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Title: Fires of Darkness
Author: Tom Buford
Genre: Christian Suspense
ISBN: 1933148144
Reviewer: Dian Moore

Author Tom Buford explores the interesting concept of how the battle between good and evil takes place, by alternating between the spirit realm and the earthly realm, much like Frank Perretti. He realistically addresses the subject of pornography, homosexuality, addiction, and drug use, without resorting to condemnation. Buford offers hope through these fictional characters, as evidenced by the many real-life testimonies found in today's world, from those dealing with the same subject matter.

Cory, Nebraska is the town that everyone wants to live in. It is quiet, friendly, and neighborly without the big-city vices—until a demonic army lays claim, focusing its battle on Douglas and Amy Canton, a young married couple expecting their first child.

Douglas thinks he is happily married. At least he thought so, until a glimpse of two males in a pornographic magazine ignites conflicting emotions, and he finds himself attracted to Carson, a high-school acquaintance.

The supporting characters in the book represent people in modern society who are easy to identify with:

Carson is a young man, a schoolmate of Douglas, convinced from boyhood he is not right sexually and succumbs to the lure of homosexuality.

Grandy is a lovable older man who faithfully attends church and keeps himself away from temptation. But it is soon revealed that he collects pornography and feels helpless to overcome the addiction. He thought he had it conquered, until the demonic army set into play a series of events that triggered his craving.

Pastor Dewey is a recovering addict and able to share his own struggle and offer forgiveness and unconditional love, as well as a way out.

Mrs. Osborne is also important, as she takes Amy under her wing and teaches her to be a prayer warrior and how to offer unconditional love to her husband, Douglas, as he fights his way to victory through the dark forces determined to ruin him.

An important book for both believers and nonbelievers, it challenges readers to explore the "what if?" scenario of different types of sexual addiction, the power of prayer, and the spiritual battle that takes place daily.

Fires of Darkness is a page-turner, able to keep itself from becoming trite. Fans of suspense will see shades of Stephen King, Frank Perretti and a dash of Ted Dekker in Buford's writing style.

Pros: Interesting characters, especially the demons, angels and Grandy. Also, it illustrates the power of prayer. For those interested in the spiritual realm, Fires of Darkness is an excellent jumping-off point, providing an entertaining story with characters to care about, who struggle with today's permissive lifestyle.

Cons: Dialog is weak in some areas and some of the main characters lack depth and motive. Unnecessary banter sometimes slows the forward progression of the story.

Bottom Line: An important book that delivers a deeper understanding of sexual addiction—and a way out.
Buford is the founder and president of Man on the Road, a non-profit organization that reaches out to people who are struggling with addictions to pornography. Man on the Road reaches out through two web sites:
  • Man on the Road, is directed primarily toward people who earn their livings traveling on the road, and especially truck drivers.
  • Fires of Darkness has a more general focus and reaches out to anyone who struggles with porn addictions and the damage they can cause.
* * *

Interview with Tom Buford, author of Fires of Darkness
Interview by Dian Moore.

FWM:  Fires of Darkness at times resembles the writings of Frank Perretti. Has he been an influence on your writing?
BUFORD: Yes, he was. His was the first Christian fiction I ever read. It was several years after I read This Present Darkness that I wrote Fires of Darkness. I intentionally did not open any of his books during the two years or so that I worked on the book because I did not want to copy his style.
FWM: You have explored sexual addictions in Darkness. Why did you choose this topic?
BUFORD: Actually, I didn't really "choose" the topic of sexual addictions. In other words, I had no preconceived ideas of including that topic in the book. It just worked itself into the story as it unfolded. I'm almost certain that events of my own past somehow came to the surface as I wrote. People who know me and the details of my life, will see quite a bit of me woven into the story.
FWM: Many modern churches do not explore the significance of the battle that wages in the spiritual realm in relation to our human life's journey. Why do you think this is so, and how can this important part of our spirituality be brought forth into the modern world?
BUFORD: I think a lot of people just give no thought as to what goes on behind the scenes in our lives. I also believe that some people have seen exorcisms, etc., in the movies and thought that such things were only created by Hollywood. They were taken lightly as entertainment only. I place little or no validity in the versions of spiritual warfare that Hollywood conjures up, and I disagree with the notion that there is a demon "hiding behind every bush," but there really is a spiritual battle going on for us. Satan's goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. He will do whatever he can to fulfill his mission. Our job is to understand who he is, what he is after, and how to take authority over him.
FWM: What is your greatest hope that Darkness will accomplish in the lives of its readers?
BUFORD: My greatest hope is that lives will be changed. I want people to know that there is hope, that we are not in this battle alone.
FWM: You also sponsor a ministry online for those who find themselves in bondage to sexual addiction. Please tell us more about those.
BUFORD: We have two ministry websites. One is www.firesofdarkness.com. Our tag line is "Reaching out to pornography addicts and the people who love them." That is our goal and purpose – to bring hope and encouragement to porn addicts and the loved ones who have been affected by those addictions.

The second site is a newer one, www.ManOnTheRoad.org. That site is dedicated to helping who travel for a living – truck drivers, bus drivers, salesmen, and people who travel with entertainers. Our goal is to teach people to live lives of honor, integrity, and purity on the road.
FWM: What was the most difficult scene for you to write in Darkness and why?
BUFORD: I can't say that it was a particularly difficult scene to write, but the one that probably hit closest to home, was the one where Ms. Miles is in jail and gets rejected by her family because of the sin in her life. It was a very real scene for me – one that turned out to be prophetic in a way .
FWM: What was the easiest scene to write, and why?
BUFORD: The scene that I most vividly remember writing was the one during the final battle where the demon is pierced by the sword and the stream (movie) of evil events comes flowing from inside him. It demonstrates where some of those things in life come from. It came so easily because of my own past, I believe.
FWM: What is your background in writing; who are your influences; and what situations or events inspire a story?
BUFORD: Fires of Darkness is my first novel. I wrote the original manuscript about eight or nine years ago. In spite of the comparison to Peretti, it would be hard for me to pinpoint my current influences. I have read novels by a number of authors. The one I most enjoy is John Grisham, but I can't say that his style shows up in any of my writing. The things that inspire me now are situations where the downtrodden come out as victors – stories in which the hopeless become hopeful. 
FWM: Are you working on another novel, and if so, can you tell us a bit about it?
BUFORD: I am working on a new one. I can tell you that it fits into the description I gave in my previous answer. Two young people who were misunderstood and disowned by segments of society finally get the respect they deserved – years after their deaths.
FWM: Please feel free to add anything you wish readers to know.
BUFORD: I want my readers to know that no situation is truly hopeless. God knows where they are and what they are going through. We may not see what is going on, but behind the scenes, He is working on our behalf.
FWM: Thank you.
Dian Moore is a freelance writer, editor and reviewer and the hands behind Hands for Hope, www.handsforhope.com. If you would like to write to Dian, you can do so via the Letters page of this magazine.