I received a free ebook copy of this novel from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review.
This is a futuristic novel which seems to be set in the tribulation, a time of testing and torment before final days according to scripture. Wallace’s story centers around Chris and Mark, who, as children, were taken from their Christian families and brainwashed into hating Christians. Both have become members of the totalitarian police force and part of their job is to arrest Christians, after which they are tortured until they recant, and then are killed. They are both related to a Christian woman, Jenna, and part of the story is about her, and how she stood fearless against the torturing and never gave in. Mark is her grandson, and much of her story is told in flashback. It is a story of a God who performs miracles to protect His followers, and uses the weak to win others to Himself.
Even though Dumpstar, the new ruler, has tried to obliterate any trace of Christianity, there is one building in the rubble of the city that remains standing and cannot be destroyed. This is the building Jenna is drawn to, and the building that the police guard against Christians who might try to enter to find inspiration and guidance and a return to the way of their faith. When Jenna is in the building, the police are unable to see her. She is able to escape and find a way to lead others. When Mark and Chris, years later, are on duty at the building, they follow an intruder out of the building and into a cave, but they cannot see him leave. Mark and Chris each experience a conversion in the cave and are thereafter marked by the police.
The story line is interesting and the ending was a bit of a surprise. I liked the way the prayer support of the Christian community was shown as spiritual warfare. I did find the characters had rather a lot of angst — self-questioning, self-doubt, and fear of consequences — which tended to make the message rather repetitive. And there was a lot of violence. Chris, in particular, is a feared policeman; even his fellow officers stay out of his way. He always seems to be grabbing people by the shirt and tossing them into walls. He is full of bitter anger and even plays the part of a vicious officer to his advantage after he becomes a Christian leader.
I was disappointed in the book. I think that if I hadn’t promised to read the whole book, I would have stopped before I was about 1/3 through. It would benefit from some judicious editing as there were many places where there were glaring grammatical errors and confusion from lack of appropriate antecedents. I found myself recognizing a scriptural miracle, such as walking on water, and thinking the original was shorter and clearer. It has potential but I feel it has missed the mark. * * 1/2