Yes, it's our old friend the three-part review, only with some tweaks. The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation by Hon Hoh, is not the usual End Times novel, and it has some peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Since these are often complementary (a strength in one area becomes a weakness in another area), my usual format of separating positives and negatives won't work. Also, since the story is more theologically motivated than most, the theology needs more of a look.
Properly beginning in 2032, the story concerns a rather different take on the Tribulation period and stars mostly Pastor Josh McGuire and his friends and family, though we quickly pick up a highly placed Chinese couple who, along with a senator in Pastor McGuire's congregation, gives us our mandatory VIP characters. This is one of the few genre clichés Hoh follows. (As a rule, in this genre the main characters are international figures: diplomats, politicians, and invariably journalists. Hoh doesn't follow this rule at all closely, which gives the story a certain freshness.) The pastor has been divinely chosen to evangelize the last unreached people group on the planet, thus triggering the return of Christ. According to Satan (though the point is echoed by more godly beings as well), if this effort is stymied, the Tribulation can go into major overtime (i.e., a diabolical version of the Millennium).
Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20 both quote Jesus as saying that the Tribulation would be shortened, not lengthened. So there are some exegetical and theological problems here, though probably not as many as these stories usually have. I'll dedicate a post or so to the more troubling ones.
Anyway again, the Antichrist pops up from an unexpected (and vaguely amusing) quarter, and Nasty Things Begin to Happen, in particular persecution and the occasional Apocalyptic plague. And throughout the piece we keep getting scenes of angelic and infernal plotting in Perettivision, which actually isn't a bad innovation. In fact, this is a more explicitly spiritual tale than any others I'm aware of in the genre.
Will the Antichrist obliterate the Christians before the final converts can come in?
In case you haven't noticed, this is my first post this year.
I hope to resume free book reviews in the near future, and I apologize for leaving Dark World hanging. But first I have a non-free book to review--a couple, actually, but one I have as a print book and was able to finish while hanging about away from my computer. The second book review will be a bit less formal, for reasons that should become obvious.