Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Brink of Chaos by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

Book three of The End series continues the political thriller/international adventure stories of Joshua Jordan and his family.

Joshua has been in Israel for a self-imposed exile. He's a wanted man in The United States. His wife, Abigail,  leads the secret militia-type group in his absence as well as seeking to prove his innocence in the courts.

The world is moving towards one-world government and one-world religion as many nations sign on to a U.N. plan for peace. Meanwhile, there is a presidential election coming up in The US. Current President Tulrude is running for reelection while boasting of her attempts to unify her country with the rest of the world. Her opponent is everything the Religious Right want in a man. He's promoted as the perfect retort of President Tulrude's liberal agenda.

Fans of LaHaye and End Times fiction will eat this up. There are plenty of thrilling action sequences, political maneuvering, twists and turns to keep any religious reader up through the night.

Those who aren't fans of LaHaye will dismiss this as just another attempt to make money off a popular idea.

Craig Parshall does an admirable job with this book. It reads like the Left Behind books in that the characters tend to be one-dimensional but this helps move the plot along at a fairly quick pace. The twist probably won't surprise many people as I'm not sure it was intended to be a huge surprise twist.

Like the Left Behind books, these men take hefty swings against the UN, Liberal Americans and promote a heavy dose of military, patriotic Americanism as side-by-side with Christianity.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Zondervan Publishing.

Below is a brief interview I had with author Craig Parshall

1) With the Left Behind and Babylon Rising series, what sets this series apart? What was the rationale for another End Times series? 
In “The End” series that Tim and I are writing, there is a concerted effort to fold breaking current events and trends in technology, geopolitics, religion and culture into the novel. In fact, Biblically significant events are happening so fast that we occasionally have to rewrite some of our fiction scenarios in light of the headlines in the news as it catches up with our “futuristic” fiction! Also, since the time of those two prior End Times series, a great deal has been happening which has prophetic implications – the tumult in all of the Middle East Arab states; Iran’s nuclear ambitions which create an existential threat against Israel; the explosion of a global communications connectedness through “new media” goliaths like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple’s iPhone and at the same time U.N.’s attempt to take over the governance of the entire Internet; a global economic distress and the shocking downgrade (the first in history) of America’s credit standing; American political policy that has made historic concessions to the international community and a Supreme Court that has begun to absorb international law into its decisions, just to name a few.

2) What is the takeaway you hope readers receive from Brink of Chaos? 
For those who have not yet seriously considered the New Testament claims about Jesus Christ and His imminent coming, our hope is that these books will nudge them closer to that kind of examination. For those who are already following Christ, we hope that our fiction series will help them to understand how the events in the world can be viewed through the prophetic lens of God’s Word. And for everyone, we hope they will have an exciting read, and an appreciation that in uncertain times there really are only two alternatives for living – either by faith or in fear.

3) How do you think the end of the world will occur? 
In perfect symmetry with God’s timetable, in accord with the outline of prophetic events He has given us in Scripture, and yet probably still in ways that will surprise us. All of us, even those that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are guided by the Bible, still view things, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, “through a glass darkly …” 

4) How is the writing process divided up between the two of you? 
In writing this series I have the privilege of working with Tim LaHaye, one of the great authorities on Biblical prophecy. He is also a very gracious partner in this writing process, and while I have the task of doing the fiction writing and he provides me with the prophetic overview of events that will be folded in each book, he gives me a very free hand in the creative process. That said, he also has come up with some terrific fiction ideas that have found their way into our stories.

5) I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the political characters of the novel and real life. You have the ultra-liberal President saying "I inherited this mess" and a political Opponent/Presidential candidate described as "Tulrude lite" as in the two are basically the same. Was it intentional to have these two mirror President Obama and Governor Romney?  
The futuristic picture of America in Brink of Chaos portrays a nation on the brink of economic collapse, experiencing a waning influence and power in the world, and becoming a servant to international masters. But perhaps even worse, a new, treacherous kind of corruption has infiltrated the White House and the Congress in this novel. Of course, one of the subplots is a national election with the incumbent President, Jessica Tulrude, as a candidate who is quick to absorb the United States into the “global community,” among other obvious problems. At the political convention of the opposing party, the presumptive candidate is Senator Hank Hewbright, a strong patriot who wants to strengthen rather than weaken America’s posture in the world without compromise and most certainly wants to bolster our national defense. But at his party’s convention Hewbright is opposed by a “Tulrude lite” member of his own party. Obviously if something tragic or unexpected happens to Hewbright at the convention, the American public will end up having little to choose from on election day. Does any of this reflect any current prominent figures? This is a work of fiction, and we have stayed away from copying the current political landscape or mimicking actual political figures. But the political and spiritual themes we have raised in the novel will probably strike readers as being clearly relevant, and perhaps surprisingly so – not only for today, but also for the immediate future.     

6) Do you see any parallels between what is happening in our world now and what takes place in this series? 
This goes back to what I had indicated about the novel reflecting current events and trends. When the series began a few years ago I was interested in exploring a scenario where the entire news media has been pushed off of broadcast frequencies, cable and satellite, and onto the Internet, then followed by a government takeover of the Internet, making the White House capable, in one fell swoop, of exerting a new form of media manipulation. Compare this with the real-life fact that within the last few days, we saw the current White House applying unprecedented pressure to try to get Google to block an anti-Islamic video on YouTube, the video platform owned by Google.  Also, in Brink of Chaos, we see wide-spread video surveillance of American citizens by the government, and how that impacts one family of American patriots. In real life, just recently (and after the manuscript of Brink of Chaos was finished) the U.S. Senate started holding hearing on the privacy problems created by the wide-spread use of “facial recognition” technology in America, including its surveillance use by the government as well as by private companies. 

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