© 2019 Stephen Lawhead

!HERO

A collaboration, not just with his son, Ross Lawhead, but also with award-winning rock star and producer Eddie DeGarmo (DeGarmo & Key, DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline, and more), the life of Christ is reimagined in a way that you never would have expected. The Son of God is born in modern-day Harlem. A young black man, the awaited Messiah immediately draws fire from political and religious circles. Told through the eyes of a man sent by the International Coalition of Nations, Alex Hunter must decide where his loyalties lie--with the powers of this world or the next.

What if He were born today?

 

On this undercover assignment, Special Agent Alex Hunter is getting way more than he ever bargained for. Charged by ICON--the International Coalition of Nations--to penetrate a secret terrorist cell headed by a man called The Prophet, he swiftly finds himself entangled in a web of mysterious people and dangerous events. Violence and betrayal dog his every step.

 

Book one of the !HERO trilogy, City of Dreams traces Agent Hunter's quest from his arrival in New York City to his dawning realization that he himself has become the target!

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Stephen Lawhead is well regarded for his science fiction and historical fiction; his Patrick made Booklist' s Top 10 Christian Novels for this year (2005). In City of Dreams, he collaborates with his son, Ross, in an end-times yarn that begins a trilogy. The hero is Alex Hunter, an undercover operative for ICON, a one-world government in an alternative universe similar to our own, except that the strife in the Middle East has an aura of biblical prophecy, and the earth has grown very hot. Hunter's assignment is to penetrate a radical religious group called the Zion International Party, headed by Isaiah Henderson, aka the Prophet. But the Prophet may not be the radical Hunter first assumed he was, and ICON may not be the force for good he thought he was representing. The series is part of a media onslaught that includes a rock opera, graphic novels, and comic books, all under a "product brand" called !HERO. In any case, City of Dreams is well done, with nuanced evil characters and wry asides about the near future. John Mort
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From Publishers Weekly

Bestselling novelist Stephen Lawhead and his son Ross team up in the first book of a trilogy for NavPress's new "!HERO" brand: Christian products targeted toward teens and young adults. Here, the Lawheads answer the question: What if Jesus was born in America and preached in New York City in the late 20th century? The result is a black, Jewish Jesus named Joshua Jones from Pennsylvania and his cousin, Washer John (John the Baptist). Jones eats gyros, does a little street preaching, and works his miracles in contemporary settings. But the real protagonist is international coalition special agent Alex Hunter, who is out to unravel the murder of Washer John (unsurprisingly, Washer John is decapitated) and investigate terrorist activity. Other writers have attempted similar transpositions-Joseph Girzone in his Joshua books, and Bill Myers with Eli-and, unfortunately, writing problems plague this effort. The novel contains odd and jarring tense changes, puzzling jargon ("sweet muscular Buddha!" exclaims one character), and light profanity which will put off some CBA readers. Stephen Lawhead fans won't find the same literary quality here that he has showcased in such novels as Patrick or Byzantium. But then, that's not the goal; the stated point of the series is to create "a different vehicle for a connection to the gospel," and in this, the book succeeds. The shock value of seeing Jesus portrayed as something other than a haloed, sentimental figure should help this book appeal to a younger audience.
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