The Last Disciple
The time is 65-66 AD during Nero’s persecution of the Christians and the beginning of the Jewish revolt that would eventually lead to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, “not one stone standing on another.” These two authors have dozens of publishing credits between them, including Hanegraaff’s The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? This book is a thriller, seemingly an attempt to cross the two wildly popular works, The Da Vinci Code (the color of the cover is the same) and the Left Behind series, under the influence of inspiration. I must express relief to see Revelations viewed as containing cryptic references to the political situation in John the Revelator’s day rather than as a blueprint for modern political action. (In my Sunday School days the Beast was sometimes Premier Khrushchev.) And the life of that visionary on Patmos has always intrigued me.
On the other hand, the very thriller-ness is a real problem. There is more to a thriller than the splicing of fast-paced scenes. Here they serve to annoy rather than thrill, badly integrated as if the two authors couldn’t get their heads together. Did Dan Brown have cardboard characters? These are cut of tissue paper (including the eponymous Sophia—for a Jewess!?) There are too many of them, too poorly drawn, to have any idea what anybody’s goals might be, or to care. What sense of place we have is all stock The Robe, and a sense of time is missing along with what seem to me vital scenes to get to know important emotional details. We have a scroll with a secret code here? We lose sight of it for 200 pages. We have a last disciple? Save for the briefest mention in the prologue, we don’t really get a fix on John until page 284. It doesn’t help that The Last Disciple is envisioned as the first in a series. Undoubtedly many characters’ tales will reach conclusions further on. They don’t here, and, alas, I won’t be there to read them.