The Bell Messenger
Robert Cornuke with Alton Gansky
Howard (Simon & Schuster) , Sep 2008, $12.95
In 1865 Virginia Union Army Lieutenant Jeremiah Tate and his men met and killed Confederate soldiers. The Northern military officer also killed a fundamentalist Confer date preacher holding a bible; the victim was known locally as THE BELL MESSENGER for he spread the Lord’s Word to the soldiers. Before he died the preacher gave his bible to Tate along with a letter to his mother stating that a man will come delivering his bible to her. Tate brings the bible to the preacher’s mom, who explains her son wanted him to keep his most precious possession.
Take keeps the bible and saves a little girl’s life. Ruth’s father is grateful and in Tate’s debt forever. Tate meets a Chinese man and saves his life and then gives him the bible. Over the next century, the Bell Messenger’s bible passes through many lives helping people know God blesses everyone as each has a chance at redemption. Now it resides in the present with recent college grad John Brandon, who is fascinated with learning the century and half history of this particular bible.
The Messenger Bell bible is actually the star as it fascinatingly passes from person to person; starting with its Confederacy origins; to San Francisco; to Egypt; to an English WWI solder who finds peace and quiet with the Word on the western front; to Egypt again; and to a Saudi Arabian cave; to the present. Readers get to know each owner reasonably well as their motives, thoughts, and beliefs are presented as much as their actions. Although the concept of telling the vignettes of those owning an item over time has been used before (for instance, THE YELLOW-ROLLS ROYCE) THE BELL MESSENGER is an interesting memorable work.