Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
In the fourth century Roman Empire, Brandulf Rex grew up as a Germanic barbarian, but he found a new life as a spy for the Roman army. However, not all is well in Rome as Constantine is trying to rise to power. Elsewhere, Junia Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, is caught up in local politics as she tries to use her time to help the church. Inevitably, Brandulf and Junia cross paths and are forced to go on a quest together.
Plot & Storyline Quality (0 points)
For all of Bryan Litfin’s assertions about how much of Christian fiction is derivative, The Conqueror follows one of the cheesiest and most worn-out plots ever. It offers nothing new and falls into familiar pits, such as absurd romantic situations, fake death scenes, and villain monologues. Historical information dumps are about the only unique elements in the novel, but they interrupt the story’s flow and make for awkward reading. Also, huge time jumps cause the narrative to hop from one thing to the next. The plot culminates in an outlandish climax scene that leads to a desperate attempt for a follow-up book. In the end, due to all these problems, no points can be awarded here.
Character Development (0 points)
Obviously, the time jumps and information dumps wreak havoc on the novel’s characters. Each character is one-dimensional and stock, offering no reasons for why the reader should care about them. Dialogue is either bland or obvious, ruining opportunities to create realistic conversations. The characters are merely pawns in the narrative, being directed where the author wants to them to go without being naturally developed. Because of these issues, no points are given here.
Creativity & Originality (0 points)
As previously mentioned, The Conqueror offers nothing original or creative despite the author’s complaints about the Christian market’s problems. While we’re in full agreement with his assertions, there’s no evidence that he’s actually trying to do anything about them. Litfin’s first fiction book lazily borrows from age-old fiction tropes and fails to generate anything worthwhile or new. This novel is certainly not ready to be adapted for entertainment, but it’s clear that Christian publishing companies will put out basically anything these days.
Wish List Rating: 0 out of 10 points