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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Eden's Gate

By Christopher A. Lane
Zondervan Publishing House, 383 pp, 1994

Does the Garden of Eden still exist? If so, is it guarded by an angel with a flaming sword, as it says in Genesis?

Iíve long been intrigued by such questions. So many people, including some Christians, believe much of the Bible is made up, nice, albeit significant, myths dreamed up by charlatans for their own gain. Concrete archaeological discoveries of Biblical stories would blow that out of the water, including the Garden of Eden.

Edenís Gate explores such a question. Dr. Ben Lawrence, a noted archaeologist and Christian, is selected to lead a dig in Iraq. He is replacing world-famous Richard Grimm, who has mysteriously disappeared. The site is extremely important, offering clues to the very origins of mankind. While there, he meets an archaeologist babe, Jennifer Rogers, and they, naturally, fall for each other, although she is not a Christian and is outright hostile to Lawrence, at least at first.

In the meantime, the FBI is investigating the disappearance of Dr. Grimm, and comes across an operation that stinks of the CIA. Add a vengeful, jilted lover, a CEO of a multi-billion dollar high-tech company, and some bumbling mercenaries, and Edenís Gate is a pleasant adventure novel, though stopping well short of spine-tingling action.

Do Lawrence and Rogers find the Garden of Eden? Read it and find out.

Christian fiction has come a long way just in the 1990s, spearheaded by the commercial success of the Left Behind series, and seems poised to continue its success in 2000 and beyond. Edenís Gate, although it has its share of preachiní and teachiní, is a well-rounded, at times violent, novel. In fact, itís a shame that such books, with sincere Christians as main characters, have been segregated away into their own corner of literature, rather than treated as mainstream works. After all, the only reason Left Behind and its sequels are sold at the big chain bookstores is because they sell. But maybe theyíll open the door for other Christian novels to be placed in the stacks in the Literature and Fiction section, rather than hidden away in a tiny alcove lumped under the all-encompassing heading of Religion.

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