Friday, October 21, 2005

Book Review: City of God Trilogy

I've just finished reading a series of books by Randal Ingermanson called the City of God Trilogy.

First off, I would like to say that these books have really challenged the way I look at the way I react to people who annoy or hurt me.

I was very impressed with the author's knowledge of ancient culture and science. The books, as you may have guessed... are written as Christian fiction. However... they are also Christian science fiction.

The author knows his stuff, he is a quantum physicist first, author second.

The choice of subject matter is excellent. The protagonist for the 1st novel is time travel, but Ingermanson does not pick the obvious target. The obvious choice of plot would be the well trodden cliched path of "man travels back in time and tries to stop the crucifixion of Christ." Ingermanson skips this though and winds the clock on a few years... choosing instead to have the apostle Paul facing the sniper rifle. He does it in a believable manner... all the more amazing when you consider that he sticks to the hard science of time-travel theory. Ingermanson underlines the fact that you cannot change our history by travelling back in time... anything you did there would have already contributed to the world we live in today. If you do manage to effect a change, you are in fact in a parallel universe. The fact that you know all the major plot points in advance, does not detract from your enjoyment of the books... s sign of good writing.

Ingermanson also covers two more episodes in the early church history... the murder of Yaakov the Tsaadik (James the half-brother of Jesus), and the moments leading up to the War of the Jews. All the major players from 1st century Judaea are there.

The character development is believable... most Christian authors are quick to have a major conversion experience in their plots... where a major character has a "Road to Damascus" type experience. Ingermanson takes a much more long term view of his characters emotional and spiritual development. Sometimes we can have major experiences, but we just don't respond in the right way... this happens a fair bit in the trilogy... in fact one primary character finishes up saying of the big "Jesus question", that he will "think on it". Ingermanson leaves it up to you, whether or not he goes the distance.

The book has some truly moving scenes in it... as well as some disturbing ones. I strongly recommend you have a read of these books, they have been one of the most refreshing Christian reads that I have come across in some time.

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