Bad Arabs, steely-jawed Christians, evil Russkies, signs and portents from the Holy Land: LaHaye and Parshall, skilled packagers of prophecy, serve up Pat Robertson’s worst nightmare.
LaHaye (Luke’s Story, 2009, etc.), of course, has made a worldly fortune serving up visions of the end times with his Left Behind series, which one might have thought would offer the last word on the subject. But no: He left out some important twists on Revelation, namely a Russian-Islamic alliance that “only looked like a historic game changer,” a “global religious coalition for climate change” (evil, natch), and some inconvenient volcanic activity to pepper up the air while the forces of evil descend on Israel. Apart from that, it’s business as usual: The government is busy putting the mark of the beast on good Americans in the guise of a “biological identification tag,” and stalwart servants of Jehovah bearing biblically charged names such as Joshua Jordan (and, in the interest of gender balance, his daughter, who one wishes were named River) do their best to thwart Old Nick—and, for that matter, the Romanians. The story is predictable, the research loose, the errors many: There’s no such thing as a lieutenant major, not in this man’s army; neither is there a Dali Lama, unless the Tibetan Buddhists have appointed a cleric to oversee surrealist art; and bad old Islamicists would doubtless prefer to be grammatically correct when committing themselves to divine victory, Allah Ackbar. But no matter: This is no exercise in infallibility, but instead a by-the-numbers, fill-in-the-blanks genre thriller with all the usual cliches (“something grabbed her attention like a slap in the face”) mixed up with the first stirrings of the apocalypse.
Readers who like that sort of thing will like this. As for the others, well, you don’t need to be a fundamentalist to enjoy the end-days mayhem, but it probably helps. Suspending disbelief does, too.