Book Review – MIGHTY AND STRONG by Michael Wallace

MIGHTY AND STRONG by Michael Wallace

2012 / Thomas and Mercer


On the surface, MIGHTY AND STRONG appears to be another run of the mill thriller with a main character who is a bit out of the ordinary. Jacob Christianson is a former member of a polygamous sect of Mormonism. After abandoning his faith, he leaves the community and becomes a doctor in the secular world. When the FBI uncovers a millennialist cult’s plot to kill a senator, they call on Jacob to return to his roots and help catch the would-be assassins. Soon, he is swept up in an ever escalating conflict that seems destined to end in another Waco-like disaster.

When I began to read, I figured I’d be in for another every man becomes the superhero kind of book. The type who, in the last fifty pages, rips off his glasses, picks up an Uzi, and saves the world. A few pages in, however, I realized that this was far from the truth. Jacob is an intelligent, loving husband and a compassionate doctor.

Almost instantly I was sucked into his life and with each page was dragged deeper and deeper into his struggles. As he infiltrates the group, his lack of faith and direction assert themselves more prominently against the backdrop of a religious powder keg. Meanwhile, as his family is targeted by the same politician he is trying to save, presenting a poignant view into the lives of those affected by the blood feud of politics and religion in a heavily religious area.

This deeply intellectual thriller is the perfect slow burn that pays off in an explosive ending that I couldn’t turn away from. It is the 1812 Overture of novels. Steady, insistent pacing that ends in cymbal crashes and cannon fire. Jacob is a fascinating and thought-provoking hero that is all too rare to find. Wallace’s writing is brilliant and engrossing from the first page to the last. MIGHTY AND STRONG is the second of three books, with a fourth arriving in October, but works marvelously as a standalone. However, if the other books are as good as this one, I may have a new hero to add to my shelves.

-Bryan VanMeter