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Exploring the Bible through City of Peace

City of Peace

A novel by Henry G. Brinton

Split into competing faiths and ideologies, Americans are feeling anxious, fearful, and deeply suspicious of their neighbors. City of Peace is a gripping and fast-paced mystery story that engages people politically and spiritually, leaving them with fresh insight into how they can overcome polarizing divisions today. Henry G. Brinton is an author and a Presbyterian pastor who has written on religion and culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and Huffington Post. His interfaith work and appreciation for the wisdom of the ancient world began on an archaeological dig in the Galilee region of Israel, while he was a college student. In his writing and ministry, Henry is committed to building bridges between people of diverse cultures, religions, and political positions.

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Henry G. Brinton

Meet Henry G. Brinton

My college roommate brought a brochure home from his religion class, advertising the 1980 Duke Summer Semester in Israel. He decided not to go, but I jumped in — a decision that changed my life.
My love for the wisdom of the ancient world began that summer on an archaeological dig in the Galilee region of Israel. I realized then that all of the stories of the Bible were based on something real: Soil, water, stones, olives trees, coins, sheep, goats, flesh-and-blood human beings. Working on a team of Jews and Christians, I also felt drawn to the interfaith community and made the decision to return to college as a religion major.

City of Peace book cover

When Methodist minister Harley Camden loses his wife and daughter in a European terrorist attack, he spirals downward into grief and anger. The bishop forces him to move to a tiny church in small-town Occoquan, Virginia, to heal and recover. But all hope for serenity is quickly shattered by the mysterious murder of the daughter of the local Iraqi baker, followed by the threat of an attack by Islamic extremists.

Harley tries to build bridges to his neighbors, including Muslims and Coptic Christians, and digs into the history of the ancient Galilean city of Sepphoris to find the secret to survival in a fractured and violent world. Past and present come together in surprising ways as Harley sets out to stop the violence and save his new flock.

City of Peace is a gripping and fast-paced mystery that will engage people politically and spiritually, leaving them with fresh insight into how they can overcome polarizing divisions among people of differing cultures and faiths.


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Exploring the Bible through City of Peace

Early Praise

"A tale of overcoming rage, unlearning religious prejudice, and finding the ground of community and forgiveness, Brinton's City of Peace speaks a needed pastoral word into our troubled, fractious time."

—David Williams

author of When the English Fall

“The story of Harley is not just the story of one man, but also a story that many can relate to, one going from frustration and sadness into redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation. A must read.”

—Shahid Rahman
Executive Director, American Muslim Institution

"In this thrilling mystery, City of Peace paints a daunting picture of life in a polarized world. When cultures and faiths intersect, author Henry Brinton brilliantly weaves a blueprint for co-existence. Great message and well written."

–Benjamin H Berkley, Author of In Defense of Guilt and Against My Will

"I have gotten to know Harley Camden and am all the better for it. In his stunning book City of Peace, Henry Brinton gives us unforgettable characters, an engaging and provocative story, and worthy revelations for us all."

—Peter M. Wallace, author of The Passionate Jesus and producer/host of the Day1
radio program

City of Peace allows us to see our religiously divided world through the eyes of a pastor in pain. Harley's grief opens him to receive comfort from unexpected places -- shared meals with new neighbors, the sight of ospreys on the Potomac, and the needs of a young Muslim man. Such moments not only help heal Harley’s grief, but equip him for the challenges of ministering in a community wracked by hate.

Rev. Ruth Everhart, author of Ruined (a memoir)

“Terrorist murderers can change a loving man from the inside out when the victims are his wife and daughter. Henry Brinton’s writing prowess is applied to the full extent of his storytelling power in this, his premiere novel, City of Peace, where he poignantly portrays the inner terminal of a righteous and wounded soul, whose healing, and redemption, crosses the most unexpected of cultural and religious lines.”

—Peter Panagore, bestselling author of Heaven Is Beautiful: How Dying
Taught Me That Death is Just The Beginning

Deeply spiritual writers often have difficulty with suspense. Not Henry Brinton. Faith’s challenges are present along with its opportunities as the protagonist, Harley Camden, confronts both real and imagined assaults on his sensitivities. City of Peace is timely, compelling and entertaining—in hockey they call that the “hat trick.”

Al Sikes, author of Culture Leads, Leaders Follow and former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. 

“What’s a Presbyterian pastor doing writing a page-turning murder mystery? I’d say doing a dazzling job reaching readers who will appreciate a terrific mix of the spiritual and the thrilling.”

— Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary and Director, Center for Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary

Author Q & A

Read what Henry G. Brinton has to say about his new novel, City of Peace.

Book Club Questions

Is your book club reading City of Peace? Here are some questions for your next discussion.

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