By Jo Ann Hernandez
Lupe de la Garza is a shopkeeper in a mountain village in Mexico. After seeing a sign from God in the smoke of a fire of the local church, she is on a quest to spread the word inspired by an altarpiece painted by the eighteenth century Franciscan friar who founded her village after fleeing the mysterious destruction of his California mission outpost.
Mystery, intrigue, the supernatural and suspense are woven into the tale of the Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. Told from the perspective of different characters bridging two hundred years, readers follow the characters whose religious faith not only touches their souls but dramatically changes their lives.
The plot's theme plays out in Lupe's life where while on her way to fulfill her mission she is distracted by desire for a young minister who rescues her from certain death in the Arizona desert, and where her faith is further tested when her preaching in a southern California beach town inspires only apathy and laughter.
Though the story bounces back and forth throughout the two hundred years, the writing is strong and clear and we never lose sight of the character's dilemmas or trials and the role their faith plays in their own lives.
For many, this God is a vengeful piety; for others, their God leads and forgives.
This story is not about the righteousness of God or the appropriateness of religion. Lost Mission leads the reader to think how faith can assist in bad times, in the worst of situations and even when forced to face our deepest fears within us.
Athol Dickson's writing is superb and takes us on a magical journey of faith where hope still flourishes.
Jo Ann Hernandez is assistant Bookshelf editor and author of the award-winning "White Bread Competition" and "The Throwaway Piece," as well as, creator and publisher of BronzeWord Latino Authors web site.