Horrible bloodshed, cryptic omens and a doomsday asteroid propel this angsty Christian sci-fi saga.
When archaeologist Jonah Lamb unearths a scroll in the Holy Land containing the prophecy that “a rock thrown by the priestess Juno will strike the earth,” his astrophysicist friend Martin Henley connects it to the comet that’s about to hit asteroid 3 Juno and knock it onto a collision-course with earth. Rejecting an invitation from snobby plutocrats to join them on their space station, Martin and Jonah activate a project to preserve a saving remnant in an “Ark”—a nuclear-powered bunker in Idaho where a young man and woman, thousands of frozen embryos, a garden and a two-by-two collection of animals will wait in cryogenic slumber to repopulate Earth once the asteroid radiation subsides in a few decades. All they need is a watchman, and who, they wonder, could be better than David Keyes, a doctor who has been in an alcoholic stupor ever since his family was slaughtered by psychopaths in the novel’s grisly opening chapter? David is dubious, but with God’s prompting he accepts the lonely mission to watch over the bunker’s sleeping “Adam” and “Eve.” Alas, every Eden has its serpent, and the devil’s murmured temptations prod David toward a crisis of faith—with all Creation hanging in the balance. The author crafts an arresting end-of-days scenario and invests his hero’s predicament—alone and despondent, David can never quite tell whether he is sane or delusional—with real pathos. The story often gets derailed by mythic and spiritual flourishes; there are extended scenes of the showdown between David and Goliath and the crucifixion of Jesus, and mystic soliloquies becalm the narrative. (“When you make the two into one and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower…then you too will enter the kingdom of heaven.”) Gregory’s pastiche of biblical and sci-fi motifs can feel contrived and heavy-handed.
A tech-heavy reimagining of Genesis and the Book of Revelation, with hit-and-miss results.