There’s an army-type guy with a mechanized arm (which he named: RoboHand).
There’s a mysterious guy who’s got a knack for showing up in the nick of time (a bit like Gandalf, but with a chopper and bandages instead of a beard and staff).
And then there’s a whooole lot of guys who can only die if they’re beheaded (or possibly nuked or blasted into the sun, but no one tries those methods in the book so we can’t know for sure).
Oh yeah, one more thing: then there’s Armaggedon. The immortal guys? They’re the ones attempting to bring about the world’s greatest disaster (in order to gain God’s favor by the wholesale slaughter of sinners, as per their singular interpretation of the Bible–no one ever said immortality improves one’s reading comprehension). And RoboCop? He’s trying to stop them, of course. And the mysterious guy? He’s busy being mysterious, of course.
So that’s the plot. I understand that you might be slightly concerned; I was too, imagining the numberless ways this plot would be cornier than a corn patch (or that joke). But it’s actually a good read. I read it in almost one sitting. The characters are well-developed and believable, the plot is fast-paced without sacrificing character scenes, the theology is thought-provoking and accurate without being preachy, and the concept of the immortal’s immortality is intriguing, as is the realistic way Liparulo has the characters handle living for thousands of years. As far as the actual story-weaving goes, probably my only complaint is that, of the two major reveals in the story, one of them just wasn’t.
As far as other concerns, well, it is Robert Liparulo. If you’re familiar with any of his other books (Comes a Horseman, Plague), you already expect the story to be liberally doused with violence. It is, after all, about people fighting over the fate of the world (and in one case, to protect his family), and they’re not about to let a little blood get in the way. Also, because of the immortal nature of the antagonists, there’s probably more actual violence than there would be otherwise, as a single character receives multiple injuries–any one of which would have stopped or felled a normal person–and barely slows down.
As you’ve probably deduced by now, this isn’t a particularly deep read, nor is the next This Present Darkness. But it’s an engaging adventure all the same, and I, for one, am looking forward to a sequel.
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, I am disclosing that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My opinions are my own, and I am not required to write a positive review.
Long days and pleasant nights from the Tale-Weaver.