In one moment, millions disappear from around the planet, leaving their clothes and whatever other accessories they were wearing behind. They disappeared from in fronts of steering wheels, from the cockpits of airplanes, from their own homes, and in broad daylight. All of this causes mass destruction across the globe and sends the world into chaos. The pattern of the disappearances is seemingly random to those who were left behind. Among these are Rayford Steele, a pilot whose whole family disappeared except for his grown daughter, Chloe; Buck Williams, a single magazine reporter who has witnessed catastrophes, yet cannot digest this; and Bruce Barnes, a pastor who thought he was saved. The paths of these four people cross as they all search for the truth behind the vanishings. When it all comes around, there is only one answer that is plausible-Jesus has returned and taken His children home, leaving the rest of the world to fend for themselves as judgements descend upon the earth.
This book was groundbreaking for the Christian fiction market because it brought it out of the dark ages by providing it with its first suspense novel. The foundational idea behind the book is revolutionary even though it may seem old school now. Yet even with these merits, this book is not perfect. It still has its problems.
The characters department is the biggest problem. One cannot feel like these characters are actually real people. The authors tell the reader too often what the characters are thinking or feeling instead of showing the reader through action and dialogue. Slight personalities are meant for Rayford, Buck, and Chloe, yet Bruce Barnes cannot be grasped as a real person. He is the mentor character of the book, even though he was left behind. Basically, in the wake of the authors' inferred delirium over the groundbreaking plot idea, character development was left by the wayside. Had it been tended to, this would have been an entirely different book. If anything keeps this book off the Elite List, it is the characters.
The majority of the plot is spent showcasing and expanding upon end-times prophecies, Tim LaHaye's understood strength. This gives the authors room to create a lot of imperfection, which they did. Imperfection is, in fact, the point of the book. Many realistic events happen, mostly because the authors could not contradict the Bible. The one flaw of the plot is that all four main characters are Christians by the end of the book, but this is preferable than dragging it out over the series dramatically making a spectacle of salvation, as some have done.
All in all, Tim and Jerry's work that began in the '90s and has exploded up until now has been both under appreciated and over appreciated. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the series produces.