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Ben Rolphe

Carpenter's Son Publishing
August 2011 / ISBN: 0983557136
Western / Christian

Reviewed by Willie Elliott

Ben Rolphe has introduced what may be a new genre to literature: religious western. But after reading the novel, readers may find that it more religious than western.

God's messenger, Angelo, asks Dan Branson to fly to South America to assist a Christian cattle rancher who is being threatened by an international cartel.

The reader may ask why so much time is spent on the family (which rivals the characters on Father Knows Best for being nearly perfect). It seems Rolphe wants to paint a picture of what a family should look like. Although not highly realistic, it is a welcome departure from the depiction of a family in much of contemporary literature.

In fact, Dan doesn't do much in aiding the ranchers in South America except to seek the guidance of God in solving the problems. The book is loaded with convenient coincidences. For example Dan gets a free ride to and from South America. One may balk at too many of these, but then might ask the question: isn't the Bible full of such coincidences?

After the climax of the novel, the liberation of the ranchers in South America, the novel goes on much too long for a standard novel, but Rolphe still teaches on the making and sustaining of a religious family. Despite the departure from the norms of the standard novel, the book is a delight to read and depicts a God-loving family.

The Light

Reviewed 2012