The Ambition

by Lee Strobel

Paperback, 2011



Call number



Zondervan (2011), 320 pages


A corrupt judge vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate must contend with incriminating evidence held by a desperate lawyer, a pastor using his megachurch to fund his political ambitions, and a newspaper reporter threatening to uncover both their secrets.


Original language



0310334225 / 9780310334224

User reviews

LibraryThing member jenniferbogart
Everyone (well, almost) is familiar with Lee Strobel’s best-selling non-fiction works of Christian apologetics, but his latest release is something quite different – and exciting. The Ambition is Strobel’s first major work of fiction, and though it is written in a genre that I don’t
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normally read, I was very interested in reading the results of his latest writing efforts. I wasn’t disappointed.

When Tom O’Sullivan, a struggling lawyer with a gambling problem, accepts the task of slipping a bribe to a judge, he didn’t know the trouble he was in for. When this same judge turns out to be a forerunner as a replacement for a corrupt senator, things are looking bad. Eric Snow, the pastor of a suburban mega church throws his hat into the ring as a contender, attempting to downplay his spiritual affiliations and essentially denying God’s hand at work. Thrown into the mix are also a strident investigative journalist, struggling through difficult financial times for his paper and trying to dredge up a story to save his job.

Written with all the earmarks of a legal/political thriller, Strobel deftly mixes the strands of political ambition, organized crime, legal corruption, and faith into a fast-moving blend that keeps the pages flipping. There are quite a few characters (mostly male) to keep up with, the storylines are thoroughly interwoven, and this testosterone-driven tale is punchy and intense. Drawing upon his own experiences as a journalist and pastor, The Ambition comes across as very realistic – this is the turf Strobel learned to write on after all.

Better than solidly written, Strobel shows real potential as a fiction author, and based on the cover style (it reminds me of the Left Behind series packaging) it seems that Zondervan agrees. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see future installments in this same vein from Strobel. More than a passing curiosity (hey, let’s see what Lee Strobel has gotten himself into now), this debut novel is both enjoyable, realistic, and points the way to very real political/faith collisions while asking meaningful questions about priorities.

Reviewed at
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LibraryThing member ReviewsbyMolly
Absolutely different. Not in a bad way, mind you. Lee Strobel is an amazing author when he is writing his Case books. I love them. My dad has a whole collection of them, that I love to break into from time to time. They are stunning and amazing. But, when he writes fiction, well....let's just say
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that while his writing is not terrible, it's certainly not as good as I hoped it would be.

With that being said, The Ambition's plot is awesome. The way the story line had to flow, with mobs, and megachurches, and politics. Very intriguing to see the way the characters were created for that plot. Each character was interesting and flowed well. I really was captured by the fast pace that this book entailed.

The thrills of the book were good, the action was heart pounding and the suspense was fascinating, but for a debut novel, it could use some tuning. Not anything overly bad, just a few minor tweaks here and there with some grammar and issues with wording. I do recommend this book to those of you who love thrillers and politics. The suspense, the intriguing, thought provoking happenings of mobs and megachurches will have you on the edge of your seat with this Lee Strobel novel. Four stars and I am looking forward to another book by this otherwise fantastic author, in hopes that it will be even better!

*This eBook was provided for review by Zondervan*
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LibraryThing member loubigfish
It politics and christianity all rolled up into one book. Has a good moving plot and the player are very good. Ending has a nice twist to it. Enjoyed very much
LibraryThing member tarenn
THE AMBITION by Lee Strobel is an intriquing suspense fiction set in Chicago. It is written with depth and details. It has deceit,danger,death,the mob,payoffs, power,politics,bribes,contract killing,secrets,Senate candidate's and their secrets.This story if full of political intrigue,a megachurch,a
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big city newspaper,all the while taking you into the corrupt world of payoffs,corruption,and betrayal. It will have you on the edge of your seat.This is a thriller that is not to be missed as newspaper reporter Garry Strider probes into the world of justice,and corruption all while struggling to survive. The author weaves an exciting thriller with edgy characters and a powerful climax that will leave you breathless. A must read. This book was received from the Nancy Berland Public Relations,Inc.for the purpose of review.Details can be find at Zondervan and My Book Addiction Reviews.
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LibraryThing member celticlady53
I received a copy of Lee Strobel's fiction book The Ambition for review. I did not know about this author so I was not aware that he wrote non fiction christian books.

This first novel is full of colorful characters, including a corrupt judge, a few Chicago mobsters,and an Evanglical pastor with
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political aspirations. The main character is a reporter trying to get the big story, one that will help him keep his job and advance his career. There are a few different side stories that are all pulled together by the end of the book. At first I had a difficult time reading this book as there were so many characters introduced that is was hard to remember who was who. After a few chapters I was hooked though. Fast paced and suspenseful, this book will appeal to all fans of the mystery genre with a bit of miracles and the mob thrown in.
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LibraryThing member maribs
Filled with scandal, corruption, murder and a couple of miracles, The Ambition is definitely a page-turner. Author Lee Strobel puts everything he's got into this first novel that won't disappoint his fans. He has taken his experience in law, journalism and religion to produce quite an entertaining
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tale. Strobel is a best selling author of Christian non-ficion. His Case books are very popular, though I have not read or heard of them before reading The Ambition. It seems he has quite a big following in the Evangelical Christian community who have found his non-fiction books helpful in their lives.

His strong Christian beliefs make there way into this novel as well, which is understandable since it is considered Christian fiction. His characters' beliefs are always shared and there is some preaching (amongst the characters). Though prominent, it doesn't get in the way of the story. In fact, considering the subject matter- it fits. The Ambition is also a thriller. As mentioned previously, there are mob hits, corrupt judges and possible scandals within a large Church. Strobel does a good job of weaving together these two seemingly different genres.

I had a couple minor issues. One- there are many characters to keep track of- a pastor looking to leave his church to get into politics, a corrupt judge, a gambling addict who is a disbarred lawyer, and a journalist looking for a story to help keep his paper afloat. I managed to get confused with who was who quite a bit in the beginning. Once I got more into the story, and their importance to the story revealed itself, I no longer had any issues following along with each character.

Second, I would have liked to seen a little more bad in the good. What I mean is the characters that are supposed to be good guys were and the bad were bad. There wasn't much in the way of surprises in the end. The agnostic becomes a believer, the pastor returns to his flock, the gambler turns to God and the bad guys get caught.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read even for someone who doesn't normally read Christian fiction.
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LibraryThing member AngieMargi
Eric Snow, Pastor, turned polictician, is embattled with a judge of dubious character to claim a set in the U.S. Senate.
Newspaper reporter Garry Strider finds intrigues on both sides.
LibraryThing member MaryAnn12
A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it. New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel weaves these edgy characters into an intricate
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thriller set in a gleaming, suburban mega church, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue. The unexpected climax is as gripping as the contract killing that punctuates the opening scene.

Exciting, suspenseful, witty, smart, and very entertaining, this is a great read. Lee Strobel steals the show - yet again - with a compelling and gripping tale. There's a twist at every turn. Good characters and a plot that keeps surprising. The story kept me riveted the ending super-satisfying. It also kept me guessing until the end.

I was given this book by Christian Review of Books.
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LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
An interesting look into discerning when an action is God's will for you and when it is your own ambition providing the motivation.

This is more of a plot driven novel rather than a character driven one. I can't say there was a particular character that I grew to care about, but I was still turning
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the pages to see how the author would resolve the story.

The ending felt a bit rushed to me--almost like there was a page count the author had to adhere to and so he pushed to wrap it up at that point. He did resolve most of the storylines, but left the possibility for a sequel open with Eric Snow's last bit of dialogue.
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LibraryThing member jfe16
A complex thriller featuring the mob, a corrupt judge, a disillusioned megachurch pastor, and a cynical reporter. The story features political intrigue and ruthless killing and unfolds in what is mostly a predictable read. This narrative of faith and miracles, of greed and power, will not
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disappoint. Edgy characters, strong situations, and a twisty plot all combine to create this page-turner.

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LibraryThing member susandennis
I tripped over this in my library search for new mysteries/thrillers in audio books. I never heard of the author but love the reader (Scott Brick) so I gave it a whirl. And I enjoyed it enormously. Good characters, good story - what more do I need. An evangelist and a judge are contenders to fill a
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Senate term abandoned by the guy elected. A reporter is thrown into the mix. The story hangs together with all the needed credibility.

I'm sorry Strobel does no have more mystery/thrillers in his list o' books. I'd read 'em all.
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