Review of The Seventh Cruise: WWII Novel

One of my favorite people in my Writer’s Club, Karl Stewart, recently published The Seventh Cruise.  The Amazon link, which also includes a plot summary, is here.  The author’s website is here.

Stewart bases his novels on his real-life family, starting with his great-grandfather, See-Bird Carpenter, a Choctaw Indian who made a name for himself in rodeo.  The second novel in the series is based on the Hatfield and McCoy conflict, because his great-grandmother–See-Bird’s wife–was related to the Hatfields.  In the third book, his father, still a young teenager, leaves home to join the Navy in WWII.  He serves on the USS Hancock.

Battle scenes are vividly described, framed by a love story between Stewart’s parents, here given the fictional names of Stu and Maggie.  We also see the ever-present threat of PTSD, as the sailors and airmen fight to keep the images of war from their heads.  Stewart based the events of the book on the real-life experiences of various survivors of WWII.

And the occasional chapter–including the opening–is from the point of view of  a kamikaze pilot, based on a real-life pilot who decided not to crash into the Hancock.

You can read about all three books, and learn how to buy them, at the author’s website here.

 

 

 

 

The Seduction of Eva Volk: Review

I just finished reading The Seduction of Eva Volk by C.D. Baker.  This brilliant book is from the perspective of German Christians living in the post-WWI and then Nazi eras.  It depicts how good people could get caught up in believing in Hitler and Nazi lies.

For more information, go here (the Amazon page, with plot summary), here (a Youtube promo video), and here (C.D. Baker’s website, with plot summary and reviews).

The book pulls you into their world, so you can understand how they were so deceived by Hitler.  You see ordinary people–farmers, preachers, Protestants, Catholics, teenagers, shopowners, etc.–and how their daily lives were affected from the 1920s through the end of the War.

It also depicts vivid battle scenes in the Russian Front and in Germany at the end of the war, from the point of view of the sensitive poet Andreas, a soldier bound by his oath to Hitler.  The author consulted Johann Voss, a former German soldier and author of the memoir Black Edelweiss, describing what it was like to be in the Waffen-SS.

The book also centers around a love triangle–Eva, Andreas, and Andreas’ Nazi brother Wolf–which symbolizes the seduction of Germans by Hitler, and the eventual unblinding of their eyes.

The book does not take sides of one country against another.  While deploring the barbarism and atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, the book also notes the atrocities on the side of the Allies.  You see characters wavering between what they hear from the Nazi propaganda machine, and rumors of brutality being done by their own side, not wanting to believe the rumors.  It is a warning against falling for Hitler-type characters, against the mass suffering and death which they can bring about.  Millions died on all sides.

The final chapters are engrossing and fast-paced, leaving you wondering until the very end how it’s going to turn out, who will survive as Germany collapses into rubble and starvation and death.  Yet the epilogue does not leave you with a typical American happy ending: It’s satisfying, but grim as you recognize the toll the war and Naziism took on all the characters.

 

 

“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 2–Old Testament Law Reinstated; Millennium’s Totalitarian Government Cracks Down on Thought-Crimes (Repost from 2014)

Part 1

On page 14 is a reminder of how, well, fake everybody seems, like Stepford Christians: All around Rayford and Chaim on their way to the Temple, people shout the same thing, passages taken from the Bible.  Rayford stands “with arms outstretched, reaching toward Jesus.”

There are multiple scenes just like this throughout the series, things like people praying stretched out on the floor.  It just doesn’t seem…real.  Like real people just wouldn’t behave this way.

Also, the book’s Jesus tells everyone, “Jerusalem shall be holy,and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”  So…immigrants are banned now?

Pages 15 through 16 are full of technical details describing the Temple.  They sound like they were taken from the Pentateuch, basically a bunch of boring description that makes that part of the Old Testament such a chore to trudge through.  I’m lost: With my NVLD, trying to visualize all that technical detail hurts my brain.  So skip past it….

Page 16 talks about priests, burnt offerings, sacrifices–Obviously some Old Testament prophecies are being confused with End Times prophecies.  On page 23 it’s explained by “Jesus” that the Jewish people “must continue to present memorial sacrifices to Me in remembrance of My sacrifice and because they rejected Me for so long.”  WHAT??!!

Then on pages 27-29, Tsion is thrilled “to learn that the glory of the Lord would fill the temple and that the Mosaic laws would be observed–even the sacrifices.”

Well, except for the Passover lamb, which would not be sacrificed, to remind the Jews that “Jesus had been the perfect and once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world.  And for these observances, even the Gentile nations would be required to have representatives sojourn to the temple.”

And if you neglect to send them, your whole country will suffer dire consequences, as Egypt later discovered….

WHAT??!!  A restoration of the law that the Apostles said, in Acts 15:10, was a yoke that neither they nor their ancestors could bear, so they released the Christian church from this burden?

A seemingly endless set of laws for every minute detail of life, including that you can’t mix fabrics or eat shellfish, and women have to be separated for eight days a month?  And Tsion is thrilled about this?

Where the heck does this even come from?  It flies in the face of 2000 years of Christian theology, no matter which denomination you belong to.  It certainly doesn’t match anything I heard back when I was a premillennialist studying up on this stuff.  It would make the Millennium not so much of a paradise after all.

On page 29, we meet King David, who the authors tell us is “plain.”  Say what?  Here’s evidence that the authors don’t know the Bible as well as they claim, because 2 Samuel 16:12 describes David as healthy and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

This book is padded with all sorts of biblical quotes, which is not new, but now we also get to re-read stories we’ve already read many times before: Old Testament heroes speak to the children, and the children cheer, giving us absolutely nothing to advance the plot.  I did a lot of skimming.

This does not apply to the Jews, but any of the Gentiles who do not accept Christ by age 100, die on their birthday and burn in Hell eternally.  The ones who do accept Christ, age very slowly, since they are not to die at all during the Millennium (millennium=1000 years).  So by age 100, they’re still adolescents.

But of course, anyone who has reached middle-age knows that teenagers often rebel against religion–but eventually come back to religion after reaching maturity.  This rule is put in the book to pound the prophecies into a literal fulfillment, but ends up being draconian and arbitrary.

On page 46, the first adolescent dies at age 100, shocking many–but not all.  Some people knew she was not the good Christian she appeared to be.  Now Cameron ponders speaking during her funeral about the need to be saved.

(He used to be Buck, but now he’s Cameron again.  Are nicknames unrighteous and not allowed in the Millennium?)

Rayford says on page 47, “The only benefit I see coming from [Buck–er, Cameron– speaking at the funeral] is if [the parents] allow you to warn other young people of the consequences of putting off the transaction with Jesus.”

Transaction–UGH!  Salvation is not a business deal!

On page 70, rebellion has already begun, with an underground group of young people doing everything they’re not supposed to do.  Their nightclubs “are frequently raided and revelers arrested and imprisoned.”  Anyone who commits “actual crimes” is put to death on the spot by lightning from God.

So–does that mean the ones imprisoned, have not actually committed crimes?  Are they just imprisoned because of their beliefs–a trait of oppressive regimes around the world, considered a human rights violation?

And the ones who do commit crimes–They get no chance at all to repent or rehabilitate before they go to Hell and burn forever?  It’s no wonder this group is rebelling!

Yet we’re supposed to be on the side of the believers, even though their side is trying to turn into the USSR or some Middle Eastern despot, just because they’re on the side of “God” and the “good guys”?

But hey, at least it provides a plot for this book, some evil baddies to fight!  Though the main plan of action is to fight them by indoctrinating–er, converting–the young.

The baddies are The Other Light, or TOL, trying to build Satan’s army for Armageddon–knowing they’ll die at 100, but hoping to pass on their beliefs to the next generations first.  They expect to be resurrected by Satan.

The speech of the young people is also stilted and unnatural, like they swallowed a dictionary, with none of the usual “teen speech” you normally find in every generation.

They even use big words and academic speech, which is okay for textbooks and professional work, but just does not fit in the everyday life of teenagers.  So is slang evil, too?

Then on page 255, Kenny calls his girlfriend “sweetheart.”  Why must these kids sound like they grew up in the 1940s?

On pages 79-80, Qasim, a worker at COT (day care center used to evangelize children)–and potential recruit for the group of “good guys” infiltrating the TOL–is grilled on how holy he really is, with questions like, “Have you led children to Christ?”  “How did you come to Christ?”

The verdict: He is not a real Christian, because he hasn’t led any of the children in prayers of salvation, and his “passionless recitation of the steps to reconciliation with almighty God.”

Eh, lots of us Christians don’t have a tally of souls we led in the prayer of salvation.  Lots of us were also baptized as babies, or became Christians so young that we don’t have much of a story to tell.  That doesn’t mean we’re not Christians.

To be continued.

(Comment on original post here.)