Biblical thriller with compelling elements and characters, though it doesn’t fully deliver on its potential for mystery and...

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Forerunners - A Prelude to the Second Coming

A priest and a diplomat believe the antichrist will soon rise to power and that his forerunner is already among them.

Father Matthew Huntington, an exemplary priest, works with local youth and on missions abroad with U.S. Ambassador John Elias. However, nothing in his experience prepares him for a morning when the pages of his Bible start turning themselves. A supernatural presence guides him to read passages from Revelation to his congregation; Father Matthew believes it might be a miracle, maybe even a warning from God. At the same time, the priest’s friend and sometime diplomatic partner, John, has experienced a revelation of his own. An infamous Washington, D.C., psychic tells him that holy visions have shown her that the end is near, and it is just as the Bible says. A forerunner to the antichrist is already on Earth, gaining power as a messenger of peace, she says, and paving the way for apocalypse. “From the signs, he could be one of at least six people on my list” of possible evil forerunners, she tells John. “And of the six,” she says, “you are included.” Soon after, the president sends Father Matthew, John, and popular Olympic athlete Jason Armstrong on a diplomatic mission to Greece. Unsure of what these omens and prophecies mean, the priest and diplomat must work together to discover who among them is a forerunner of peace and who is working for the antichrist. Leodas, author of several mystery novels, knows how to build scenes with incredible tension, shifting character motives, and shocking bursts of violence. However, as a book about the forerunners to apocalypse rather than the main event, most of the story feels like exposition and buildup to more exciting possibilities. Several enticing ideas and characters, in particular a cocky Italian policeman, seem to disappear from the main story, which never achieves the same crescendo and excitement that Leodas produces in smaller, more intimate moments; a premature reveal of the true villain doesn’t help. However, readers intrigued by prophecy-based thrillers will appreciate Leodas’ characters and prophetic details.

Biblical thriller with compelling elements and characters, though it doesn’t fully deliver on its potential for mystery and excitement.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5146-7184-9

Page Count: 370

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2015

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A bold, fertile work lit by powerful images, often consumed by debate, almost old-school in its feminist commitment.

THE BOOK OF V.

Esther, the Old Testament teenager who reluctantly married a Persian king and saved her people, is connected across the ages to two more contemporary women in a sinuous, thoughtful braid of women’s unceasing struggles for liberty and identity.

Biblical Esther, second-wave feminist Vee, and contemporary mother-of-two Lily are the women whose narrative strands and differing yet sometimes parallel dilemmas are interwoven in Solomon’s (Leaving Lucy Pear, 2016, etc.) questing, unpredictable new novel. All three are grappling—some more dangerously than others—with aspects of male power versus their own self-determination. Esther, selected from 40 virgins to be the second queen—after her predecessor, Vashti, was banished (or worse)—is the strangest. Her magical powers can bring on a shocking physical transformation or reanimate a skeletal bird, yet she is still a prisoner in a gilded cage, mother to an heir, frustrated daughter of an imperiled tribe. Vee, wife of an ambitious senator in 1970s Washington, finds herself a player in a House of Cards–type scenario, pressured toward sexual humiliation by her unscrupulous husband. Lily, in 21st-century Brooklyn, has chosen motherhood over work and is fretting about the costumes for her two daughters to wear at the Purim carnival honoring Esther. Alongside questions of male dominance, issues of sexuality arise often, as do female communities, from Esther’s slave sisters to Vee’s consciousness-raising groups to Lily’s sewing circle. And while layers of overlap continue among the three women's stories—second wives, sewing, humming—so do subtly different individual choices. Finely written and often vividly imagined, this is a cerebral, interior novel devoted to the notion of womanhood as a composite construction made up of myriad stories and influences.

A bold, fertile work lit by powerful images, often consumed by debate, almost old-school in its feminist commitment.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25701-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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