In the first book, we were introduced to the Tribe. This is a group of immortals who are trying to gain God's favor (and into heaven) by killing all the evil people. Our hero, Jagger Baird, and his family have had quite the stressful time with them last time around.
In The Judgment Stone, Baird not only has to deal with the Tribe but now he has a new group calling themselves the Clan. It is this second group who has figured out a way to locate godly people based on their prayers.
It turns out, there's this stone that, when touched, opens a person's eyes to the supernatural realm. Angels, demons, etc...Whenever someone prays, they shoot out a blue light into the sky. This alerts the bad guys who are seeking to destroy anyone who trusts in God.
Baird and his immortal friend are in hot pursuit of the Clan. Sadly, they seem to always be a step behind. They show up just after the massacre has occurred. Many innocents perish in this adventure, many children. (this may strike a little too close to home for some considering the horrific events recently)
Baird's wife and son, meanwhile, are left to contend with surviving Tribe members.
Because I read Frank Peretti books long before I read Liparulo's work, I'm stuck comparing the two. Whenever the characters touch the stone and see the spiritual beings, I'm always going to think of Peretti's Darkness books. And that is a shame because Liparulo is such a fantastic writer.
I'm captivated by the way he weaves in deep questions about the goodness of God and why there is suffering in this world if there is a powerful God. I don't think we've come to any kind of answer yet but the journey is satisfying.
Outside of the comparisons, the only beef I have is with the situation with Baird's son. This boy has been through so much grief: first he gets shot and now he's endlessly pursued by crazies. If this was real life that boy would be seriously disturbed at this point. (I wonder what will happen with the Baird family in book 3)
Liparulo knows how to write action. He knows how to fill the pages with adventure all while slipping in great character development. Who else can do that on this level? This book is worth the wait!
This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Thomas Nelson Publishing.