Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Perhaps it’s Becky Wade’s Ty Porter (My One and Only) who oozes charisma. Or maybe you prefer Marcus O’Malley (The Guardian), with his quiet strength. If you like to see a man who can humble himself in the light of revealed sin and return to the Lord, then Luke Baxter (Baxter series), might be your guy. And of course, we can’t rule out Constable Jack Thornton, the impossibly noble Mountie (When Calls the Heart).
For me however, there can be only one. His name is Shiloh Irons. Perhaps you know him too?
He’s found in two series of books by Lynn Morris with her father Gilbert. For those of you new to Christian historical fiction, Gilbert Morris is one of the greats, having placed someone from the Winslow family at almost every global event for around 200 years. But back to Shiloh Irons.
When we first meet Shiloh in The Stars for a Light, we see him rescuing his future boss, Cheney Duvall. Dr. Duvall is one of the earliest female doctors and has mistakenly hired a man to be her nurse. But given that their first encounter involves him saving her from some thugs down at the New York docks, perhaps employing Shiloh was part of God’s provision for her life.
Shiloh is a war hero who fought for the Confederacy but ended up learning to be a nurse and tending to soldiers from both sides. One of the greatest things about the series is that when we first meet Shiloh, he isn’t saved and we get to a front row seat to his unfolding faith journey.
Shiloh seems virtually unflappable, despite Cheney’s ability to get herself into all sorts of trouble. He’s also a man of mystery having been left in a box from Shiloh Ironworks on the steps of an orphanage as an infant. Along with his turning to Christ, we also see his background be slowly revealed.
He’s comfortable enough in his own skin that he’s happy for Cheney to be the doctor and him the nurse without any sort of inferiority, a good reminder that when we are doing what we’re called to do, it is enough to satisfy. Before nursing, Shiloh made a living as a prizefighter and was quite successful, so keeps getting recognized. He also seems to know a lot of military leaders – another facet that comes in very handy when in a sticky spot.
But I think what I like best about Shiloh isn’t his quiet strength, his capability, his calmness or his honesty when he is wrestling with something tough. I think it’s that he goes on a journey with Cheney. In the first book, Stars for a Light, Cheney believes in God but doesn’t have a close, personal relationship. Shiloh has no faith at all. Gradually we see both come to a deep and abiding walk with the Lord. If you like historical fiction with a decent side of real history, a good romance, lots of action and an unfolding Christian journey, you’ll probably love the Cheney Duvall/Cheney and Shiloh series.
So, who’s your favorite hero? Do tell…