A Christian novelist’s taut, exciting and fictional rendering of the march toward Armageddon.
Set two decades in the future, The 6th Seal follows three righteous rebels–Father Gudino, Maggie and Jason–as they fight against a frightening new world order led by a charismatic anti-Christ. The book recalls another recent piece of apocalypto-fiction: Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’s Left Behind. Both works endeavor to depict the end of the world in modern narrative and both take as their template the biblical book of Revelation. Despite its jaw-dropping sales numbers, though, Left Behind isn’t very good–by turns didactic and preachy, the series never transcends its poorly hidden proselytism. Not so with Seal. Emanuel’s book is similarly dogmatic–and hence probably appeals most to Christian conservatives–but he holds his religious cards closer to his chest and lets the story unfold without unnecessary sermonizing. Further, Emanuel’s book ironically benefits from his background as a military man. The end of the world is war, and war is hell. Thus the author–a former paratrooper–is able to infuse the military movements with a genuine energy that ratchets up the intensity of the book’s frequent action sequences. But that’s not all. Emanuel fancies himself an amateur hermeneute, and Seal purports to expound an â€œalternative perspective on the Biblical apocalyptic doctrine” which Emanuel calls â€œthe Harvest.” In brief, many fundamentalist Christians believe that the faithful will be whisked away before the end of days and spared the violence of the last times, in the infamous â€œRapture.” Emanuel’s Harvest, by contrast, keeps the faithful on earth through the first movements of the Revelation story, forcing them to endure some of that painful progress. Both theories are extremely speculative, though, and Emanuel’s claim is naÃ¯ve, at least as biblical exegesis. However, it makes great fodder for his fiction.
The end of the world never read so well.