LaHaye and Jenkins are literally preaching to the choir here.



This latest addition to the Jesus Chronicles is a fictionalized retelling of the Gospel story of Luke the Physician, tracing his development from Stoic to believer to chronicler of the life of Jesus.

LaHaye and Jenkins (Mark’s Story: The Gospel According to Peter, 2007, etc.) have staked out some familiar and comfortable territory for themselves and their readers, who’ll find no surprises here. The authors pick up the story of Luke, or Loukon, when he’s a slave of Theophilus, an enlightened Stoic. Theophilus sees some promise in Luke and has him educated as a physician, feeling that Luke will eventually make a welcome addition to his household. Luke feels the resentment of other slaves, however, especially of the appropriately named Diabolos, who is clearly destined not to rise. At Tarsus Luke meets the charismatic Saul, the most brilliant and irascible student at the university. At the completion of Luke’s study, and with the approval of Theophilus, Luke works at a free clinic and also as a ship’s physician, and his path once again intersects with that of Saul, now Paul, whose conversion experience has a great influence on Luke. From this point the novel becomes a series of dialogues—or even Q & As—in which Luke queries Paul about his newfound faith. Paul’s responses are not just preparation for his later writing, they herald his biblical statements. In conversation with Luke, for example, Paul says, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” We obviously know where the story is headed. Shortly before Mary’s death Luke interviews the aged woman to get background for his retelling of the history of Jesus, and by the end of the book he’s finished his account of the apostles’ ministry.

LaHaye and Jenkins are literally preaching to the choir here.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-15523-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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