Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton {book review}

Preaching or Prison — an impossible choice for a man who usually solves his problems with a rifle or his fists.

Feast for Thieves: a Rowdy Slater novel, by Marcus Brotherton {book review}


Sergeant Rowdy Slater was the most incorrigible paratrooper in Dog Company during World War II. But after the war, when Rowdy robs a bank with the black-hearted Crazy Ake, he vows to turn his life around.

The lawman, suspicious that Rowdy’s confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve for one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail.

Rowdy’s choice? Preaching at the community church in Cut Eye, Texas, at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.

At first the job seemed easy, particularly since Rowdy took over for the willowy female missionary who held the church together while the men were at war.

But when Crazy Ake shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared and is forced to make a deadly choice.

My Reaction:

This book is not a work of historical fiction, rather a work of action/fiction which takes place in a by-gone era.  Feast of Thieves is indeed  “hard-edged” and “gritty” and full of action.

This is my second read of this author.  I did not care for the book.  It’s one of those books I don’t want to finish, but I keep reading in hopes it will end well.  I read it all the way through in order to give a proper review.

Marcus Brotherton is a seasoned writer.  This is his first work of fiction.  My opinion is that in fictionalizing the story and making it entertaining (if you like fist fights, gun fights, and run-ins with the law) it lost much of the historicity which could have been central to the book.  If they were based on real events this reader would be more tolerant of them.

The singular point of view is well done, almost to a fault, especially if the reader didn’t care for the main character.  I would find him more tolerable from another point of view.  The characterization of Rowdy Slater by dialect is well done, but again is almost overdone since the reader is in Rowdy’s head for the entire book.

Again, because of the singular point of view, the reader was limited in exposure to Scripture, other than loosely paraphrased story-telling.  Any glimpse of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is inferred, though there are opportunities, as though the author purposely avoids direct mention of the person of God.  This reader  prefers a story with at least one character with strong faith in God, one who is verbal about it, even if it’s leaning toward obnoxious or humorous, just to keep things evened out.

The cover of the book and the title don’t work.  Is this a satire or a novel?  Is the story about Rowdy’s relationship with God?  with fellow men?  with parishioners?  with Bobbie?  with Sunny?  all of these?  This reader thinks the author intended to leave the reader with more questions than answers.

Feast for Thieves is a squeaky clean read, in vocabulary and in tactfully telling sordid scenes without being offensive.  Well done!  Kudos to another author who leaves the unsavory elements to the reader’s imagination instead of spelling it out.  Thank you.

I highly recommend Feast for Thieves to readers who like lots of action, lots of twists and turns in the story, and impossible to overcome odds, with a hint of faith and religion woven in and a slight dab of relationship with the opposite sex.

I also want to comment on the beautiful writing in terms of setting the scene.  I’ve never been to Texas or Mexico, but I felt like I was there as I read.  Likewise the characters were easily distinguished from each other.  Vehicle descriptions, both on ground and in air, help keep the story in the proper era.

Nothing about this book made me want to be there or go through what any of the characters experienced.  I didn’t learn anything, except about fighting, which I hope I never use, nor was I entertained.  It was overwhelming to read of Rowdy’s physical exploits and self-imposed regimens during periods of going without meals for days.  Not anything I could relate to.  Again, the limited point of view.

My rating:  three stars

I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in return for my honest review. Opinions are my own.

[I hope my criticisms show the strength of Brotherton’s writing, for he has written a strong story.  One could easily flip my criticism(s) to spell strengths.]

Marcus BrothertonAbout the Author:

Marcus Brotherton is a New York Times bestselling author and collaborative writer known for his books with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel.

He has authored or coauthored more than 25 books and substantively edited more than 35 others.

Marcus’ nonfiction includes the widely-acclaimed Shifty’s War, A Company of Heroes, and We Who Are Alive & Remain.

His novel Feast For Thieves won a Christy Award for excellence in fiction.

Coauthored and collaborative works include books with the elite WWII paratroopers featured in HBO’s Band of Brothers miniseries, the elite WWII Marines featured in HBO’s The Pacific, theologians and ministers Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Doug Fields, Wayne Cordeiro, Robert Morris, and Francis Chan, quadruple amputee and Afghan combat veteran Travis Mills, Super Bowl winner and first deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL Derrick Coleman Jr., NFL quarterback Colt McCoy, Alabama restaurateur and Civil Rights activist Martha Hawkins, fashion journalist Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, bestselling historian Adam Makos, Colonel Susan Luz, international humanitarian Susan Scott Krabacher, and Lt. Buck Compton, who prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the murder of Bobby Kennedy.

Born in Canada in 1968, Marcus earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical education and journalism from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon, and a master’s degree in practical theology and writing from Biola University in Los Angeles, where he graduated with high honors.

He lives with his wife and children in Washington State.

– See more on his website.

For my review of Tough As They Come by Travis Mills and Marcus Brotherton click here.

My review is posted on christianbook.com where it may be purchased.

My review is posted on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt here (the first two chapters), courtesy of Moody Publishers.

Vessels for the Master’s Use {345/612}


February 24

Daily Proverb

 It is joy to the just to do justice,

but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Proverbs 21:15


Daily Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 1

Psalm 23

1 & 2 Thessalonians


Inspiring Hymns #345

Higher Ground

I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining ev’ry day;  Still praying as I onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay;  Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world, tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled;  For faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height, and catch a gleam of glory bright;  But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”

Chorus:  Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith, on heaven’s tableland, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Music:  Chas. H. Gabriel

Copyright 1951

Singspiration, Inc.