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Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Missing Link: Found?!?

I was recently given a free copy of The Missing Link: Found and the opportunity to review it here on my blog. This is the first book in the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, and is available from Media Angels for $8.95. There are currently 3 novels in the series and more to come. You can purchase the complete set at for $22.00 or the set of 3 books with 3 study guides for $40.

If Media Angels sounds a little familiar, it's because the owner, Felice Gerwitz, has produced a Creation Science curriculum and, among other things, has been a speaker at Cindy Rushton's online Homeschool Conventions. With this series of books, she and her daughter Christina have attempted to provide a Christian alternative to mainstream young adult fiction. Missing Link was conceived by Christina when she was a young teenager and brought to fruition with publication in the year 2000 at about the time that she entered college. This is the revised copy which came out in 2004.

The aims of the series are to:
  1. Promote Christian values using homeschooled, Christian characters,
  2. Promote a Creationist worldview and the ability to defend it,
  3. And to reach tween to teenaged readers who would rather be doing anything other than reading by providing an entertaining story.
One look at the cover will show you that this is not a tame story, by any means, so if you are loathe to introduce violence in the form of FBI agents with guns, exploding boats, or artifact smugglers holding teenagers at gunpoint, you can stop reading now, this isn't the book for you. That said, it is not wall-to-wall action, either.

We are introduced to the Murphy family and specifically to the oldest children, Christian and Anna. Their father is a professional photographer and a former archaeologist. Their mother homeschools them and their younger brother. There's not much chance to get to know the Murphys before they are caught up in intrigue with the FBI while on a fishing trip off the Florida Keys. Then, the next thing you know, Anna, Christian and their father are off on an archaeological dig to help their ailing Uncle Mike with what appears to be the Missing Link ( a transitional fossil linking man to ape). But the Murphys are creationists and they jump right in debating the validity of former so-called missing link finds with their cousin, David, who is an evolutionist and an atheist. At first Anna and Christian don't like David too much, they find him to be abrupt and rude, and they can't understand his lack of faith. Their relationship changes and develops as the story continues.

I won't give you any spoilers (what would be the fun in that), but I will put your minds at ease by saying that no one is hurt or killed in the course of this novel. And let me say that I am obviously not the intended audience for this book. In terms of reading ability, I would put it at the 11-16 year old range, although some readers may have difficulty in getting through the scientific facts presented. There is a glossary provided at the back of the book to aid with unfamiliar words.

The action scenes in the beginning pages definitely draw the reader into the story, and it has a bang up finish, but the middle of the book may be a hard read, especially for a reluctant reader. There's a lot of time spent in explaining Carbon-14 dating, for instance. And while some of this has been simplified to make it easier to understand (to the point where it is slightly inaccurate), it is still a hard read. My oldest son who reads at this level, and can plow through 500 pages of Peter and the Shadow Thieves in a couple of days, could not get through this 200 page book. He got hung up on the carbon dating pages and an inaccuracy he spotted right away: one of the characters states that a shark can go through 20,000 teeth in a year (it's actually in a lifetime).

While I applaud Christina and Felice Gerwitz in their attempt to provide an alternative to some of the teenage twaddle that is taking up space on library and bookstore shelves, this book seems to have a limited audience and is not entirely successful. But it is an ambitious first attempt by a young homeschooler and I can't help but be impressed by the amount of work and dedication this project must have taken. It would be interesting to read the other two books in the series to see how Christina has grown as an author.

Looking for a different perspective? Click on the Homeschool Crew banner below to link to reviews on this book by other homeschoolers.

1 comment:

  1. Good review. You really give a sense of what the book is like, without giving away too much. Thanks!


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