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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steeped In Books REVIEW of THE LAST PROPHET by Jeff Horton

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Rating - PG/PG13
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Website http://website-www.hortonlibrary.com/
Mr. Horton was kind enough to send me a review copy of his novel, which I read over the course of several nights.  Here, for my readers' enjoyment, is my opinion of this work.

Plotted closely on the lines of Biblical apocalyptic narrative, The Last Prophet takes the reader on an imagined “what if” – what if an otherwise ordinary American man found himself playing a lead role in end times events as one of the two “witnesses” mentioned in the Revelation?   This is unapologetically religious literature that quotes heavily from these high drama scriptures, and has enough minor characters finding salvation through Christian belief to make it suitable for a tract.  One feels at times that’s what the story’s purpose is – to use the horrors of the ends times to persuade readers to get serious about God.  Nothing wrong with that, certainly; but let’s be clear about it.

As such, it does a good job of getting its point across in an entertaining adventure story.  Abe Addon, the U.S. president who is actually a demon taken on human form as the “False Prophet” to serve his master, Satan, i.e. “the Beast”, makes a believable, though quite conventional, lackey of old Horny.  The “last prophet”, Jonathan Elijah March (surprisingly enough a Gentile), knows quite well, along with his co-witness, Moe Princeton, and various angels that appear, that he and Moe must die three and half years into the seven-year period known as the Tribulation.  These deaths are to be a publicly celebrated and world-viewed event in Jerusalem, after which, both he and Moe are to be brought back to life.  John March’s battles with the demon masquerading as the U.S. president take him through the gambit of action hero suffering: his son Samuel is kidnapped, causing his wife, Lara, to worry frantically as any mother would.  He is followed; he is hated; he is threatened with bodily harm by Abe Addon’s devotees.  He continually faces the moral decision – will he sacrifice himself to his mission even though it will cause his little family to suffer? 

As one who grew up studying the Bible, I’m usually put off by Hollywood drama that is supposed to be based on Bible stories but makes free use of poetic license to add a little more of a human-interest twist here, more of a love story there – adding tinsel town glitz to a drama that was already far above the average just the way it was.  That Hollywood arrogance always seemed to me a corruption of the greatest literature of the world, to say nothing of the affront to sacred scripture.  The Last Prophet never crosses that line for me, though Mr. Horton does add one bow to the drama preferences of the modern reader – Abe Addon takes a fancy to John Elijah’s girlfriend, Lara, attempting to corrupt her “just because she is such a pure spirit”, as fallen angels are so very prone to delight in doing.  This causes our hero a type of romantic stress that I don’t believe was in the original script. 

I am a bit amused by the fact that the modern day incarnation of the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah), for whom Jews everywhere leave an extra cup out at the Passover Seder every year because of his soon expected arrival to herald the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah), is a card-carrying American Christian Gentile in this story.  In addition, his co-witness, Moe Princeton, another American Gentile, is the modern day incarnation of Moshe (Moses).  Add to this the American False prophet, and you get quite an Americo-centric telling of this well-known Biblical drama.  I’d always figured the Anti-Christ/False Prophet would come from the EU, myself; more specifically from Germany (the one horn rising up amongst the ten horns), given that nation’s history with the Jews.  But I say amused, rather than offended, because…well…Americans do tend to think they should always get the lead role on the world stage.   And in the same way that the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Christ has replaced the dark-skinned Semitic gentleman who roamed Roman-era Israel with his very Jewish disciples, such transformations are so obviously culturally biased they are almost high camp. 

All in all, I enjoyed the book.  It was fast-paced and looked at an old story from a new premise.  I would definitely recommend it.    

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