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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Mark by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins

Having been resurrected and indwelt by Satan himself at his own funeral, Nicolae Carpathia is now exercising his power over the world by requiring everyone to receive a mark of loyalty to him on their forehead or right hand. The millions that flocked at his funeral to mourn his death now openly worship Nicolae and his images. As the GC sets the mark of loyalty plans into motion, David Hassid, Ming Toy, Mac McCullum, and Abdullah Smith craft a plan of escape from New Babylon so that they are not required to choose between the mark of loyalty or death by guillotine. Meanwhile, the stateside Tribulation Force moves more believers into their Chicago hideout before Buck must travel to Greece to attempt to rescue their Greek Trib Force members and Rayford and Albie attempt to rescue Hattie from a women's incarceration center. The Great Tribulation is in full swing, and the times are evil. As Christians are forced underground instead of making a deadly choice between mark or death, the Trib Force does what it can to survive the final years of earth.

The Great Tribulation has finally come to the Left Behind series. These are the wildest times in the history of Planet Earth, and a perfect chance for the authors to showcase originality. Believe it or not, they delivered, finally, in this eighth installment of the series. They have hit the five star mark with The Mark through originality to the end. This is definitely a high point of the series.

David Hassid remains an improved character, as do Albie, Leah, Hattie and Chaim. Chloe returns to her personality of old. Several new characters come in already with personalities, thus demonstrating the inconsistency of this series' character development. It matters not in this installment for the characters are now where they need to be. No more changes need to be made; no more new characters need to be introduced. This is the high point of the series' characters.

The plot is even better than the character department. The authors handle the mark of the beast situation very well. They do not protect all Trib Force members from the guillotines, let's just say. There is also one other key character death unrelated to the guillotines that serves to sever a building romantic subplot. That was definitely an unexpected but nice touch. Hattie, though she completes her realistic journey to the faith, does not cease being a good character after accepting Christ. The authors also explore an interesting sidebar issue in this book having to do with taking the mark of the beast against one's will. This book was the authors' chance to show off some originality after playing around in the first seven books of the series, and they finally delivered with the best book of the series yet. This is hopefully only the tip of the iceberg.

The remaining books of the series should at least be Elite, but one never knows, especially with Petra approaching. For now, let us celebrate that Tim and Jerry finally wrote that impending five star novel.

5 stars

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