Book Review: “Fire of the Raging Dragon” by Don Brown (2012)

What would happen if China and the U.S. went to war over Taiwan? While politically an unlikely scenario these days, many, including author Don Brown, would like to consider this to be a very real possibility. Played out on war ships and cruisers in the South China Sea, this novel seeks to answer this question after the U.S. commandeers a ship carrying a dark secret of the Chinese government. Beneath the action, personal drama also unfolds through the experiences of the U.S. President’s daughter, serving her country aboard the ship at the center of the confrontation.

While this book is relatively fast-paced, it seems to follow only a minimum of story lines, making it not quite as intriguing as many of the action novels out there today. Like rope, the plot structure just needs a few more threads to give it some strength.

Added to my minor frustration with the strengths of the novel’s story are the issues I have with its realism. I understand that this is a novel. But with Brown’s obvious impression that this story could be in tomorrow’s headlines (not to mention his Epilogue stating as much) and with his demonization of every single Chinese character in his book, I am once again forced to argue against people stirring the coals of American Evangelicals’ mellow hatred for all things China! For we must admit that when people fear and hate China, they fear and hate the Chinese, and these two things are not identical. Service to and prayer for the millions of lost Chinese (including the Party members and those in her government) is far too hindered by such negative sentiments that we believers need to stop vilifying Chinese nationals for their country’s past mistakes and instead start reaching out to them with the Gospel.

This book is all right. It’s my first Don Brown book, and he writes well. But I guess if I’m going to spend my time reading a Christian novel that aims at political realism, I would much rather stick with Joel Rosenberg.

©2013 E.T.

[I received this book free for review from Zondervan.]

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