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IN THE HANDS OF THE GADIANTONS,” by Cameron S. Staley, Covenant Communications, ebook $6.99, 281 pages (f)

The Book of Mormon contains the writings of the Nephite people from the time Lehi and his left Jerusalem until the death of Moroni. LDS psychologist Cameron Staley explores the possibility of a record of the wars, traditions, faith and apostasy of the descendants of Laman in his debut ebook novel “In the Hands of the Gadiantons.”

For Ishmael, becoming a man means joining his father as Zarahemla’s recorder. As a Lamanite, few records of his people exist, so preserving the documents that have survived is unglamorous but essential. Unglamorous, that is, until Ishmael discovers the personal record of Laman, the elder brother of Nephi.

As Ishmael searches the writings of Father Laman, he feels a new pride in his Lamanite heritage. But his mother, brother and fiancee believe in the Nephite writings and prophecies of Jesus Christ. After centuries of Nephite and Lamanite war, such conversion seems to Ishmael a betrayal of Lamanite tradition.

Internal conflict is not the only contention in Zarahemla. Five years have passed since the prophet Samuel’s prophecies of a star and a night without darkness and the people are restless.

A band of robbers has determined a date on which to put to death the believers if the star does not appear. While Ishmael is repelled by the group’s violent deeds, he fears for the lives of his family members if he does not join their secret combinations. As the birth of Christ approaches, Ishmael must understand all the righteous traditions of his fathers to save his family and his soul.

“In the Hands of the Gadiantons” shares several unique ideas in a timely way, such as honoring one’s heritage and a new faith. However, the book could have benefited from additional editing, as there were some typos, instances of redundant wording and some cheesy dialogue.

Staley, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was raised in the Salt Lake area and is a psychologist at Idaho State University.

“In the Hands of Gadiantons” contains moments of suspense and references to violence but no profanity or sexual content.

Rachel Chipman has a bachelor’s degree in family life and human development. Her current goals are to read more, write more and learn to type while holding her infant daughter. Her email address is

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