Monday, January 19, 2009

Review--Enoch's Ghost

Enoch’s Ghost, the second book in the Oracles of Fire series, picks up the exciting Dragons in our Midst story where Tears of a Dragon and Eye of the Oracle ended.

It is a complex book, having at least three distinct plots. Ashley, Walter and Karen meet up with Sapphira in the combined Earth/Hades dimension, and they work together to stop the evil Mardon before he can merge Heaven with Earth with his version of the Tower of Babel. Elam navigates the Bridgelands, following Merlin’s request for him to find Heaven’s Altar; in the journey he is tested by the horse Dikaios. In a land called Second Eden, Timothy awakens and learns of a prophecy that will bring deliverance, but it will come at a high price.

Condensing the entire book into one paragraph does not do it justice, but I don’t think any of you actually want a full-length synopsis of the story.

Enoch’s Ghost is without a doubt my favorite of all the DIOM and OOF books written to date. Mr. Davis sends the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride reaching from the shores of the Lake of Fire to the altar of Heaven. And as expected from so talented a writer, he fills the pages with refreshing truths.

Walter’s visit to the Lake of Fire (chapter 11) is perhaps the most disturbing scene I have read in a long time. Mr. Davis makes it clear that the condemned souls deserve to be there, but he does not do so in such a way that there is any risk of a believer’s ego being inflated. When Walter realizes what he is seeing, he very nearly has a breakdown. As the angel present states, “…[A]ll men of compassion become [ill] when they consider the destiny of the unrighteous.” In this chapter, Mr. Davis stresses the importance of evangelism, but he rightly states that the fear of hell should not be used as a means of persuasion. Such tactics may drive the sinner further from the love of God.

But on the other side, as far from the Lake of Fire as you can get, there is a moment of great joy. Naamah, Morgan’s accomplice in DIOM, encounters Elam in the Bridgelands. As it turns out, she never died even though she was stabbed by Jared in Tears of a Dragon. When we see her, she has been humiliated by a perverted wanderer of the Bridgelands. Elam covers her with his cloak and allows her to accompany him and Dikaios, but on the way Naamah very nearly takes Elam’s life. Dikaios tries to persuade Elam to kill Naamah, but when Naamah pleads for forgiveness he shows mercy. Naamah hesitates to continue the journey, but Elam stands and waits for her:

Not wanting to turn to look, Elam pictured Naamah behind him, standing pitifully in the distance, watching her hand, waiting. But waiting for what? Elam opened his own hand and stared at his palm. Blistered and bloodied from hanging on to the bridge, dirty and grass-smeared from lying in the fields, his hand was no more majestic than any other. It was human—strong, real, the ultimate symbol of reaching out from one wanderer to another. Finally, it all made sense.

Slowly turning, Elam stretched out his arm and extended his open hand toward Naamah. She leaped forward and sprinted toward him, her bare legs and feet kicking up the hem of his cloak. When she reached the hill, she dashed up the slope and dropped to her knees. She grabbed his hand and kissed his palm, crying, “You won’t regret this, Elam. I promise, you won’t regret your mercy.”

He raised her to her feet and looked into her teary eyes, speaking softly. “To be wanted and not lusted for. To be loved and not pitied. To be asked and not commanded.” After passing a hand over her bedraggled hair, he slipped it into hers, touching their palms together. “Is that right?”

As her cheeks flushed, a shy smile emerged. In contrast to her red face, her white teeth dazzled, but now her fangs were gone. “And to be believed, even after all my lies.”

This is a turning point in the story. If anyone deserves to be cast aside, Naamah does. She killed Billy and willingly worked with Morgan. But Elam does not forsake her. He sees a broken, repentant heart and is moved to show mercy. He serves as a perfect example of how the Christ-follower should behave. We should not see the sinner and let them rot in despair. No, we reach out to them, show them the love that burns within us, so they may see our Savior and be set free.

But it is when they reach Heaven’s Shield that the celebration can begin:

Elam leaned toward the barrier. “So, how do we get in? I never found the scarlet key the gatekeeper told me I needed.”

Look at your hand. The key is already in your grasp.”

Elam opened his fingers and stared at his palm. “What do you mean? I’m not carrying anything.”

"Oh, but you are. You bear the marks of righteousness.”

Elam flexed his fingers. His hand ached, still oozing blood from the cuts and scrapes he earned on the bridge. “I think I see what you mean.”

Naamah reached forward and showed him her palm. “Mine is bloodstained, but the blood is not my own.”

“Nor does the blood on Elam’s palm belong to him” Dikaios bobbed his head at the horizon. “Touch the shield, both of you. The righteous may enter immediately, and the contrite may plead for a new heart.”

You can probably imagine why I like this scene so much. Naamah, the harlot who did her sister’s bidding, was the last person the reader would expect to see become a new creation. Yet she is forgiven, and set free! She sings a new song, which I will not quote here except for the last two lines. “Forever bound unto my Lord, I cast aside the devil’s chains!” I came close to jumping up and down in delight, but I’m a rather subdued individual and that did not happen. But how wonderful is that? All believers can make her claim, that they are now bound to God and have cast aside the chains that bind them in sin.

And there is something else Mr. Davis made sure to mention. It is not through our own efforts that we are saved, but only through the blood of Jesus. Could the blood on their palms have belonged to anyone else? I would say not.

There is so much more that could be said about this wonderful book, but no time to speak it all. I encourage each of you who reads this blog to purchase this or any of the other Dragons in our Midst or Oracles of Fire books.


Anonymous said...

Excellent review! It gave me goose bumps. :-) I have read the book, and you make some astute observations about it. My favorite of the DIOM and OoF series, however, is Last of the Nephilim. I'd enjoy reading your review of that one if you write one.

Kriegel said...

Thank you!

I intend to write a review of Last of the Nephilim as well as BtRE and EE.

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

Thanks for posting the review, Kriegel. You reminded me of some of the book's best stuff. Certainly, the message that our salvation is not of our own works, but of Christ, is extremely invaluable.

And yeah, the Lake of Fire scene is definite Nightmare Fuel.

- Jason