By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Tyndale House Publishers, 399 pp,2004
Did you think this was the final book in
the insanely popular and profitable
Left Behind series? I thought so. We're all wrong. According to the
credit list, "coming soon" will be both a prequel and a sequel. And sure
enough, this book sets up the sequel rather nicely. In fact, the web
site describes Glorious Appearing as "the twelfth book in the continuing
Q&A page states there will indeed be a sequel that "deals with life
in the Millennial kingdom" and a prequel that "will be about the
characters before the rapture."
Look, I know Jenkins and LaHaye have made
a dime or two from this series. I also know, as I explained in the
previous book's review, that they
sacrificed story to drag out the series and pump out more books. But
enough really should be enough. The series should have been over after
three or maybe six books.
But what about this book? Well, it's a
typical Left Behind book. Too many characters, too much pointless
dialog. But that's only in the first half. When Jesus comes back and
starts kicking righteous butt, the novel actually gets good, at least as
good as it's ever been., except that Nick and Leon are reduced to a
cartoonish Laurel and Hardy duo rather than vivid, real, and frightening
instruments of Satan
Look, the Left Behind series isn't
exactly great literature. I don't know if it's expected to be. I think
it's a vehicle for LaHaye to explain how he believes the Bible predicts
the end of the world. Putting it in fictional form is pretty smart
because that reaches a larger audience.
But as a witnessing tool and manna for
believers, it's very effective. Even I was moved in the second half of
the book, as Jesus preaches the Word and smotes His enemies, while at
the same time addressing each individual by name in his or her native
tongue. And how He answers prayers before they're even asked. And how
the Old Testament honor roll is carried out and characters killed in
previous books are reunited with the survivors. And how old Nick and
Leon get their just rewards and Satan his (for one thousand years, at
least). Jenkins does a fine job of showing how Jesus is a God of both
love and judgment.
The question is, will I read the sequel
and prequel? To be honest, I'm not sure yet.