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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Glorious Appearing
The End of Days

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 drama." The 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.

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