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Faithful to Self

A & A Book Publishing, 2007

Reviewed by Rev Dr Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary of the Queensland Synod

I love a good novel so when I picked up this book and the cover said, “This book bites!” I could not resist it.

Faithful to Self is set in Australia and south East Asia. It commences with a murder and the plot involves tracking down the murderer, uncovering more murders and intrigue.

But this book is not a detective novel.

Its main protagonists are men who spent one year of training together in a theological seminary and how this heritage influences their later lives.

The hero, Damian Langtry, is a journalist who rails against injustice in Australia.

His articles include diatribes against fundamentalism, conservatism, religion and politics, but his pen is especially acerbic when it comes to the shock jocks who take over the airways.

“There is far more hate and far more damage caused by radio broadcasts than in anything someone could hurl at me in a letter, whether or not it included explosives.” Page 282.

I did not find this an entertaining book and the frequent Langtry articles interspersed in the book read more like editorials than a novel.

Mr Cope’s writing at times lyrical, like when he muses over death, and at other times tiresome and self-indulgent.

Faithful to Self does reads like a political polemic.

Not that I disagree with his causes, it is just that one wants to be emotionally involved with a the characters in a novel and have the imagination stirred. In the end I had to force myself to finish it.