The Church Builder from A.L. Shields

Share Article

A violent showdown looms between a powerful secret society that has battled for centuries to destroy religion in all of its forms and a smaller, less organized group determined to protect the church. In this fast-paced thriller from A. L. Shields -- a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Stephen L. Carter -- one woman is caught up in a shadowy war that could change the course of history.

News Image

A.L. Shields

Serpents. Sin... and Redemption. The Church Builder has it all.

In his recent New York Times essay “Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?” author Paul Elie writes: “Where has the novel of belief gone?” A.L. Shields’s The Church Builder is the novel that Elie and many others have been waiting for.

In The Church Builder, A.L. Shields has written a complex thriller that entertains and enlightens. The Church Builder is the fast-paced story of a young attorney named Bethany Barclay, and the seething, underground religious war she is drawn into while searching for answers about her best friend’s death. The Church Builder draws upon elements of the classic thriller that will be familiar to fans of Dan Brown and James Rollins—secret societies, hidden codes, deathbed whispers, unexpected treachery—to create a high-stakes game of cat and mouse that blazes through the American heartland. This is a world in which nothing is as it seems and where there is no safe place to hide.

The Synopsis

In this gripping thriller by A. L. Shields, a secret society has been conspiring for generations to eradicate religion. The final outcome will rest on Bethany Barclay’s ability to piece together the events of the final months of her best friend’s life.

The evidence is against her. The FBI is right behind her. A malevolent killer has her in his sights. And as Bethany digs deeper into a complex web of lies surrounding the murder of her client’s son, she remains unaware of the real battle in front of her. She thinks her friend Annabelle was killed because of what she learned about a rumored first-century Christian artifact. What Bethany doesn’t know is that Annabelle died in the crossfire between two shadowy organizations that have been doing battle for centuries. The Wilderness, wealthy and vast, is dedicated to the destruction of all religious faith. The Garden, a group of seven members led by a man they call the Builder, carries on a grim, secret struggle to protect the church.

Only a few in the Garden realize that there’s more at stake than the artifact the Wilderness is seeking. As Bethany discovers that she’s a tiny part of a larger war, can she trust the Builder to save her? Or will he sacrifice her for the cause?

Praise for The Church Builder:

"The Church Builder is a roller-coaster ride of plot twists and surprises, written with awe-inspiring skill."
— Terri Blackstock, New York Times Best-selling author of Intervention and Truth Stained Lies

“Serpents. Sin... and Redemption. The Church Builder has it all. I love this book. Bethany is my kind of superhero: smart, compassionate, and oh so wise.”
— Lis Wiehl, New York Times best-selling author and FOX News Legal Analyst

“Outstanding. Riveting and disturbing in equal measure. The Church Builder illuminates the battle between church and those that wish to crush it with gripping force. Highly recommended.”
— Davis Bunn, best-selling author of The Book of Hours

“Don’t miss this provocative tale by a craftsman at the top of his game. Besides being riveted and entertained, you will be challenged by The Church Builder to think in new ways.”
— Jerry B. Jenkins, novelist & biographer. Owner, Christian Writers Guild

About the Author

A. L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for more than thirty years. He is also the author of seven acclaimed works of nonfiction and five bestselling novels, including The Emperor of Ocean Park, which spent eleven weeks on the New York Times best seller list.

Praise for Stephen L. Carter:

“Carter writes graceful prose, and he understands the mechanics of suspenseful storytelling.”
– Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

For more information, visit the A.L. Shields Facebook page here.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author


Jessica Lloyd