Broadman & Holman
Marvin Olasky’s novel, Scimitar’s Edge, depicts the present war on terrorism in Turkey. The central characters – Hal, Sally, Phoebe, and Malcolm – are American tourists in Turkey and are targeted by a terrorist group, led by the self-ascribed poet, Suleyman. Three Americans manage to escape from him, but Suleyman evades the police and continues to terrorize the Americans.
The author weaves in many historical accounts of terrorism and graphic torture methods throughout the book in an effort to make the storyline believable. The characters have unique personality quirks and different backgrounds, yet have intertwining pasts. Phoebe, the grandmother figure, brought the other three together for the purpose of reconciliation, love, and to share her Christian faith. These goals were masked as a vacation to Turkey.
The foursome was kidnapped by terrorists who wanted to abduct politically known Americans; they use different ancestral techniques of torture on each person, including ransom, enslavement, release, and beheading. Through the combined efforts of the kidnapped individuals and the Turkish police force, three of the Americans survive, but are continuously threatened by Suleyman through letters and emails. In order to avenge the death of their friend and end Sulyeyman’s death threats, the others return to Turkey as bait to lure Suleyman to attack the group, now under police protection.
Hal is a heroic Armenian journalist weighed down by a past of sin and pain. His old college roommate, Malcolm, is a cowardly college professor obsessed with women and sex. His aunt Phoebe is the widow of the United States Ambassador to Turkey and a devoted Christian. Sally, Phoebe’s personal assistant, is beautiful and naive. Throughout the book the characters mature, overcome their differences, and learn to work together.
I cannot in good conscience recommend Scimitar’s Edge due to the author’s graphic depictions of torture, murder, and rape, as well as several other sexual innuendoes. Furthermore, the portrayal of the terrorists is not believable because of their dialogue and tie-in to the attacks on September 11, 2001. Also concerning is that the book emphasizes a post-modern worldview as opposed to a biblical worldview, which is surprising given Olasky’s role in World Magazine. Unfortunately, upon completion of Scimitar’s Edge, the reader is left with no valuable morals or ideas to take away. – Cassandra Warriner, Christian Book Previews.com
Former college roommates Hal Bogikian (newspaper columnist) and Malcolm Edwards (university professor), both atheists, disagree on most major issues. But they remain associates through the efforts of Malcolm's aunt, Phoebe du Pont, a wealthy Christian widow. When du Pont invites the two men and her beautiful assistant, Sally Northaway, on a tourist and archeological trip to Turkey, the four Americans become the target of a terrorist's kidnapping plot in Scimitar's Edge.
Readers will deeply know these memorable characters while also learning about Turkey, the savagery of history, and competing philosophies of life. Along the way, there are razor-sharp thriller sequences and a budding romance as well.