Monday, October 6, 2008

HIGHER HONOR from S. M. Kirkland

Military academies were bastions of male testosterone up until the late 1970’s, and since that time, the number of women cadets has continued to grow. In spite of the thirty years intervening, not every male in the military looks at the women as equals. This is a part of the underlying foundation of Higher Honor, a military drama written by S. M. Kirkland.

Before this goes any farther, I want to make it clear that I am not advocating any particular feminist notions here. I am also not going to do any man-bashing, nor am I going to insinuate that women have no place in the military. Okay? So you all can read on and not conjecture about my opinions on those topics based on the review of Susan’s book.

In her biographical material, S. M. Kirkland writes, “What I learned in four years of ROTC changed me mentally and spiritually. I wanted to capture and share that interesting world where college students strike a balance between the fun and restlessness of those early adult years and the harsh reality that many are training to face the inherent risks of defending a nation.” From this background, the seeds were planted for Higher Honor.

Susan Kirkland has created a military novel based on much of what she herself observed and experienced, a romance that doesn’t fit the usual formula, a story with dark and realistic events as well as the hope and light that only Christ can bring. The code of the academy is tested—honor, honesty, valor—as are the Christian values of two cadets, Michael and Mandy, who seem to be the only light in their circle of friends. The old ways of thinking clash with newer ideas in the academy. Will there be a peaceful resolution? Can the old guard accept orders from superiors when they are delivered through a woman cadet? And are the women tough enough to stand their ground? What about forgiveness and recovery after Chris assaults Cassidy? Then the biggest question is, what about redemption for all of Michael’s friends and close brothers in arms?

I don’t want to give away a lot of the action, but it is a gripping story. No holds barred, yet it isn’t graphic in portraying violence. The lives of five cadets are explored in detail, as they all struggle with decisions, actions, and emotions. It’s a story for men to read as well as women, full of issues to cause one to pause and think. Hopefully, it will also cause the readers to do some praying and dig into scripture a lot more. Relationships with Jesus are a big part of the story, but answers aren’t always those neat ones that don’t have any frayed edges.

Maybe you can’t tell yet, but I like Higher Honor. I know that Susan has been working on it forever; it’s from the heart, and her careful rendering is evident. I expect more great things from her in the future, but for now I hope you’ll consider this novel for yourself and others as well. I think it will be available around the beginning of December if everything goes right with printing. Age limit? It’s an adult book, but there is no reason to keep it out of the hands of teens. Those who are interested in military schools would be particularly interested.

For more information, you can visit Susan Kirkland at her website, or check out the publisher’s site at

The book is available for presale through the publisher (autographed), from Barnes and Noble, and through

OH, I almost forgot again—GIVEAWAY!!! Susan Kirkland has THREE books to give away to readers who leave comments and email info. That means on any of the blogs written by CFRB people (about Higher Honor, that is) this week. You can find original information by clicking the buttons below, but check into the other CFRB members as well.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.


Susan said...

Ohhhh, Cathi! I've worked 14 hours today and almost didn't check the blogs, but I'm glad I did! Yours has become the highlight of my day!!!

Pamela J said...

I LOVE a gripping story! I'm interested in reading about the lives of five cadets as they all struggle with decisions, actions, and emotions. I'm thrilled that it’s a story for men to read as well as women because my husband has been getting into the reading of some of the books I 'come home with'. We both love books full of issues to cause one to pause and think and hopefully cause the readers to do some praying and dig into scripture a lot more. After all, how best to use God's word but to learn to apply it to OUR OWN lives as we dig and learn through someone else's struggles?
Please enter me in your contest. Thanks.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Susan said...

Thank you, Pam! Consider yourself entered!

David said...

Pam, write me at I'm reserving a book just for him called, FOR YOUNG MEN ONLY. This non-fiction work may be something he'll find interesting.