A Solid Tale of Good vs. Evil
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: River North, Imprint of Moody Publishers
Length: 296 pp
2013 Christy Award Winner (Suspense)
The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable.
A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within. Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command. And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.
Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand. Only later would they see a pattern emerge – one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation. They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility. And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.But power and money are at stake. Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend. To succeed they must also undermine its source. Can we really believe that God speaks to people today? Surely this must be dismissed as superstition or delusion. These well-intentioned but misguided individuals should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages.
The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God’s will. The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith. Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals? Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose?
The movement may herald a profound renewal – one that some are calling The Turning…
One interesting thing to note: the entire plot of the novel takes place over the course of 12 days. As such, in addition to chapters, the novel is divided into sections labelled “Day One,” “Day Two,” “Day Three,” and so on.
In the beginning of the book, it’s a little disorienting trying to be sure you know all the players.
The major characters:
- Trent, a New York City career climber, who’ll stop at nothing to prove himself and attain power.
- John, a quiet, blue-collar man from Cleveland
- Alisha, an African-American choir director from Baltimore
- Jenny, a young, single Chinese-American editor from Orlando
- Ruth, the widow of a famous evangelist
- Yussuf, a refugee from Damascus, trained as a surgeon
When introduced to Trent, you are able to sympathize, at least a bit, with him. He has a background as a bit of an outcast. Due to a cleft palette, he never quite fit in. While I sympathized with him, I never really liked him. But then, he’s the villain, right?
John, however, was immediately likeable. Alisha, too. Jenny took a little while to grow on me, but I was able to understand her generational parent/child dynamics.
Each of the characters is unique. Five people hear God’s voice directing them. I was disappointed that four of these folks were in church when they heard God’s voice speaking. I guess the target audience for the book is church-goers, but there are believers who may not go to church. It might have been nice to have God select an unbeliever. But that would have taken time that isn’t available in the 12 day framework. Still, it’s hard not to remember that Jesus went outside the walls of the church to find his apostles. It’s a minor gripe, but something I couldn’t help but notice.
If you can get past the small contrivances that bring the five people together in New York City, The Turning has some valuable lessons and messages to impart. First, the book serves as a good reminder that God is still speaking today. It also urges us to remember that though we are each but one person, together we can accomplish much, especially when God is at the center.
Each person who is called to respond has a lot of soul-searching to do. And of each, much is required. Generally they must grapple with relationship issues and forgiveness. Additionally, each has to make sacrifices as he/she surrenders to God’s will. You’ll find some of their stories emotionally moving, and probably ask yourself questions about your own relationships.
The story is a classic tale of good vs. evil. In this case, the struggle is an ideological war. A dark world view dominated by greed, power-lust, and self-gratification under the banner “Hope is Dead” is pitted against a small, motley crew of individuals who believe that God is still alive and well.
Some elements of the story are a little far-fetched, and some of the characters are a tad stereotyped. But, true to life, most of the characters are flawed humans. It helped that, in particular, I found the character of John Jacobs — the reluctant leader — likeable and compelling.
There were moments of humor to help keep the overall tone of the novel from getting too dark or moody. The plot, though at times predictable, moved along at a steady pace. I was a little uncertain whether the ending was admitting that the fight was just beginning or leaving things open for possible sequels.
— Dawn Teresa
3 of 5 Hearts. A Solid Tale of Good vs. Evil.
The Turning is likely to be enjoyed, and possibly rated more highly, by certain kinds of readers. This is probably not a book that will appeal to those outside the Christian market. Though not without flaws, it’s an enjoyable read that delivers an important message.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the above book for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”