D.S. Lliteras is the author of fourteen books in a variety of genres. His acclaimed Vietnam War novels are Viet Man, Syllables of Rain and In a Warrior’s Romance. He has also written many critically praised biblical classics, including: The Master of Secrets, The Silence of John, Jerusalem’s Rain, Judas the Gentile, and The Thieves of Golgotha.
Descent: A Novel (Rainbow Ridge Books. 216 pp., $16.95, paper) is an exciting return to Lliteras’ biblical series. In it, Danny Lliteras shows off his skill with military fiction, and the result is another fine, poetic, spiritual novel. The title derives from, as the cover blurb explains, “Jesus’ resurrection and ascension that preceded the descent of the spirit—an event that purportedly made saints of ordinary men and women.”
Lliteras, who served as a U.S. Navy Corpsman in the Vietnam War, has shown that he has mastered the war genre novel set in South Vietnam. He has branched out in this new novel into the realm of history as the book is set near Jerusalem immediately following the crucifixion of Christ. Lliteras captures the flavor of a place occupied by Roman Legionnaires who ride roughshod over the local populace, striking terror into the hearts of ordinary villagers.
When the squads of Romans ride into the village on a search-and-destroy mission looking for Legionnaires who had deserted, I could feel the fear that they brought with them. The Legionnaires exercised the same decorum as a squad of U. S. Marines in Vietnam pursuing a Viet Cong sapper. I felt as though I was hurled back in time to the Vietnam War, and felt that warfare had changed little from Roman times to the 1960s. The fight against an elusive and mostly unseen enemy by occupying forces unfamiliar with the culture and habitat rang true in every scene.
I identified with the outsiders to the village: Flaccus, a Roman deserter, and Jeshua, a Judean healer and rogue. Both men are where they ought not to be and are in serious jeopardy if they were found out. They try to hide within the community of disciples. Evading the authority of Rome is a nice trick if they can pull it off.
You can feel drama and tension on every page. The military language works well to increase the tensions I felt in the pit of the stomach.
I recommend this novel to fans of Lliteras’ biblical books and his military books. He has produced another winner.