In the wake of a miracle of global proportions, National Peace Organization operative Paul Stepola has been exposed as a double agent—serving the Zealot Underground of people of faith in an atheistic world while sworn to persecute them. Now he and his family are on the run, targets of the very agency he has served for so many years.--Shadowed by Jerry Jenkins, Copyright ©2006 by Jerry B. Jenkins, published by Tyndale House Publishers
Follow him and his wife Jae and young children, Brie and Connor, as they try to elude capture and sentencing for treason.
In this rapid-fire conclusion to the best-selling series, the laws banning the practice of religion around the globe are on the brink of collapse. The tide is turning . . . but personal, family hostilities threaten to end in disaster before the world comes to its senses.
My Review ***WARNING*** Spoilers follow
Thanks to what would soon be referred to as “the Incident,” that being the death of every first-born male child of non-believers, Paul, Jae and their children retreat to the Columbia underground, where Paul works with the elders to keep everyone safe and secure until they can figure out what to do next.
And again thanks to “the Incident,” atheists and agnostics across the world seem to have no choice but to believe that God is real. Worshiping is optional, but believing isn’t, except for those whose hearts are completely hardened. But the number of worshiping believers is rising, to include Felicia, Paul’s assistant at the NPO, and Bea Ballum, Ranald Disenti’s right-hand. Unfortunately, Felicia and Bea are not very effective as double agents and they are soon eliminated.
It was sooo much fun listening as Jae’s father was dressed down by his old friend in the Army, whom he goes to for help in destroying the underground. He’d built himself up into this invincible warrior only to find out he was nothing but a paper tiger. (It was beautiful…I loved it!)
But Ranald does not go quietly. His descent into a kind of madness is obvious as he sets up a face-to-face meeting with Paul in—of all places—the former National Cathedral in downtown Washington D.C. At the same time, he hires a private army to launch an attack on the Columbia Underground’s headquarters. He ordered the attack, knowing full well his own daughter and grandchildren might be among the casualties. (Yeah, that’s how far gone he is.) But the attack lasted only as long as his funds and the Underground suffers no casualties. Paul meets with Ranald and, though Paul is injured, Ranald is arrested after confessing the crimes he himself had committed. All on video, of course, for the world to see.
In the end, as you might suspect, the laws banning religion are repealed and those who believe in God are allowed to worship again without fear of persecution. But the story doesn’t end with a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. Not quite.
“Despite tears of joy, Paul had to wonder how long the reprieve would last. How long before the world once again fell under the shadow of persecution.”
Almost makes you wonder if another series might be in the offing…
I give this story FOUR STARS.
I did have one problem with the story, and it’s the growing writer in me that had the problem. I’ve always been taught to keep the story focused on the plot. You can weave a secondary and maybe even a tertiary plot line in, but keep your focus on the main plot. Side trips that do nothing to enhance the plot should be eliminated. Jenkins takes a number of side trips in this story, which made me wonder if perhaps he was padding the story to make it reach the required length for publication. I think some of the side trips could have been eliminated without changing the plot one iota (do we really need to know how “Greenie” got his nickname?) while some topics were repeated several times (Felicia berates Paul at least three times for not warning her about “the incident” before it happened).
Someone who hasn’t accepted Christ, or is only a casual worshiper, may come to appreciate the varying “How I Came To Christ” stories, perhaps even finding themselves in the same position as Bea or Felicia or Greenie or Jack. Reading their stories may make them want to study God’s Word more and if that happens, that’s a wonderful thing and makes those side trips worthwhile. As a writer, I think some of them should have been eliminated and the focus kept more on the plot. But then, I’m still an amateur and Jerry Jenkins has sold millions of books. Who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong?