Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Frank Peretti. 24 September – 22 October 2009.
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Piretti’s much-hyped This Present Darkness has earned its reputation as one of the key fiction classics of the 20th century. Strong and unforgettable characters are found in a carefully constructed plot, underpinning sound theology in this bestseller.
Written to explore the impact of spiritual warfare, This Present Darkness is supported by a strong and thrilling plot which could be enjoyed even without the Christian elements. As such, the background battles between angel and demon further enhances an already well-paced and gripping plot.
The characters are mostly rounded and believable. The main protagonist Marshall Hogan is funny and brash, yet vulnerable and sensitive. The angels are also well written, with their confusion and frustration well represented alongside their strength and determination. The demonic leaders Rafar and Lucius are well thought out, displaying the interrelationships fed on pride, jealousy and suspicion one would expect. The smaller demons are more disappointing – 2D and almost comical. Some, such as Complacency, almost warrant sympathy and undermine their menace.
The theology is broadly in line with mainstream Christianity, and Piretti avoids making any major theological statements. The casting out of demons is rather simplistic – the subjects being ready and willing, the process taking minutes and no aftercare is apparently needed. However, the power of prayer and truism that we know so little of the spiritual realm is well portrayed.
My biggest criticism of the book is the existence of constant schoolboy typing errors. As the cover of my copy proudly boasts more than a million copies have been sold, one would expect basic mistakes to have been corrected. Constantly, the writer does not take a new line when a different character speaks, which makes the dialogue difficult to follow. Elsewhere, quotation marks close which were never opened, and you find yourself backtracking, and the wrong word is used in another place. These annoying and distracting mistakes are the reason this book will go no higher than four stars.
This Present Darkness is an entriguing mystery with an inspiring spiritual undertone. Tal’s playing of the battle trumpet begins an epic finale which slips seamlessly between the natural and spiritual realm. Readers of this book will be encouraged to continue praying and contributing in the battle that is always ongoing, never sleeping, against this present darkness.