God’s plans. Amid Mark’s fantastic luck, readers cheer as he recognizes past wrongs, grieves, and strives to become a better man.

When his treasure-seeking daughter enters the story, the plot turns refreshingly adventurous with a Da Vinci Code-esque zeal for puzzles and portents. Religious clues from a pious pirate’s diary, like Jesus’ age at death and the Cross of the Calvary’s location, lead the family on a scavenger hunt around the idyllic island. Depictions of frolicking dolphins, waterfalls, and rainbows add a tropical vacation spirit that grows in delight as Mark’s God-enhanced future unfolds. Reynolds delivers classic Christian inspiration anchored in the Prosperity Gospel and seasoned with romance and quick history lessons.

Takeaway: This inspirational Christian adventure boasts a castaway, a treasure hunt, and ancient mysteries.

Great for fans of: Lisa T. Bergren’s Begotten, Jeanette Windle’s Firestorm.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A