“Take the turning, and walk the unlikely road.” These eight words transform seven ordinary people into conduits of hope for an entire nation. Imagine a group of strangers being drawn together by an unshakeable conviction that they must change—not the world—but themselves. Each has a weakness to face or an obstacle to overcome, and none of them is comfortable with the task. Yet, they persevere and find that this new path leads them straight into the heart of the storm.
Entertainment and advertising conglomerate Global Communications has decided to challenge the status quo of advertising. Instead of capitalizing on an established trend, an ambitious young executive convinces them they should create their own and focus every division on selling one message: Hope is dead.
They broadcast this message in an unprecedented flash mob demonstration in Times Square where thousands of people and every electronic sign reiterate those same three words. Within days, the company follows up with a major marketing campaign that connects a television series, a major motion picture, and a video game release with the same theme, all choreographed for the purpose of influencing the outlook of a generation.
Meanwhile, those seven strangers, all in New York at the same time, find each other. As they spend time talking and praying together, they realize they were brought together for a reason. None of them came looking for controversy, nor did they anticipate how their lives would change once they met. They only knew they had to make a stand.
Carrying them beyond their expectations and individual abilities, this turning forges the disparate group into a mouthpiece for the message of the ages: Hope is alive. The Turning is ultimately a book about possibilities—a portrait of the unlimited reach of ordinary people who willingly put aside their own agenda to pursue God’s purpose.
One of the most unique elements of this story is the fact that there is no single protagonist. Though each of the characters has a back story, the strength of the narrative is in the collaboration of personalities. Varying in age, ethnicity, and social standing, each individual makes up a vital part of the whole. This ensemble cast serves the author’s purpose well, emphasizing their reliance on each other and their dependence on God.
Their response to the adversity they face is a refreshing change from what we would normally see in the headlines today. They do not attack, slander, or demean their adversaries. Instead, they face their opponents with honesty and humility while consistently offering reconciliation and peace. They do not return evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.
This story has a different rhythm than most of Bunn’s other works. Having the plot revolve around seven strangers requires the reader to sift through separate back stories before the reaching the main event. While the absence of a central hero and the inclusion of fewer action sequences give the story a more sedate pace than what I’m used to seeing in a Davis Bunn novel, this, too, only emphasizes the overall theme of the book.
With this novel, Davis Bunn focuses on giving color and texture to the words of Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson: “The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people.”
Reading The Turning, not only creates a yearning to see that kind of change in society, but it also offers hope that that kind of change is actually possible.
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.