Action-adventure for a Christian evangelical audience.

MARK OF EVIL

With the fourth in The End series, LaHaye and Parshall (Brink of Chaos, 2012, etc.) continue to translate apocalyptic theology into action-adventure fiction.

The rapture has occurred. Christian believers have been taken to heaven. Now, Satan seeks to subdue the world, and his evil agent is the Global Alliance. The good folk left behind, now Christians, are resisting. That’s the theology piece, but the book reads like a spy novel set in the immediate future and using Revelations as a plot outline. Chapters are short, and settings jump around the globe as the narrative follows multiple characters. The protagonist is the head of the Remnant, Ethan March, subject to visions and recipient of miracles. The antagonist is Alexander Colliquin, head of the Alliance. Characters, however, are one-dimensional, although there’s a chaste love story between March and Rivka Reuban, former Mossad agent. There are odd dialogue juxtapositions—a believer is confronted by a murderous pimp in a Hong Kong back alley and threatened with death, only to respond "I’ve settled up my life with Christ. I know where I’m going. Do you?" The issues at hand are, first, the refusal of believers to submit to "BID-Tag" implants, laser-readable identity chips, and second, the Alliance’s effort to subvert the Internet to its own purposes—mind control—by taking over the United States’ vast security mainframe infrastructure, particularly a facility in Utah. Evil machinations in Washington thread through the story, including an assassination, but action zigzags around the world. With the action moving quickly, the narrative is constructed to suggest the apocalypse is near, and so there are references to current events. The writing is prosaic, and the theology is fundamentalist rather than mystical. As a character notes at book's end, the prophesied Tribulation is yet unfinished, and so LaHaye and Parshall have more to write.

Action-adventure for a Christian evangelical audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-33464-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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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Stunningly original and altogether arresting.

WOMEN TALKING

An exquisite critique of patriarchal culture from the author of All My Puny Sorrows (2014).

The Molotschna Colony is a fundamentalist Mennonite community in South America. For a period of years, almost all the women and girls have awakened to find themselves bloodied and bruised, with no memories of what might have happened in the night. At first, they assumed that, in their weakness, they were attracting demons to their beds. Then they learn that, in fact, they have been drugged and raped repeatedly by men of the colony. It’s only when one woman, Salome, attacks the accused that outside authorities are called—for the men’s protection. While the rest of the men are away in the city, arranging for bail, a group of women gather to decide how they will live after this monstrous betrayal. The title means what it says: This novel is an account of two days of discussion, and it is riveting and revelatory. The cast of characters is small, confined to two families, but it includes teenage girls and grandmothers and an assortment of women in between. The youngest form an almost indistinguishable dyad, but the others emerge from the formlessness their culture tries to enforce through behavior, dress, and hairstyle as real and vividly compelling characters. Shocked by the abuse they have endured at the hands of the men to whom they are supposed to entrust not only their bodies, but also their souls, these women embark on a conversation that encompasses all the big questions of Christian theology and Western philosophy—a ladies-only Council of Nicea, Plato’s Symposium with instant coffee instead of wine. This surely is not the first time that these women are thinking for themselves, but it might be the first time they are questioning the male-dominated system that endangered them and their children, and it is clearly the first time they are working through the practical ramifications of what they know and what they truly believe. It’s true that the narrator is a man, but that’s of necessity. These women are illiterate and therefore incapable of recording their thoughts without his sympathetic assistance.

Stunningly original and altogether arresting.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-258-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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