Water Walker, by Ted Dekker

Water Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  "My name is Alice Ringwald, but the man who kidnapped me says that's a lie." Thirteen year old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she's creating one day at a time with the loving couple that recently adopted her and gave her new hope. That hope, however, is shattered one night when she is abducted by a strange man. In a frantic FBI manhunt, he vanishes. So begins Water Walker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering power of forgiveness, and reminds us that it's possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of over thirty novels. Heralded as a "master of suspense" by Library Journal, Dekker has sold millions worldwide, establishing himself as one of the most widely recognized author brands. Dekker was born to missionaries and grew up among cannibals of Indonesia, and his peculiar upbringing gives him a unique perspective outside the cultural bubble, allowing him the freedom to share provocative insights in his fiction. He resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and children. You can find him at Teddekker.com and Facebook.com/teddekker.

SERIES: This is technically the 2nd book in the Outlaw Chronicles Series, but the first book (Eyes Wide Open) originally came out in four smaller parts.  Its release date is March 18, 2014.  The third book in the series, Hacker, is set to be released on June 10, 2014. Although the books  tie together, they can be read separately as free-standing stories.

MY THOUGHTS:  I have two reactions to Ted Dekker--I devour his pages like watermelon in July, or I wince from something violent that went past my mental limit and slam the book shut forever.  This one was cool fruit with a few close calls on slinging it across the room.  I have a really low tolerance for torture and suffering, something that seems to naturally show up for this author that so accurately portrays the broken human condition.

Water Walker is a thriller with some fantastical elements.  As always, Dekker's characters are well-developed and produce the desired result--those we should pity or love, we really connect to, and those we should hate, we despise with a passion.

The young heroine Alice is engaging from the first page, her innocence and desperation begging for someone to rescue her.  As her situation goes from bad to worse, that rescue comes from an unlikely source.  This is one of those books you won't want to put down until you've finished and Alice finds peace, one way or another.  Once again, Dekker paints a beautiful allegory of the struggle we all face if we expect to leave the negative parts of our past behind and change our future purposefully.

PARENTAL RATING:  PG-13. Sensitive teens may have trouble with the dark feel of this book. Alice goes through horrible things while in captivity by a cult leader and his followers, among whom is Alice's birth mother.  However, the themes of forgiveness, of refusing to fall into the victim mentality, and of redemption are strong and may be worth trudging past the violence and sadness.

I received an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, courtesy of NetGalley and Worthy Publishing.

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