Action-adventure for a Christian evangelical audience.

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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 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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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

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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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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