Jeffrey S Savage is a talented writer with multiple books under his belt. He’s the writer of the Shaundra Covington Mystery Series, of which the third book was released earlier in the summer and will be spotlighted on the Daily Chapter next week. He’s also the author of a middle grade fantasy series Farworld (Water Keep and Land Keep) under the name of J Scott Savage that has a large and faithful following. However his newest book which will be released the end of this month, combines the best of both his mystery and YA skills with a dose of church history tossed in.
I recently received an advanced reading copy of The Fourth Nephite to review. And I was curious. An action packed, faith promoting, young adult thriller (with a little romance thrown in) is not the easiest book to write and I was anxious to see how Savage would handle it.
The story begins with Kaleo Steele a senior on the football team with high hopes for a future that includes football scholarships and perhaps a career in the NFL. What his future does not include is a mission. It isn’t that Kaleo doesn’t want to take two years out of his life; it’s that he doesn’t believe the church is true. He’s convinced that there were no golden plates and that the Book of Mormon was a creation from the imagination of Joseph Smith.
The night before the big game, Kaleo is spotted with a beer in his hand on school property by his seminary teacher. Despite the fact that he didn’t drink any, that’s a guaranteed ten day suspension which would not allow him to play before the college scouts the next day.
Brother Mortensen offers him a way out. If Kaleo will go into Salt Lake and look up a guy by the name of Ladan, Bro. Mortensen won’t say anything to the school authorities.
Thus begins an adventure like none other. Kaleo eventually finds himself in Palmyra, New York in the fall of 1827, a point in history where tensions are high. Joseph Smith has retrieved the golden plates but must keep them safe from the evil men who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get their hands on the “treasure”.
Savage uses his modern day protagonist to bring a fresh perspective to a familiar time in church history. I found the pace exciting grabbing me right from page one and not letting go till the very last page. The characters are complicated, and the antagonist is a very frightening man who’s evilness seemed to jump off the page. As Kaleo searches for a way back home, he’s also trying to discover what he believes. There is nothing preachy about this book as the reader follows along the path of Kaleo’s self discovery.
This is a great book for any reader, but especially for the pre-teen and teen set. So if you’ve got a gift giving occasion coming up, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a wonderful book to read together as a family at FHE or before bed. I am neither a pre-teen nor a teen myself, but I loved it.