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Review: Outlaw by Ted Dekker

Outlaw by Ted Dekker
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: Action, Adventure
Publisher: Center Street
Publication Date: October 22, 2013

Julian Carter is far, far away from her native home of Atlanta, Georgia. Born and raised in the social circles of the Deep South, she’s ill prepared for her odd, yet highly impassioned mission trip to a far off place she’s only seen in pictures.

When a massive storm blows up, Julian and her two year old son Stephen are caught up in a horrifying reality. The boat goes down and Julian straps her toddler to a life preserver – the only way she can imagine that he might weather this tragedy. Shortly after this, the boat essentially dissolves underneath her and then she’s knocked unconscious.

When she awakes, it’s to a living nightmare. Caught up in a tribe of violent natives with virtually no hope for rescue, Julian is now chattel passed back and forth between tribes and peoples she can’t even understand. The only thing she knows for sure is that she’s no longer in charge of her own destiny.

Tossed about the natives much like her boat was tossed across the waves, Julian’s journey is utterly harrowing, heartbreaking, and stunningly incredible all at the same time. As I was reading, I forgot that this was a tale penned by Ted Dekker. This, in and of itself, is extraordinary for me as a Dekker fan. One of the things I enjoy most about Ted’s writing is the fact that each time he stretches into new territory while maintaining his tone and style. This book steps away from all of that dives so deeply and richly into the story that any traces of anything but the adventure disappear.

Julian’s journey through heartache, tragedy, trauma, and crisis to the end of the adventure is absolutely stunning in its intensity. More than dramatic adventure though, the situations are so real that you can practically smell the vegetation and the homes of the natives. As I was reading, I was so wrapped up in the adventure that I was tearing (nearly literally) through the pages to find out what would happen next. At one point I stood up and gasped out loud at a plot twist I hadn’t seen coming.

This story will grip you by the throat and drag you through unimaginable horrors at the same time that you can feel Dekker practically begging you to see beyond the mere action and situations in the story. When you are finally able to pull back the veil and see the big picture, it will stun you with its ferocity and literally drown you in the enormous and unending reality of God’s love.