A Harvest of Thorns (2017)


Corban Addison, A Harvest of Thorns, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017, 368 pp. $18.32

I have been reading Corban Addison from the beginning. Even though titles like A Walk Across the Son and The Garden of Burning Sand are difficult to read, he has become one of my favorite authors. To be clear, the writing is not difficult. His writing is impeccable. But the content in each book is challenging and heart-wrenching. Each of his books contain ethical storylines that beg readers to wrestle with matters of justice, morality, destiny, and freedom.

A Harvest of Thorns is no exception. The author presents a narrative that explores the underbelly of the fashion industry. No stone is left unturned. Addison urges readers to seriously contemplate the reality of sweatshops, forced labor, and abuse in the workplace.

The heart of the story involves a lawyer, Cameron Alexander, who battles his own ethical demons and a journalist, Josh Griswold who attempts to do the right thing but struggles with deep inner turmoil in his own life, which includes infidelity.

Addison beautifully weaves a chilling tale that will horrify readers and force them to face reality, even though much of what takes place is in a far away place – in this case, the nation of Bangladesh. While pain, suffering, and injustice stare the reader in the face, the author brings the story full circle and makes room for justice and redemption.

One concern is worth noting, however.  And the concern has more to do with the publisher than the author.  Thomas Nelson Publishing House which is affiliated with HarperCollins Christian Publishing sets forth a decisive mission that is clearly stated on the company website.  The mission says, “We inspire the world by meeting the needs of people with content that promotes biblical principles and honors Jesus Christ.”  Corban Addison chooses to use profanity in his novel, which is a judgment call on his part.  Some will no doubt come to Addison’s defense by arguing that people in the world use such vulgar language.  However, Christian authors like Randy Singer, Joel Rosenberg, and Ted Dekker have shown in a persuasive way that good writing, even in the thriller genre can work well without profanity.  In this case, the publisher does a disservice to its reading audience by allowing such language to pass the final editing process.

Notwithstanding the concerns above,  A Harvest of Thorns is another literary slam dunk. No one who reads this excellent work will walk away without being changed in some way.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


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