Original Books

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Assignment by Mark Andrew Olsen

When the members of a covert order unearth a man who is alive in his own tomb, they attempt the keep him a secret from the world. The man claims he has lived for two thousand years, even though he does not look old at all. Despite their attempts to keep him undercover, the man leaves to continue to fulfill his mission-keep Satan from inhabiting a man before God is ready for the Rapture to begin. He travels the world following one man in order to keep the Destroyer away from him. Along the way, he gains the interest of the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, Hamas terrorists, renegade factions of the Vatican, a young priest, and a terrified grad student. The world is no longer the same place it was before this man came. He has seen the blood-stained history of this imperfect world, and he has lived to tell about it.

At a glance, this book looks like a bogus speculative book complete with exorcisms. Well, it has exorcisms, but it's not all that shallow. The immortal's identity is a very well explained, carefully crafted idea backed up with Scripture, believe it or not. It is not a mindless sci-fi idea, but a professional work of fiction.

However, the book is more of an exhibition for what the mysterious immortal has done and has gone through rather than a suspense tale. Never fear, there are pointless gunfights and near-death experiences to complete the seemingly mindless globetrotting experience.

It seems at first the Mark is not going to do anything original with this plot, until the reader reaches the middle of the book. That's when things start to get interesting. The book begins to take on more purpose and worth than it previously had.

By the end, there has already been the breaking up of a romantic subplot and a key character death. The one downfall of the book besides the wasted time at the beginning is the lack of good characters. Granted, they are imperfect; even the immortal is imperfect. This is a step in the right direction, but Mark should have used some of that wasted time to develop personalities. Perhaps it is a skill he will develop down the road.

It's good to know that authors like Mark Andrew Olsen are on the market, the type of authors that aren't afraid to try something original. That's always a plus in our book.

4 stars

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