The co-author of the popular book, “Every Man’s Battle,” Fred Stoeker, has teamed with novelist D.W. Smith for series of books written for men that deal with the same issues as their non-fiction titles. The Every Man Series puts a fictional twist on the situations and realities men face at home, work, or say…Thailand? For the four fictional friends in “The Hunted,” a dream rafting trip did just that.
John, Hollis, Mike and Dave sought an adventure in the world’s most remote river for a rafting trip of a lifetime. Their plans took them to the northern jungles of Thailand, where guides were supposed to point them to their dream trip, not kidnap and kill them. But the men uncover a plan that does involve kidnapping them – and considering the remoteness and culture of where they were, it wasn’t going to end well if they didn’t make a run for it. So, instead of floating down the river, the four friends forge through the jungle as they formulate a plan of escape. All the while, being chased by men with AK-47s and dealing with a secret sin among one of the guys that threatens to tear apart their friendship.
I liked this book and felt that it was very well written and engaging. The chapters would sometimes go back and forth between the characters “being on the run” in Thailand and the backstory from the months or days leading up to the trip. Though I’m not a big fan of that method in a novel, it worked really well in this story and kept me wondering what would happen next, as well as what happened in the past that caused such a rift between the men’s friendships.
In addition to the fast paced plot, the book had a deep theme about faith and purity. Some characters were challenged to deepen their faith due to their tragic circumstances while others had to learn forgiveness and courage. From what I understand about the creation of the Every Man Series as stated in the Acknowledgement section from this book, “The Hunted” was written as another source of encouragement for men. Naturally, the topics of purity will come up in the pages and I thought it was handled creatively in “The Hunted.” It felt real and gave non-preachy, practical advice on how to help friends through rough patches in life through the way the characters handled their own challenges. All in all – well done.
Conclusion: Before picking up “The Hunted,” I didn’t even know that the “Every Man’s Battle” books had a fictional counterpart, but viola! Here were are! I think this book would be a great read for men, not just because of the issues addressed in it, but because it has an exciting plot without the romantic things guys tend to shy away from in typical novels. After all, who wouldn’t want to read about four buddies on a rafting trip running for their lives? It’s exciting, fast paced and well written. If you’re looking for recommendations for men, check this one out! Or, if you were like me and looking for another country to fit into the “Around The World In 80 Books” reading challenge – you can check Thailand off the list with “The Hunted!”