Book Plunge: Stolen Shroud

What do I think about Daniel Westlund’s self-published book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t read a lot of fiction, but the author sent me this book of his wanting to know what I thought of it. After a recent email reminding me, I decided to open it up and when I do, I am skeptical. It’s something I do with my reading where I have trained my mind to be critical when it comes to books in my field.

After all, while this book is fictional definitely, it’s about the Shroud of Turin. I really can’t go into it too much without giving major spoilers. Basically, the book starts with the main character, Mark, being at an event discussing the Shroud while it’s on display and then something happens and the Shroud is suddenly gone. He then goes on a quest to find out what happened to the Shroud and who stole it and why. On the way, his Christian faith is explored more and more.

The book switches back and forth chapter by chapter. At first, I found this annoying. Why do I give a rip about this guy’s childhood when I want to know what happened to the Shroud? However, as time went on, I found something happening.

While I came skeptical and at first was having a hard time getting into it, before too long, I found out that I was. I wanted to know what happened. I found, in the end, a story with many threads that weaved together in a wonderful way. I don’t think it was entirely flawless, but I was able to suspend some disbelief enough to enjoy the book.

The book also involves some genetic enhancements to several characters. I understand how it was used, but at the same time, it struck me as a Deux ex Machina. Maybe there really wasn’t any other way to do things, but I found that part kind of distracting.

The villain of this story was one of the most diabolical ones that I have come across and it was fascinating how all of that came together. A lot of his plan I really didn’t understand because of the high science language, but there was enough that I could grasp to know what was going on for the most part. This was truly one of the great villains.

I was surprised to see some real-life issues hit so hard like rape and sexual abuse. This book doesn’t always read like a Christian book, but that could be good because it’s a book that is set in a world where not everyone is a Christian. They do not speak and act like Christians.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more said about the Shroud itself. I would have liked to have seen more about the objections to it being the real deal. I think there can be a convincing case made for its authenticity, but I would have liked to have seen more.

If there was one character that I really didn’t get into too much honestly, it was the main one. It seemed like he was in there because the plot had to be centered around someone, but there wasn’t much to his personality to leave me really admiring him. He could at best be what is seen as a lovable loser, but I found the other characters for the most part all deeper than he was.

I still wonder about some things at the end and wonder if they’re the best for a Christian novel, but they are things I cannot say because of spoilers. Still, I did enjoy this one a lot more than I thought I would. I would like to see more books like this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters