Like most classic Westerns, this book starts with a mysterious stranger striding into town. Young Johnny is one of two people to witness Marsuvees Black morph from an ordinary gunslinger to a skeleton. The other person, an old man, dies a quick and bloody death before Marsuvees continues his walk. Unfortunately for Johnny, nobody believes him; his own mother is quickly taken in by Black’s slick act, as is the rest of the small town of Paradise. The neighbors start acting strangely, their bad tendencies somehow freed by Black’s pseudo-religious talk.
In the cliffs that overlook Paradise, a monastery holds a secret. A group of children, sheltered from all forms of evil, are beginning to grow restless. When the charismatic Billy decides that the rules no longer apply, the children are split down the middle – some follow his lead while a few struggle to abide by what they have been taught. The two stories are tightly intertwined, and the worlds of the monastery and Paradise are set to collide.
Ted Dekker’s world is one where the twists come fast and furious. As the story progresses, allegorical meanings begin to show themselves. This tale of good and evil, while it may be a bit over-the-top at times, pays off in the end. Check your squeamish tendencies at the door, though; some scenes are quite graphic. Overall, this book is a good read if you want a suspenseful story that will keep you turning those pages.
Fans of The Circle Trilogy will be happy to know that this book has ties to that series. However, each book is a stand alone novel.
Other Books in the Series: