The best novels that bring the Bible to life with realistic settings and gritty scenes

Why am I passionate about this?

I read my first novel when I was seven and wrote my first full story when I was eight. I’ve never stopped putting words to paper. Along with a passion for reading and writing, I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of person. When I want to know something, I dig and research until I know everything I can, which is exactly what I did when my eyes were opened to the spiritual warfare going on all around us. I’ve lost count of how many dozens of times I’ve read the Bible. I’ve since devoted myself to marrying my passions to develop suspense-filled stories with intense looks into the spiritual realm.  


I wrote...

Beyond Eden

By Chad Pettit,

Book cover of Beyond Eden

What is my book about?

The story of Adam and Even like you’ve never heard it told before. 

Brave warriors exorcising evil. A power-hungry demon destroying God's creation. The angel Draven takes pride in serving The Creator. Plagued by bleak visions of the future, he's promoted and tasked with helping Adam and Eve navigate the harsh realities of life outside the Garden of Eden. But, confronted with poisonous berries, vicious sabertooth tigers, and constant temptation, the budding human race might be running headfirst into extinction. Feeling like a frustrated fish out of water, Draven laments that his sage advice falls on deaf ears. But even as the troubled guardian struggles to steer fate, the most potent darkness in the universe prepares to strike from the shadows.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Day of War

Chad Pettit Why did I love this book?

As a Christian, I struggle to find books that are not written primarily for women. I’m not against romance, but that’s not what I want to read.

And, as a combat veteran, I certainly don’t want to romanticize things like war. Cliff Graham, a combat veteran, wrote the Lion of War series with men in mind, and his goal is to restore biblical manhood to a society that is often too easily offended and where men are reluctant or afraid to lead.

In Day of War, Graham brings the Old Testament to life in a well-paced and realistic telling of the life of King David. True warriors, David and his men are full of grit, but they’re also intelligent and compassionate with a brotherhood so many men long for.

I couldn’t put this book down, but when I finished, it felt like I was saying goodbye to a close friend. 

By Cliff Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Day of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Day of War, author Cliff Graham's first novel, has earned him a film option for the entire book series-Lion of War-from director David L. Cunningham (Path to 9/11) and producer Grant Curtis (Spider-Man films).In ancient Israel, at the crossroads of the great trading routes, a man named Benaiah is searching for a fresh start in life. He has joined a band of soldiers led by a warlord named David, seeking to bury the past that refuses to leave him. Their ragged army is disgruntled and full of reckless men. Some are loyal to David, but others are only with him…


Book cover of A.D. 30

Chad Pettit Why did I love this book?

I absolutely love thrillers and stories filled with suspense.

The problem with that is, all I can ever seem to find are thrillers about washed-up detectives, which are fine and all, but sometimes I want to read a suspenseful story in a different genre. If a story can do that and weave in history, war, and the Bible, I’m in.

Ted Dekker checks every box with A.D. 30, and he’s just a master of storytelling. Dekker keeps you on the edge of your seat and brings together unlikely worlds in unexpected ways that are just so much fun to read.

Even better, this book really made me think about different cultures and the things we all have in common. 

By Ted Dekker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A.D. 30 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine. A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart. The harrowing journey of the woman at the centre of it all. The story of Jesus in a way you have never experienced it.

Step back in time to the year of our Lord, Anno Domini, 30.


Book cover of This Present Darkness

Chad Pettit Why did I love this book?

When I first started publishing my writing, my editor told me my writing reminded her of Frank Peretti.

Then readers started saying the same thing. I had no idea who Frank Peretti was, so imagine my surprise when I read This Present Darkness and saw that Peretti had brought the concept of spiritual warfare to life in a book with several plots that weave together seamlessly.

Often referred to as “the Stephen King of Christian fiction,” Peretti is a genius with the written word. His novels have a way of immersing you into the story from the first line, and by the time they let you escape back to reality, you’re a different person. At least I am.

With so many Christian stories getting a rightfully earned reputation for being cheesy, it’s refreshing for a true storyteller to give us truth.  

By Frank Peretti,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked This Present Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful audio abridgement of this top-selling novel about a prayerful pastor and a skeptical reporter who find themselves fighting a plot to subjugate the human race.


Book cover of Eden

Chad Pettit Why did I love this book?

As a writer of fantasy fiction, I know the importance of asking the “what if” questions.

And, as a reader of the Bible, I often read scripture and wonder what life was really like for some of the people, what they felt like, or what drove them to do the things they did. That’s why I love a well-written biblical fiction novel, and Eden is the perfect book to feed my often-insatiable curiosity.

Brennan McPherson is the perfect fit for a job like this. His understanding of the Bible and the intricacies of human nature give him the ability to bring us a unique look into the lives of people like Adam and Eve.

Imagining the life of Adam and Eve was at the center of the story of my novel. More importantly, this story personalized Earth’s first couple and made me evaluate my relationship with God.    

By Brennan S. McPherson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"You want me to tell of how I broke the world." 

It's the year 641 since the beginning of the everything, and when Eve passes away, she leaves Adam the only man on earth who remembers everything since they walked in Eden. 

When Enoch, God's newly appointed prophet, decides to collect the stories of the faithful from previous generations, he finds Adam in desperate need to confess the dark secrets he's held onto for too long. 

Beside a slowly burning bonfire in the dead of night, Adam tells his story in searing detail. From the beginning of life, to how…


Book cover of Cloak of the Light

Chad Pettit Why did I love this book?

I’m a sucker for a vigilante story. I’ve watched just about all of the Batman and Robin Hood adaptations.

Add superpowers and a war between angels and demons beyond the veil of mortal sight, and I’m hooked. That’s exactly what I was with Cloak of the Light.

I devoured this book and immediately ordered and finished the rest of the series. Chuck Black knows how to weave a good story, and this one does a fantastic job of intersecting two stories from vastly different points of view. This book came to me at a time when I needed encouragement, and it gave me just that. I can’t remember reading a series so quickly, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This book will have you rooting for the main character and thinking about how easily we can fall prey to the influence of evil in our world.  

By Chuck Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cloak of the Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Drew is caught in a world of light - just inches away from the dark

What if...there was a world beyond our vision, a world just fingertips beyond our reach? What if...our world wasn’t beyond their influence?

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn, but college offers Drew a chance to start over—until an accident during a physics experiment leaves him blind and his genius friend, Benjamin Berg, missing.

As his sight miraculously returns, Drew discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When…


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Wrightsville Beach

By Suzanne Goodwyn,

Book cover of Wrightsville Beach

Suzanne Goodwyn Author Of Wrightsville Beach

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing all my life, but was never able to find my voice until I had my daughters. It was for them I wrote “Wrightsville Beach”. I wanted to show them what a good relationship should look like and how their decisions make a difference in where they will go. I want my readers to relive that feeling of falling in love and to be sent in unexpected directions, as life so often does to us. I want you to enjoy it so much, you don’t want to put the book down until it’s finished and once you do, to sit and reflect on it, savoring the feeling it has left behind.

Suzanne's book list on smart women trying to figure it all out

What is my book about?

Two years ago, devastated by the sudden death of his older brother, Hank Atwater went on a drinking rampage that ended in his being arrested. Since then, he has been working to rebuild his reputation in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, with little luck. But everything changes after a chance meeting with Jess Wade, a UNCW student studying to be a marine biologist. Hank and Jess feel connected to each other in a way neither has ever felt before.

But when Hank’s past leads to a frightful incident, it ends their relationship. Jess leaves to work on the beach with sea turtles, thinking about what really happened that summer with Hank, while Hank sets out to find his own path in hopes of one day winning her back.

Wrightsville Beach

By Suzanne Goodwyn,

What is this book about?

Two years ago, Hank Atwater made a terrible mistake. Devastated by the sudden death of his older brother, Rob, he went on a drinking rampage that ended in his being arrested for aggravated assault. Sober since then, he has been working to rebuild his reputation in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, with little luck.

Working a dead-end delivery job, Hank uses surfing and running to deal with being ostracized as he waits for his probation to end. But everything changes after a chance meeting with Jess Wade, a UNCW student studying to be a marine biologist. Hank and Jess…


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