am 28. September 1998
I've been reading some of the reviews of books in this series and I am concerned. I know that no one will know the day or time of Jesus' return. I haven't read the fourth book yet, Soul Harvest, but from what I have read, the series gives no indication of knowing when Jesus will return. One review I read said that the Antichrist seems unrealistic. Yes, it is true that the antichrist will be the epitomy of evil, that will not be how he seems. He will be a great deceiver and liar. Many will be drawn to him, which is why we need to know a little bit of what to expect so that we ourselves are not deceived. He will appear to promote world peace, but in actuality, he wants just the opposite. I also believe that the antichrist himself is the devil incarnate. If we don't understand how cunning the devil is, we need to study some more. Satan may be using "good" people in subversive ways that we may not detect. The "Left Behind" series calls our attention to how close the end of the times may be. It shows us that we need to be ready. And those we love need to be ready, as well. So if you're being tight-lipped about your faith because of what others may think of you, you need to become more concerned with their future. Do you really want your friends to be damned to an eternity away from you and God? Think about it. And for any non-believers reading this, if you've read this book or any other in the series, almost everything the book talks about can be found in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Take my advice and check it out before it's too late! If you have any feedback from this, feel free to email me.
am 10. April 1999
I work full-time, maintain several websites, and still have had time to read Book 1, 2 & now Nicolae.
Maybe it's not "literature.." as some of the others have said, but it doesn't have to be to make good reading. I think it's simple, easy to read, easy to keep up with, and it has definately held my my attention.
I'm a born-again Christian who has had many questions about end times, and I feel Nicolae comes very close to describing the type of person he will be. The ongoing change in his personality is just as the devil would be. He comes "as an angel of light" at first, and then once he has you wants to destroy and kill you!
These books have heated up the "evangelistic side" of my nature and I'm glad Kimberly, a friend in Esther, suggested these books to me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series and am planning on promoting these books from my website.
Keep it up and by the way, I've been praying this becomes a hit movie for you as well!!
am 14. Juli 2000
I just can't take it anymore. The "Left Behind" series has cranked out three miserable novels, and that's three miserable novels too many.
Let's start with what I liked about the books. First off, the premise of the series (the world's coming to an end. What do you do?) is fairly interesting. The fulfillment of the various prophecies is fun to watch, and you want to see how each comes to being in the modern world.
However, for all of its positive points, the series is far too flawed for me to recommend. The interesting premise is hindered by shoddy writing, poor pacing, bland dialogue, one dimensional characters, and all too frequent recaps of the past events in the series.
Furthermore, the writer display a prejudice towards Catholicism, Judaism, and the U.N. Being Catholic, I'm particularly insulted by the anti-Catholic statements spread through the series. The evil, power-mad pope in the series is possibly the most offensive, but the fact that Jenkins and LaHaye display their total ignorance about our "strict orthodoxy" is also vexing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly describes salvation as coming from God alone, but this never stops the writers from making assaults on our faith. I'm also disturbed by the way the writers show the militia movement as heroic freedom fighters when such people are often, fascist, racist, and violent.
am 30. Juni 2000
The authors clearly have ulterior motives in this series, and noble as they may be, the story lapses into ridiculous plot devices. For example, in the first book, an Israeli scientist discovers a formula that allows vegetation to flourish in the desert, and this immediately transforms Israel into the richest nation on Earth, not because they license the formula but because they utilize it to turn every spare acre of their country into rich farmland. The fact is, Israeal's total area is less than the state of Illinois, and suddenly having the ability to grow corn in the desert on such a small scale would not transform a minor nation into the richest on Earth. The series also has very specific predjudices in terms of religion. It doesn't specify a denomination, but clearly favors the protestent faith, and there are numerous references that Catholics and Jews would likely find offensive. What's more, the "militia" movements of the United States, generally associated with racism and fascism, are portrayed as heroic, and their paranoia about the United Nations is given a very clear voice.
The story itself is compelling, as it takes the most exciting aspects of Christian mythology and applies them to modern times. Also, anyone who is from the northwest suburbs of Chicago will likely be amused by the frequent references to actual localities. The writers are obviously from this area.
am 28. Juni 2000
I've read all but "The Indwelling", which I'll read this summer, so I've decided to review the series. If you're a voracious reader you could finish this book in a day, no matter your reading level it is an easy read. You're likely to read it quickly because you'll want to find out what is going to happen next in this apocalyptic vision of Earth's future. This book is one of the best in the series. The action and suspense are spellbinding, so it is very entertaining. The "message" and true intent of the authors is throughout the book, you either believe it or not. The book is entertainment, not a bible study course on the Book of Revelations, so take it for what it is and enjoy the ride. The "evil one" is portrayed magnificently, totally believeable and credible. The world is his oyster and the way he manages to rise to power is slightly predictable but interesting nonetheless. The "heroes" are by now starting to become more dimensional as characters and the reader will be able to identify with them as real people. Whether you agree or disagree with the premise of this book, an interpretation of the Book of Revelations, the book is still a very good piece of fiction that in fact may be based on truth? Better than # 2 and right up there with the original # 1. No matter you're opinion, you will be left thinking about how you live your life and hopefully be a better person for it.
am 22. Juni 2000
I've just finished the third installment of this series, and must admit that the writing had improved.
I still had some problems with it: some of the dialogue and action was too predictable, the characters still weren't as fleshed out as they could have been, the action scenes were a little dry, and, as in "Tribulation Force," dialogue and narration used to describe past events were too in-depth, and dragged the story down.
Although I enjoyed this third part more than I did the second, I found myself once again skipping through certain parts. These parts contained discussions about anti-abortion, and I found the blatant propaganda to be inappropriate and unneccesary. Although the topic itself was important to the plot (involving the unborn child of the antichrist), I felt that the authors focused less on this aspect and more on...I hate to use this word in each review...*preaching* against abortion. I feel that the use of such a hot topic wasn't handled as well as it could have been.
As unimpressed as I've been with the writing aspects of the works, I'm anxious to pick up the next book, "Soul Harvest." The continued plot is turning out to be very consistant in this account of earth's last days. What happens in each book is still within reason, and actually does make one wonder about the world we live in today. I tend to be very leary of works such as this, because it can be taken too seriously by some. However, many works of fiction over the years have made us think, and these books are certainly doing that!
am 15. Mai 2000
Okay, so it's not very suspenseful. But, you have to admit, it's VERY exciting!
Let's not dance around it anymore: Nicolae Carpathia is the Antichrist. His character fully developed by now, Carpathia seethes evil, making you wish you were in the book so you could be the one to give him the "fatal head wound" described in the Bible! With each new paragraph, the reader is given a new idea of just how incredibly evil this man truly is...and then reminded that he is STILL just a human. Only in Book 7, the Indwelling, does he become possessed by Satan himself.
The entire book is spent developing Carpathia's character, eavesdropping on him, watching him conceive his plans and carry them out without so much as an ounce of remorse. As he takes off in a plane from Los Angeles, he gives one of his aides a simple command: "Trigger." He means, "Trigger the detonation for the bombs on Los Angeles." In seconds, a vast portion of L.A. is blown to bits for no reason at all as Carpathia simply smiles from above.
If you have read my reviews of Left Behind and Tribulation Force, you get the routine by now: Read both the book and the Scriptures of Revelation and Daniel to see how you interpret their prophecies. After all, even though entertainment is certainly a factor in Left Behind, the point is that the events described in the books reflect those which actually will happen. The important part is that you are not left behind as well, because in reality, the true Antichrist will be ten times as evil as the authors of Left Behind could ever dream him to be.
I have found the series to be Biblically sound and without fault. There are those who disagree with this, and that is their opinion. I respect it. But when the issue of where you will spend eternity after your death is being discussed, it's some serious stuff. I strongly advise that you read the books and the Scriptures with an open mind and realize that there are so many out there who believe this will be real. It's not a decision I, or your friends, or the authors of the books can make for you; it's a decision that you, yourself, must make.
Thanks for reading; I'd love to hear your comments and questions about the books or my reviews! Write me at JKuntzman@juno.com.
"Follow your dream always, and your regrets will be few." ~~Jacob Seth Kuntzman
am 19. April 2000
Yes, the sky may be falling, all the airports may be destroyed, and pestilence may be spreading across the Earth, but that doesn't stop the Tribulation Force from suddenly becoming the most wired citizens of the Global Community.
Praise be for that 10-100 Ethernet connection.
Three books into the "Left Behind" series, LaHaye and Jenkins decide that everyone's favorite unraptured ragtag band of evangelists suddenly needs cellular phones and wireless laptops, oh and don't forget a Land Rover.
Apparently, God's work involves choosing a good Internet Service Provider.
Sadly, this new digital-age materialism is the most compelling aspect of "Nicolae," which in every other regard, seems to have been phoned-in.
The female characters continue to be simpering caricatures in Book Three-- every interaction with Chloe, Amanda, Loretta, or Hattie seems to revolve around crying, whining, histrionics, or homemaking. Sometimes all four at once.
Yet the most annoying feature of LaHaye and Jenkins' Holy Posse rears its ugly Cerebus-head during the mens' chapters. You see, it appears that the neo-saints are never supposed to lie. This becomes clear from Buck's interactions with border guards and police during the escape scenes. When he is asked a question that he does not want to answer with a lie, he prevaricates--changing the subject or never quite answering.
Which is, of course, fine. A real apocalypse martyr shouldn't stake his salvation on goodness and morality and then proceed to fib like Pinnochio.
However, Buck has no problem using his fake identification and forged papers at every single border and every dangerous encounter with a guard. How exactly is this different?
Then there is Rayford Steele's little Watergate-esque bug in the airplane he flies. The de facto leader of the Tribulation Force spends most of the book being duplicitous and listening in on his boss. Hmm... smells like moral relativism.
Adopting a mendacious posture is the same as telling a falsehood, plain and simple. More to the point, it is revealing that the automatons in "Nicolae" do not have the capacity to see this dishonest behavior for what it is-- outright lying.
My guess is that any real, momentous reflection on honesty and morals is beyond the author's ability, and by extension, beyond that of his contourless characters.
But people don't read these books for their trenchant analysis of faith and piety. Leave that to Thomas Aquinas. People read the "Left Behind" books for the explosions and the eviscerated sinners.
Sadly, the action in "Nicolae" is predictable and deathly dull; you'll be begging for the Rapture yourself after hundreds of plodding pages of Buck rescuing nebbishy Tsion Ben-Judah from Israel.
Indeed, it is evident that while these passages were intended to be the fulcrum for the plotline, they read more like a vaudeville skit between a rabbi and a journalist driving a bus.
Just imagine the lovechild of "Speed" and "Yentl" and you've captured the essence of this book.
am 5. März 1999
Here's a thought about Christian fiction in general and this series in particular. A few years ago an article in Christianity Today reviewed the state of contemporary Christian fiction, and it made this perceptive observation. There are two major genres of Christian fiction: historical romances and end-times thrillers. In other words, Christians either have a sentimental, nostalgic look back to the past, where things may have been simpler or "more Christian," or they look forward to an apocalyptic future where God stomps out all his enemies. Unfortunately, this means that Christians are not doing much critical thinking about how to engage the world in the present.
Clearly this series falls in the latter category. I hope and pray that all the fans of this series, which of course are legion, are not simply gleefully and passively awaiting God's judgment on unbelievers but rather are spurred on to Christian discipleship, obedience and evangelism in the present. Is passing around copies of these books the way to do that? I'm not sure, since it seems like LaHaye and Jenkins are primarily preaching to the choir. Christians need to think carefully about how best to present the good news of Jesus to the world in today's present setting, not some speculative future-tense scenario.
am 1. September 1998
Books such as this one and it's predecessors are dangerous in that they promote an unbiblical understanding of what the endtimes are all about. No matter how you try to twist it, a careful reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 clearly shows that the rapture will take place when "the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout" (NKJV) at the time of the second coming, NOT centuries before. Premillenial Pretribulation eschatology is a set of falsehoods based on a jigsaw approach to Scripture and a mistaken interpretation of the book of Revelation and biblical prophesy. Revelation must be understood first of all in light of the first century context in which it was written. You must also realize that it, along with all biblical prophesy, is God's holy Word spoken to His people throughout the centuries, NOT just some collection of jigsaw pieces out of which we can piece together a map of future history. Revelation was NOT written solely for the entertainment of 20th century North American Christians who imagine they see it about to be be fulfilled. For a better understanding of Revelation than what you will find promoted in "Nicolae" and other books of its kind, read the simple (but not simplistic) little book: "The Book of Revelation: A Cartoon Illustrated Commentary" by Vic Lockman. The fact that "Nicolae" and the other books of this series are so popular is a sad commentary on how so many North American Christians are deceived by the false doctrine of premillenial, pretribulation eschatology.