The realm of Christian speculative fiction is a relatively small one, and populated by authors who tend to play it safe, but Mark Carver is not one of those authors, and the result is one of the best Christian horror thrillers you ll read this side of Dekker or Peretti In this age of sanitized Christian fiction, Carver dares to go for dark and edgy with violence though rarely explicit , profanity mild stuff , and sex suggested, never graphic In other words, this ain t Grace Livingston Hill, and the Christian fiction market is better for it The world is not a nice place and it would be even nastier if Satan himself manifested here and his infernal church ruled supreme, which is the major plot point of this novel.
Being an action writer, I would have liked to have seen a bitguns ablazin and bullets blasting, but that is not a negative, merely a preference Carver was clearly aiming forof a thriller scenario than a pure action story, and he pretty much nailed it with extra helpings of Gothic atmosphere and plenty of twists and turns If you re looking for something fresh, daring, and different in the Christian thriller genre, carve out some time to read this debut novel.
Notre Dame Cathedral Lies In Ruins The Mangled Corpses Of The Possessed Are Scattered In The Shadows Beneath The Pulverized Gothic Towers This Is The Aftermath Of The ManifestationSatan Has Revealed Himself To The World, Which Falls Trembling At His Feet Religious Genocide Sweeps Europe And Asia, And The World S Greatest Fortresses Of Faith Are Smashed To The Ground The New World And Australia Become Safe Havens For Refugees Fleeing Lucifer S WrathHeaven Remains Silent The Followers Of Christ Cry Out Where Is God Patric Bourdon Believes In Himself He Claims To Be A Member Of The Church Of Satan, But In Reality, It Is His Own Hedonism That Drives Him His Zealous And Pregnant Fianc E Waits Patiently For Him To Man Up And Take Responsibility For His Impending Family, But The Lure Of Drugs And Debauchery Proves Too StrongUntil Patric Receives A Command That He Cannot RefuseTourec, His Self Righteous Half Brother, Has Begun A Campaign Of Terrorism Against The Forces Of Darkness The Church Of Satan Is Paralyzed With Fear As Tourec And His Band Of Rogue Assassins Seek Vengeance For The Evils That Lucifer Has Wrought Upon The Earth, And Patric Is Commanded To Seek Out And Neutralize His Brother By Any Means NecessaryOr His Fianc E And Unborn Child Shall Perish THE AGE OF APOLLYON Will Shock And Thrill Those Who Enter Its Worldand This Is Just The Beginning I find it difficult to give a rating to Age of Apollyon that will be meaningful to others The pieces I found well done in the novel were stunningly good, and the pieces that fell short missed by quite a bit.
In this novel, categorized as Christian speculative fiction, author Mark Carver has created an interesting character in the protagonist, Patric a man who, although he belongs to the Church of Satan, neither believes nor disbelieves in the deities in whose names a dark religious war has erupted around him Patric credibly vacillates in his views as he is played as a pawn by an unknown force Carver is masterful in his use of setting and description to create at times chilling and at time ominous tones for the novel On the other hand, the story stops short of a complete and satisfying plot It is unclear at the end whether the protagonist has changed over the course of the story or remains nothing but a pawn I was also disappointed that the twist at the conclusion of the novel was predictable as the only outcome that made sense of the world Carver had created.
The craft that shines through in this first novel, however, is promising for future tense and riveting works from this author.
Y all, I just don t know about this one My expectations, going in, were pretty low and deliberately so Four words self, published, Christian, fiction How many times does that work out as a tour de force So with that in mind, I was surprised to find this both entertaining and readable Carver s pace is fast his overall style is uneven, but it s enough to keep you turning the pages.
But turning the pages presents problems First, Carver lays out his premise with just enough details to move a plot forward Satan busts up through the ground at Notre Dame cathedral as a giant dragon and declares himself in charge Satanism incorporates not the best word but I can t think of a better one itself as a new version of Catholicism and takes over There are pentagrams and black masses none of it is described in detail, but the reader is left to understand that there has been a total inversion of the Christian order and that God is completely, utterly silent Set up complete, Carver introduces brothers Tourec, a monk turned Christian terrorist who decides that, if the church must go underground, he ll go down shooting And Patric, a Satanist who s just in it for the whore and coke The brothers are estranged, but that changes when Patric is contacted by demons or so he believes that tell him to find his brother and get him to Paris by the full moon or someone or something will kill his girlfriend and the child she s carrying.
The book ends on that very note Patric finds Tourec and gets him to Paris where Tourec, despite claiming he will no longer crusade via murder, does just that It opens the door for the girlfriend to betray Patric and read the sequel So with very low expectations in place, this book wasn t bad Reviewing it with a somewhat gimlet eye, it also wasn t very good Carver seems to have a big enough following as an independent author that he keeps churning this stuff out I may or may not follow up We ll see.
I don t think the things I said were quite spoilers, but marked it just in case.
This wasn t quite what I thought it was going to be I thought I d love this, but only ended up with that eh shrugs shoulders kind of feeling.
WRITINGThe writing was all right It wasn t great and it wasn t bad Just kind of me for me Easily readible, though, so that was good.
PLOTSo I thought this was going to be some all out chaotic war between the Satanists and the Christians Turns out there wasn t much action, just talk of terrorist attacks and what actions they were going to take through different viewpoints There was some good action towards the end, and kind of a twist that made me interested in continuing the series The story of how Satan The Great Dragon came down and how he was real while the Christian God was silent was very interesting Now looking back, I realize this book wasabout faith than anything There was no specific side to take, which I thought was cool It made me think of what I would do in those kinds of situations I wish it wasn t so vague, though Like, the moments where the characters reflected on their lives and faith were brilliant, but most of the novel was kind of meh, and I kind of got bored with it, to the point where I skimmed a bit CHARACTERSLiterally cared for none of them, except maybe Father DeMarco They were just characters to move the story along Natasha made no sense She was a Satanist, and in the story knew that Satanic and demonic influence were real, but found it odd that her husband had Satanic visions GTFO Patric was boring Like I mentioned before, parts where he stopped and thought about his faith and his life were fantastic like the scene on the train with the priest, but as a character, he had no great qualities or flaws that made him a three dimensional character Tourec was a little bit better I actually kind of liked him because I could very well understand the things he did I was there shortly a few years ago, though not as extreme as terrorism Everyone else Forgettable.
CONCLUSIONI liked it It piqued my interest and I connected with it immediately The concept of this book was fascinating However, the characters and the writing weren t memorable which isn t bad I just thought those two aspects could be done better Definitely will stay for the story though I hope the next book is a little bit better 3 stars.
Following an event called the Manifestation , where Satan made an appearance in the world, the Church of Satan rises to dominance in mainland Europe Whereas Gods followers must still rely on faith, Satans have witnessed the proof of his existence The Vatican is now in the hands of the Church of Satan and Christians find themselves a persecuted minority in disagreement of how to react The story follows two half brothers Tourec, a radical Christian determined to take the fight to the Satanists and Patric, a casual Satanist, who just wants to enjoy his life but finds himself in a race to protect those he loves.
This was a well written debut and i really enjoyed the fresh ideas it contained The Satanists are not all portrayed as evil, but fairly normal, albeit selfish, people who are disillusioned with the Christian church I enjoyed the shades of grey aspect to the story and the questions it asked Is is ever acceptable to turn to terrorism Fight back or turn the other cheek These problems are what made the book so interesting for me I didn t find Tourec or Patric to be particularly sympathetic characters but they felt real and weren t completely unlikeable either.
Reading the book it felt obvious that it was going to be the first in a series I think this is a good thing and am happy there will bebooks, although the ending was perhaps not as satisfying as it could have been as a result It does set things up nicely for the next book though I worry that as the series progresses it may lose the shades of grey aspect and become apredictable black and white , good vs evil story and i think that would be a shame But i would definitely recommend this novel and intend to readin this series.
Age of Apollyon by Mark Carver brings two brothers together during the time of Satan on Earth Tourec has been told to find his half brother Patric They each have a plan, and each is following a different ruler With the return of Satan the world has changed drastically Christians and religions other than those who follow Satan are no longer safe It has been many years since his return and things are changing An edge of the seat novel that keeps you guessing right to the last page I give it a wholehearted 5 stars and can t wait for another novel from Mr Carver.
Disclaimer This novel was received as a LibraryThing giveaway.
The Age Of Apollyon is Mark Carver s debut novel You never know what you re going to get with a debut novel It can be a clumsy, difficult read or it can be unexpected brilliance Fortunately, The Age of Apollyon falls closer to brilliance Carver has fashioned a thriller that will keep you turning the pages all the way to the surprise ending Twelve years ago, in what was to become known as The Manifestation, Satan made an appearance on earth, ushering in a new era in the history of mankind The Church of Satan has since created a powerful hold over nearly every major country and economy in Europe No longer do its followers wonder if there really is a Satan They know They ve seen him Unlike God, who remained silent throughout The Manifestation and its aftermath, Satan s followers have no need to rely on their faith in his existence And the Church of Satan has becomepopular than Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism combined It s been a relatively peaceful twelve years since.
Until the moment everything changes Tonight, within the span of one hour, at least a dozen temples belonging to the Church of Satan in France, Belgium, and here in Italy, were attacked during their evening services, and several presiding ministers were assassinated, along with other members of the clergy Is this the beginning of a Holy War The Age Of Apollyon is an ambitious novel, and Carver creates a broad landscape for his story But he wisely chooses to tell the thrust of the story through the eyes of two key characters There is Patric Bourdon, a Church of Satan follower who likes the idea of doing what he wants when he wants without answering to a higher deity And then there s Tourec, a devoted Christian zealot often referred to as a Delusional by the Satanists who believes he knows the will of God and is willing to do whatever is asked of him in the name of God.
We follow these two characters throughout the novel until the very end, with several surprises along the way that I won t divulge here because I don t want to rob you of the unexpected revelations The Age Of Apollyon is fast paced, visual, intelligent, and well researched.
It s what a thriller should be.
Better than I expected It s strength isn t in the action and and adventure parts, but in an edgy and subversive take on standard end times novels.
It s the near future A spiritual manifestation of Satan in Israel has changed the world, making Satanism the dominant religion in Europe, and the lives of two brothers are changed dramatically Patric is a typical person existing in this new world a nominal believer in Satanism, he is dealing with juggling hedonism and his fiancee at the same time His brother Tourec however, is a pious young man who believes that Christians need to resist the rise of Satanism with force One day a demon demands of Patric to find his brother or lose Natasha forever, and it s a race against time as Tourec has a holy mission of his own.
The action is good on its own, and Mark s book moves a long at a brisk clip But what really sticks out is how Mark adds a twist to a genre ends times novels that too easily falls into cliche When the Manifestation happens, people react realistically a religious panic turns into a massive bloodbath where many Christians fight to protect the holy places, and everyone fights everyone This creates fallout in Tourec s life, as well as others While Satanism is as bad as you d expect, people also deal with it realistically Patric is a Satanist as much as many nominal Christians are Christian, and the Christians themselves war with the proper response against them Some embrace violence, other turn the other cheek It s an interesting take on it, because in a way it reverses the old Christians versus Satanist terrorists trope, and it also feels like how people would react to a new spiritual manifestation It suffers a little from being underexplored, but it adds a lot to the novel.
The only issue I had is that the ending is a bit off theologically It s actually different than you d expect, in a good way, but the idea I don t think can work I don t want to put it in spoilers, though Also, while it sets up the next book very nicely, it s a bit abrupt, and a certain character remaining alive might have been better instead So definitely give this a chance if you don t mind different novels that take risks with standard genres I was pleasantly surprised with how good the ideas were, and look forwards to the next book.