Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thunder of Heaven by Ted Dekker

Thunder of Heaven

Thunder of Heaven
by Ted Dekker

Trade Paperback: 295 pages
Publisher: WestBow Press
First Released: 2002

Source: Bought from library sale

Back Cover Description:
What happens when the evil of terrorism collides with the love of God?

Deep in the Amazon jungle a young American woman and the son of plantation owners fall madly in love. For Tanya and Shannon, life is a paradise most only dream about.

But today paradise ends.

The jungle has hatched more than idyllic love. It has also spawned insidious evil. An evil shrouded in a plot so diabolically brilliant that all of America will be brought to her knees at the hands of a few terrorists. The plan is executed to perfection; America's worst fears have dawned. Nothing stands in the way of terrible destruction.

Except the love of one woman.

Step into the pages of a story taken from tomorrow's headlines. A story about the true power found in the face of all our fears. The power of love.

This book is a religious suspense novel. I don't think non-Christians would enjoy this book, partly because it contains a lot of theology and partly because God plays a major underlying role in the story.

The novel's strong suit is it's ability to keep up the suspense throughout the story. It's generally fast-paced and definitely kept me turning the pages. Without this pace, the novel's weaknesses would have been a lot more obvious. Instead, they stayed slightly nagging at the back of my mind until I finished the novel.

While the characters were easy to sympathize with, they each only seemed to have one emotional mode. They did round out into believable humans at the very end, but I would have enjoyed a greater emotional range earlier on.

The world was well-described, but it felt to me like a stage where secondary characters had no life once they left the scene. As an example, the jungle natives were mentioned several times, yet we never saw a single one in all the time we spent roaming around in their territory.

Also, some major story details were left unexplained. For example, Shannon has exceptional hearing and repeatedly hears the attack helicopter coming in the distance. But, at the critical life-or-death moment, he doesn't hear the helicopter until it's at close range and actively shooting at him.

I also questioned at times if the theology was Christian theology. There's a minor character who says that God is playing a chess game with Satan and that the human pieces might not obliging move into their critical position in his plan (which would lose the game) so God's having to manipulate some of the pieces to get them into position. While the other characters don't completely agree with her ideas, I was baffled by such a pagan, non-Biblical theology coming from someone who's implied to be a godly Christian woman.

In the novel, there was no cussing or sex. There were several supernatural elements (visions from God and demon possession). Overall, I'd rate this "good, clean fun."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Chapter One
Those who know call that part of the jungle the hellhole of creation for good reason. And they call the Indians who live there the fiercest humans on earth for even better reason. It's why no one wants to go there. It's why no one does go there. It's why those who do rarely come out alive.

Which is also why the lone American girl who ran through the jungle really had no business being there. At least, according to those who know.

Tanya Vandervan jogged to a halt atop a cleared knoll and tried to still her heavy breathing. She'd run most of the way from her parents' mission station, hidden by the trees a mile behind, and in this heat, a mile's run tended to stretch the lungs.

She stood still, her chest rising and falling, hands on hips, her deep blue eyes sparkling like sapphires through long blonde hair. The rugged hiking boots she wore rose to clearly defined calves. Today, she had donned denim shorts and a red tank top that brightened her tanned skin.

Still drawing hard but through her nose now, she lifted her eyes to the screeching calls of red-and-blue parrots flapping from the trees to her left. Long trunks rose from the forest floor to the canopy, like dark Greek columns supporting tangled wads of foliage. Vines dripped from the canopy--the jungle's version of silly string. Tanya watched a howler monkey swing suspended by a single arm, whether provoking or protesting the parrots' sudden departure, she could not tell.

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