Desecration (by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins)

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins were clearly onto a good thing with their 'Left Behind' series. Originally supposed to be six books - or so I heard - it stretched into twelve.

Unfortunately, although it started extremely well with the novel 'Left Behind', a thriller about the Rapture - when Christians are supposed to be taken directly to heaven before seven years of tribulation - it started to peter out around the fourth or fifth book. The characters were cardboard cutouts, the plot increasingly bizarre, and the 'preaching' and theology increased dramatically.

Still, there was something almost compulsive about them. So when I had the opportunity of reading 'Desecration', ninth in the series, I did so. It's the continuing story of the little band of people left behind after the Rapture, who became Christian believers - known to themselves as the 'Tribulation Force'.

Action heats up as Nicolae Carpathia - the antichrist - desecrates the temple in Jerusalem. Chaim prophesies in public, and a million Jewish believers are allowed to escape.

There is also high drama as two of the Tribulation Force meet untimely ends.

Unfortunately, despite the potential for an exciting and moving book, it is spoiled by rapid and confusing scene-changes, unrealistic slang talk, and still no character development whatsoever. There simply isn't any emotional impact to the story.

There is a cliff-hanging ending, but even then it's easy enough to guess what will happen next.

Not really recommended unless you're caught up in the series already.

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