Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last Days and Times

Sally Reiser is a broken woman. The abuse she has suffered has made her hard, and before she met a doctoral student, the one great love of her life has been her retarded and adorable son, Eulie. But neither her life nor the effects of her abuse stop there. Everything that she has been through and has been shown to her has carefully molded her into the ingenious researcher she needed to be in order to bring down a madman bent on destroying the earth.

Despite the title, LAST DAYS AND TIMES by Stephan Loy is not a book about the end times per se, but it does draw heavily on the Biblical prophesies surrounding the coming of our Lord. Just like Tim Lahaye's LEFT BEHIND, it's a fictional account dreamed up in the fanciful whims of a writer based very loosely on scripture, but unlike Mr. Lahaye's series, LAST DAYS AND TIMES is not expected to be taken as truth, and that is one of the many reasons Stephan Loy's novel is more fun to read. While stating this book is better written than the atrocity Mr. Lahaye spewed on the literary world is not much of a compliment, I will say that the pacing and well written characters put LAST DAYS AND TIMES in a much higher category.

There is, however, one caveat to the character of Gary Lamonte, the main character's love interest. He is a principled and very faithful and educated Southern Baptist, but he does not believe in the infallibility of God's own word. The author is a liberal Catholic, and while I understand that writers often infuse their own beliefs in their stories, it is more important for the characters to be consistent. While I disagree with Mr. Loy's understanding of the Bible, I was most pleasantly surprised by a major theme that was woven through the book, and that is one of providence. God chooses those whom He wills, and He bestows His love unmerited. This is a very Augustinian viewpoint.

While on the subject of the author's Christian denomination, another problem with the novel that caught my attention was the fact that even though the antagonist is just over two thousand years old, his prophetic interpretations were loosely based in dispensationalism. The reason I find this odd is because it is a system of Biblical interpretation that has only been around for one hundred and fifty years, give or take. Catholicism has been around much longer, and its followers do not adhere to the rantings of the loud dispensational crowd. Also, anyone who is two thousand years old would laugh at that belief system. If this book were written by a Southern Baptist or a Pentacostal, the mistake would be more forgivable due to ignorance. As I said above, it is truly fiction, even from the standpoint of the author, so he may have taken license to appeal to a wider audience, and perhaps writing from that viewpoint is more fun when dealing with a madman trying to hasten the Lord's return. As such, I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to others who love charcter-driven, fast-paced action novels. No matter what your faith is, it's a fun book to read.

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