Review of “Straight of Hormuz” the third in Davis Bunn’s “Marc Royce” series

Strait of Hormuz

“Straight of Hormuz” is what you would expect of the third book in this series about Marc Royce- rogue, Christian CIA operative.  Like “Lion of Babylon” (see my review here: https://joyclynn.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/a-first-for-everything/and “Rare Earth” and here: https://joyclynn.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/review-of-rare-earth-by-davis-bunn/), this is a fast-paced story of international intrigue.  The key players save the world from terror and destruction with a healthy mix of skill, intuition, prayer and godly intervention.  If you like the spy/thriller genre, but prefer an emphasis on Christian faith, this series for you.  However, if you love books like Joel Rosenberg’s “The Damascus Countdown” or Robert Lundlun’s “The Bourne Identity” then you’ll probably only be mildly satisfied with this series, because it doesn’t attain the scope or depth of those other books.  There are several reasons for this: one is that Bunn’s plot is simple, readily resolved, and events are rushed and anti-climatic at times.  The primary problem, however, is that three books in, character development is still lacking in this series.  Bunn is excellent at portraying a sense of place; from European cities to the Sinai desert, you can easily imagine yourself there thanks to Bunn’s skill at descriptive writing.  He also very adeptly weaves Christian themes like forgiveness, faith, and repentance into his storylines and the plots are engaging and entertaining.   But those strong points aside, the result of poor characterization is that you don’t feel connected to the story.  I have never been able to visualize the main character, Marc Royce, because he’s never been described.  Kitra is a young, beautiful and brave Israeli woman, but apart from that what’s the attraction between her and Marc based on?  You only know the characters at arm’s length and the thread of romance woven into “Rare Earth” and “Straight of Hormuz” disappoints, because it has very little depth.  She’s an attractive, single woman and he’s presumably an attractive single man who shares her faith, so voila- they must fall in love.  This may seem like a harsh review, and that’s not my intention; I really enjoy Davis Bunn’s novels and I recommend him as an author, this series just falls a little short of excellent for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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