I read this on August 4th, 2013
Within a period of weeks, three horrific bomb blasts devastate areas of London, Los Angeles and Sydney. No explanation is offered, no victory claimed for these acts of terror. Yet behind the scenes a Machiavellian European businessman is planning to bring the G8 nations to their knees for his own larcenous purposes, aided by the dark forces to whom he has sold his soul. Jack Haines, an Australian academic, is grieving the loss of wife and children in the Sydney blast. Against his will he finds himself thrown into a war that transcends the physical world, a conflict in which angelic guards have a special mission for him.
A very good debut novel by Ian Acheson. The pace is more than enough to keep you wanting more and coming back for same. The plot is well constructed and flows well. Characters you can relate to and are believable.
I feel it is inevitable that any novel that concerns angels versus demons, both interacting with humans, the former to strengthen the Christian's relationship with God or to bring an unbeliever to God, and the latter to destroy a Christian's relationship with God and keep the unbeliever from God, there is bound to be comparisons. I have read many novels of this genre and can see the similarities and differences. Ian has added some differences that I have not encountered before. One noticeable is female angels. I am not against this and in one sense cannot really criticise any author for doing this as there is only one mention of female angels in the bible.
Another is that like humans, the angels in this novel have angel blood and these angels can be injured and tire from fighting. This, for me, does not detract from previous portrayals of angels in other similar novels but adds a nice variation. Demon wise, Acheson has them being killed and disintegrating or vaporising but he does mention that once this has happened they are returned to the pit of hell. Again, this is not a distraction for me from what I have read in other such novels or what I have grown up to believe what angels and demons are. Such variations show a writers creativity. There is no mention in the bible whether an angel or demon is able to be killed as such as we are used to seeing in physical form. So here is where an author gets to play with some poetic licence and add some interesting aspects to the plot and characterisation. I feel Acheson has done this well without making the angels or demons less that what we are used to believing they are, mainly from biblical sources.
I know that non Christian readers cringe in a novel where prayer is initiated by the Christian characters and even Christian readers do the same, which I feel is sad, but this is one of the only novels i have read where there is more of this than I am used to, but that is not a negative. I find that this shows the authors heart towards God and the depth of this relationship. This is where an author can influence a reader's walk with God and strengthen his relationship with God. That impresses me and encourages me to read his work and remain a fan. It also illustrates to the Christian reader the importance of prayer as a powerful and important weapon in spiritual warfare. So from this angle, it grieves me that fellow Christians do not like prayer included in novels especially ones in this genre. Some would say this detracts from the plot and interrupts the entertainment value of the novel. I disagree, I feel Acheson has successfully shown how this inclusion can benefit the plot and characterisation. I pray Acheson continues this practice (excuse my pun!!).
Another strength in the spiritual aspects of this novel is how Acheson has shown the Christian characters being obedient to the leading of the Spirit in prayer and action. Again, another important lesson in our daily walk as a disciple of Christ and in spiritual warfare. He has also had the angels being obedient as well and this is consistent with all biblical accounts of the work of angels; they are God's messengers after all and not autonomous beings.
There are a few instances where Acheson has a bit of plot thinness or some dialogue is weak, but this is his first novel and any well read reader will take this into consideration and give the author the benefit of the doubt. This was so minor that it did not serve to sabotage the overall plot or weaken that particular character. I was not concerned with this. Some would say these weaknesses would make this review 4/5 stars but for me, my 5/5 rating is based on taking these imperfections into consideration as a new author as I have previously mentioned and what the overall effect has on me, for example, it has entertained me immensely, it has encouraged my walk with God, it has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, it will not, I believe, lead a non believer astray or promote false doctrine to them, it honours God, it does not encourage worship of the created (angels) instead of the Creator (God).
On the whole this is one great novel. I am very impressed with this; it has become one of my favourites in this genre. I have found another author to follow, support and encourage.