19/01/2003

The Remnant (by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins)

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are two fairly well-known writers in the USA, who collaborated on the 'Left Behind' series, a fictional look at one theory of the 'End Times'. The first book in the series - 'Left Behind' - is written as a thriller. It's exciting, it's fast-paced, and it works. It shows the Rapture - when all Christians are taken to heaven - and the problems facing those who are left behind on earth, with seven years of tribulation ahead of them.

Slowly I read my way through subsequent books in the series. Alas, they didn't improve. Rather the reverse. By the time I had reached the ninth book, 'Descecration', I was getting a bit bored. The main characters are a small band who become Christians after the Rapture, and have to fight to keep their integrity, and, indeed, their lives. There's a lot of potential for character-building, but unfortunately it doesn't happen. The book is entirely plot-driven, and even by this, the tenth in the series, I really couldn't find myself caring a scrap what happened to anyone.

Still, when we had the chance to borrow 'The Remnant', I decided to read it out of mild curiosity.

The book does move further forward in time than the previous few, covering around two years of the tribulation. Christians are now divinely protected much of the time, underground gatherings of believers are discovered, and the world becomes more and more divided.

It's another fast-moving novel, but too many characters are involved, and none of them have much personality. The only emotion I felt at all was mild suspense, as I wondered what would happen next.

While it was interesting to read this possible interpretation of End Times events as described in images in the book of Revelation, I want to care about the people when I read a book. If I don't, I'm not going to enjoy the book unless the plot is extremely clever. This one is simply event-driven, with a great deal of the authors' theology thrown in.

Not particularly recommended unless you like this kind of book and have read at least a few of the earlier ones.

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