Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dead Heat by Joel C Rosenberg

I've actually written the review for IntoTheBook, but I can't post it there because I can't find the image, so here's the review first:

The World Is Ending! Well, it's actually started it's decay since The Fall about 6000 years ago. But the End-Times still fascinate us. The most recent example would be the Preacher Harold Camping, who predicted the world would end on May 21. A result of this fascination is the slew of End-Times books, including Dead Heat by Joel C. Rosenberg, who based his books on the book of Ezekiel, focusing on the war of Gog and Magog.

Dead Heat, the last book in the his series, starts with the increasing chaos: Oil prices surging to record heights, A new dictator rising in Iraq, China threatening Taiwan, North Korean forces ready to strike the South and Israel feverishly trying to complete the Third Temple. In an eerie echo of his first book, which started with a terrorist attack on a major landmark in an attempt to assassinate the President, this book opens with another terrorist attack, but this time, nuclear warheads are launched and they succeed.

What follows is utter chaos. 5 nuclear warheads have hit and obliterated 4 cities: Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Most of Congress has died and America is left in chaos. Jon and Erin (the two protagonists) are in a refugee camp in Northern Jordan, Erin dangerously ill. I won't reveal all that happen, but I will state that book (and so, the series), ends with the Rapture.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which deserves the title of page-turner. While I've never been impressed with most End-Times books, which were forgettable and controversial (I've had a Preacher once tell the congregation that the Left Behind Series should be left behind), this one is very believable.

This is one book that strikes fear into my heart, and not just because Mr Rosenberg has been called a "modern Nostradamus" with many of his guesses in previous books coming true. This book scares me because of how well it portrays the evil in the world. Yes, Iraq is 'evil', but not all, if any, arguments come from extremism. In fact, one of the most convincing arguments come from a CIA traitor on why she betrayed her country to kill the President:

" I don't believe there should be only one superpower in the world. It's too dangerous. A country that is answerable to no one else becomes arrogant. Corrupt. Greedy. Bloodthirsty. And that's what has happened to America. She swaggers about the world as if she owns the place. She invades countries for no reason. She bombs civilians without mercy. She thinks she's superior to everyone on the planet and it's not right. The world is out of balance, Jonathan, and I decided to set it right.
"How can I?" Bennet asked. "You've just admitted to masterminding the assassination of the president of the United States."
"But not with nuclear weapons," Rajiv insisted, the tears coming harder now. "I wanted to humble America, not annihilate her. I wanted to bring across some kind of balance, not tip the scales completely."

Can you see the seductive power of her arguments? This book doesn't talk about evil as if it's black and white, evil is seen in the shades of grey, where the means no longer justify the ends.

This book is easy-to-read and scarily believable. The characters felt real, and not all of them were Christians when they died. In fact, some sympathetic characters (E.g. The Prime Minister of Israel) were not Christians at all, which made the book much more life-like. The book is very fast paced, and jumps between locations, which may be confusing for some people.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book if you're looking for some fast-paced and thrilling End-Times fiction. While I do not see any theological controversies inside, Mr Rosenberg is still 'interpreting' prophecy by trying to hypothesise about what will happen so this book should not be taken as the blue-print for how the End Times will play out.

I do want to end with this quote from the author, which I think is very appropriate:
"A new evil is rising. I feel it. I fear it. Let us awaken, before it's too late"

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