A former operative for State department, Marc Royce drops into the middle of a crisis in Africa under cover as the employee of Lodestone, a for-profit U. S. company contracted to bring in emergency supplies. A volcano near the border between Kenya and Uganda has erupted onto land “already devastated by drought, famine, and civil war.”
It’s just a bit confusing at first because as readers we don’t know what Marc’s real mission is, why people react negatively to him at first, and what the reasons are for the tensions among different people. But we trust all will come to light soon, and we are rewarded.
And since “rare earth” is in the title and the back-of-the-book description, it is not a spoiler to say that the minerals called by that name are the prize for which someone has been exploiting the area. An aide is missing, many villagers have been forced from their land, and something seems fishy within Lodestone. But discerning what is actually going on, whom to trust, and how to help the situation are reasons Marc has been called in.
This book is well written, the characters are fully rounded, the story is suspenseful, and an area unfamiliar to most is well-described. For those who are familiar with the TV program 24, Marc is much like what I imagine Jack Bauer would be if he was a Christian. The latter part of the book is a bit heavy on the hero accolades for me, but otherwise it was an engaging read.
For those who like book trailers, here is the one for Rare Earth:
(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)