Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Redemption (M. L. Tyndall)

The Redemption, by M.L. Tyndall
A review by Frank Creed

A Christian Pirate novel, what a concept, what an oxymoron! M.L. Tyndall, author of The Redemption, is quick to point out that the genre is actually historical romance—with plenty of gritty swashbuckling. So what am I, an industrialized-blue-collar-yankee-Christian reader and writer of adventures, doing reading what Barbour categorizes as fiction/ general/ romance? It is with pleasure and complete surprise that I found myself completely engrossed in The Redemption from start to finish.

The Redemption is no more or less a romance novel than is Robin Hood. Anyone interested in classic swashbuckling action stories which just happen to include a leading lady and man reluctantly falling in love, must read this book, regardless of the bookstore shelf label.

Not only was I relieved to discover The Redemption to be all Robin Hood with a thimble of Maid Marion, I was ecstatic to find that the quality of M.L. Tyndall's writing rivals that of Robin Hood author, James Clarke Holt! Every scene that could have lapsed into page-flipping predictability instead edged me on my seat then riveted me there with clashing cutlasses, strategic naval maneuvers and dire conflict: I'd found a gold and pearl true pirate treasure. Those are pumped-up-classy review terms but remember I'm a writer. This is what makes The Redemption true literature . . .

We begin with a shipwreck introduction of the heroine: must be the Godly woman who leads all the pirates to Jesus, right? Wrong. Lady Charlisse Bristol is a non-Christian who hates the church. She's rescued off a desert island when a pirate ship stops for careening and fresh water. The Redemption (the pirate ship) is captained by a Christian—yes, my eyebrows did the same thing.

While this story is not easily labeled, The Redemption can be best categorized as alternate-history, a sub-genre of speculative fiction. One of the reasons I'm drawn to write spec-fic is the creative latitude granted by the genre: If you can make something like a Christian pirate believable to your reader, it's allowed. Not only does M.L. Tyndall make apparent contradictions believable, she makes them logical and does so with the most powerful tool of fiction—deep characterization:

Captain Edmund Merrick was raised in Britian's high society,
found snobbery unfulfilling and fled to the Caribbean to seek
adventure. Years of piracy proved equally unfulfilling and eventually
he found Christ. The only reason Merrick's still in the pirate-game
is that he was contracted by England to raid the Spanish Main.

In classic style and voice, Tyndall skillfully braids breathing characters with Raider's of the Lost Ark non-stop plot conflict and action, forcing you to turn pages until the very end.

My breathless thanks to M.L. Tyndall for an autographed first-edition of what I seriously consider to be the best spec-fic novel I've read in over twenty years. This is a book that will be around for a long, long time, and one that I look forward to re-reading!

To God be the glory,
Scott “Frank Creed” Morris
email Frank Creed
The Christian Writer's Notebook


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