A Lila Review: Soul on Fire by Tal Bauer

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A deadly virus burns through the jungle, leaving nothing but corpses in its wake. Everyone flees from the outbreak—except for the terrorists intent on weaponizing the catastrophe.

Lieutenant Elliot Davis, US Navy SEAL, is sent to rescue CIA officers from their clandestine base in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and evacuate them out of the country. What they’ve uncovered sends Elliot back to the Congo, trying to prevent an attack that could spark a global pandemic.

Dr. Ikolo Ngondu runs a refugee hospital caught between the advancing rebels intent on slaughtering everyone in their path and Elliot’s mission to find and capture their leader. In the chaos of a surprise attack, Elliot’s target slips away, and the only way to find him is to plunge into the Congo’s dark, dangerous, and fevered forest with Ikolo as his guide.

Together they track a burning shadow through Africa’s broken heart, and Elliot struggles to reconcile the world he finds with the life he’s lived as a black man in the West. He looks to Ikolo for answers and finds a man with a core so bright and fierce he scorches Elliot’s soul.

Even as they race against time, Elliot and Ikolo have no idea what’s been set in motion with their mission: a dark secret lies at the center, one that leaves billions of lives hovering between life and death.

And through it all, a question burns inside Elliot, one that only Ikolo may hold the answer to.

Soul On Fire is more than an MM Romance.  It’s a piece of fiction that crosses the edge into non-fiction. The characters could be any two men searching for the meaning of selflessness in many forgotten parts of the world. The essence of the story can take place anywhere from Africa, Latin America to the Middle East.

As always, Tal Bauer delivers a complex story. Full of descriptions, some not too pretty, but very realistic; mix with a touch of unbelievable events and fantasy tidbits. The combination creates an interesting read.

There’s romance present but isn’t the main focus. Elliott’s self-discovery, the world around them, and Ikolo’s strength take priority. The love between them becomes organic and a consequence of their actions, not something that consumed them. Their souls are one by the end, only after their slice of world is placed back to rights.

The only drawback for me were the extensive descriptions, necessary as they were. I wanted it to move faster in some areas as slower in others. The resolution came out swiftly and from a separate source. I simply needed something else. In the end, the balance may work for other readers.

The cover by Ampersand Book Designs goes well with other covers by this author. It has a sense of belonging to the story even when it’s a bit generic. It’s central to the book’s main premise.

Sale Links: Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
Published: July 27, 2019, by Tal Bauer
Edition Language: English

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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