Christian

The Last Days Lasted for Days

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The Last Days by Joel Rosenberg

3 star

3 Stars

I read Joel Rosenberg’s thriller “The Last Days” to expand the range of authors I read in this genre. Two years later, I finished his book. Getting through it became a personal quest to see if I could finish what I started. I didn’t dislike the book enough to stop reading it, but it didn’t spark my interest the way that other thrillers have.

The author obviously has a deep knowledge of Arab-Israeli politics and knowledge of Middle Eastern politics that gives the book an air of realism missing from other thrillers, right down to using real figures such as Yasser Arafat. At times Rosenberg veered into speculative territory that left me shaking my head, suggesting, for example, that the U.S. Secretary of State would conduct peace negotiations in the Gaza Strip. The author’s in-depth explanations of world events and political undercurrents that would do well in a textbook bogged down the story.

Surprisingly, the book lacked nonstop action and suspense that I would have expected from a story about efforts to avert a war between the Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans following the assassination of a major political figure and the killing of the U.S. Secretary of State. The few action scenes rescued the book at critical moments, but I would have preferred more of them to keep the story moving. The beginning and end are dramatic with a couple of well-placed nail-biter scenes interspersed. Otherwise, Rosenberg’s detailed descriptions and long-winded dialogue left me disinterested.

“The Last Days” had enough redemptive qualities to merit three stars. It’s a book for those who like cerebral, meaty thrillers who aren’t expecting the protagonist to single-handedly strong arm the bad guys.

The Last Days is now available at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Thought-Provoking Fantasy Linking the Present and Future

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White / Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker

4 star

4 stars

Author Ted Dekker offers an interesting premise in his Circle Trilogy (Black/Red/White) — that a man can alternate between the present and the future through his dreams and influence one reality by his actions in the other. The series is also a fascinating Biblical allegory. The final book, White, is the best of the three, because it explains clearly in the finale most of the unanswered questions Dekker raises in this thought-provoking series. For fans of fantasy, speculative fiction, and Christian literature, it’s a real treat. It’s smart writing with undertones that make you think.

The story is a bit melodramatic at times and lags in places, and it’s difficult to keep the multitude of characters straight because some lack depth or disappear and reappear at different points in the trilogy. You also have to suspend belief when Dekker writes about how politics in Washington and foreign governments work. It’s not the way geopolitics works.

All in all, it’s a trilogy worth reading. I recommend buying the 3-in-1 book and read all three together (or the 4-in-1 book that includes the 4th book, Green). I gave the first two books, Black and Red, four stars primarily because at times they leave the reader confused about names, places, events, and how they relate to the Biblical allegory. In the end, though, Dekker redeems himself with a solid ending a notch above 4 stars.

The Circle Trilogy is now available at:

Amazon

Goodreads