Another free book from the ACFW conference down, one to go.
While the book cover describes this as a "thriller", I would say what the spine says is slightly more accurate: "a romantic suspense". Don't get me wrong, the plot, involving smuggling enriched uranium from a former Soviet republic is definitely thrilling, but that plot is secondary to the love story at the heart of this book between FSB agent Roman Novik and missionary Sarai Curtiss.
Sands of Time would appear to be an installment in a series of books with these characters. There were many references to action that took place in the past, so much so that I had the feeling I should be more familiar with them. Don't get me wrong, Susan May Warren does an exemplary job getting the reader up to speed; I really didn't need to read the former books. She brings in the backstory in ways that don't overwhelm the current plot.
It turns out that Roman and Sarai have a history together. She left him thirteen years prior due to Roman's choice of career. Now a coup in Irkutia brings them back together. What information does Sarai have that makes Governor Bedlov want her dead? And can Roman protect her when she is convinced she doesn't need a hero?
Take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt. After all, I'm a guy who just read what is essentially a romance novel, even if it is one with some pretty decent action. The book was enjoyable. I really appreciated what Warren had to say about the Christian vocation (the tension between Sarai and Roman over his career as a soldier highlighted the issue nicely), but Sarai bugged me. A lot. She struck me as very unreasonable at times. Not only that, but the ending felt a little too pat for my tastes. Things got wrapped up a little too quickly. Again, this might be because of that's the way romantic suspense is written; I just wanted a little more action.
If you're into romantic suspense, you probably can't do better than Sands of Time.