Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Review: The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker

Thomas Hunter is man caught between two worlds. After hitting his head, he wakes up in an alternate future Earth separated into areas of good and evil. When Hunter sleeps in the alternate world, he wakes in our Earth, and vice versa. This is the premise of Ted Dekker’s masterful Circle Trilogy.

The Circle Trilogy is composed of the books, Black, Red, and White. The books are a science-fiction/fantasy epic as well as a spiritual allegory. In a true Alpha and Omega story, Dekker provides a synopsis of the Bible from the Garden of Eden through the resurrection of Jesus to the birth of the Christian church.

The first book in the series, Black, begins as Hunter discovers his predicament and begins to learn about the future world. An encounter with the demonic Teeleh reveals to Hunter that a deadly virus is about to be unleashed in the 21st century Earth. When he sleeps in the future and wakes in the present, Hunter begins a quest to convince authorities of the danger and stop the virus, which according to the Histories, leads to the Great Deception, a Tribulation-like era.

The future world seems to be representative of both the future Millennial Reign of Christ as well humanity’s past in the Garden of Eden. We are specifically told that it is a future Earth and this is confirmed in Red and White as we learn more about the Books of the Histories, volumes that contain details of the Earth’s history. Some books of the Bible, including the Gospel of John, are included in the Books of the Histories.

Hunter’s future Earth is also symbolic of the Garden of Eden. Even though there is a large society, rather than a single couple, the good side of the future Earth is a beautiful and innocent place characterized by a lush rainbow forest where God, Elyon, and man exist together. The inhabitants of the rainbow forest are protected from the demonic bats, inhabitants of the dark forest, by a river that separates the two forests. The river is bridged, but the bats cannot cross. Unfortunately, the paradise that is the rainbow forest is vulnerable to rebellion and the bats are only too willing to deceive the humans with their forbidden water, which Teeleh claims will give knowledge.

Red is the fall of man. The bats are unleashed from the dark forest and wreak havoc on the rainbow forest. A disease is unleashed in both worlds. The deadly virus is unleashed by terrorists in our world, while the destruction of the rainbow forests leads to a degenerative skin disease in the future. The skin disease can be treated by obeying a set of rules handed down by Elyon, including bathing in protected lakes. The Forest People, as they are now called, have added to these rules over the years to create a complex code called the Great Romance, which is akin to the Talmud. The priest who oversees the new religion is Ciphus.

The Forest People are in a state of constant war with the Horde, the remnants of the rainbow forest dwellers who are victims of the skin disease. Hunter is now leader of the Forest Guard, a legend among friend and foe alike. Meanwhile, in the present day, Hunter leads a desperate effort to find an anti-virus to save the world from a horrible death.

The title of the book refers to the blood shed by a former member of the Forest Guard who tries to make peace between the Horde and the Forest People. Instead, he is betrayed and executed in an obvious allusion to Jesus Christ. His sacrifice leads to a method of permanently curing the skin disease by being “baptized” in a pool of red water.

The series concludes with White. The final installment deals with last-ditch attempts to forestall the virus. In the future, Hunter tries to gain access to the Books of the Histories while engaging in covert operations in the present day. White also deals with the persecution by the Horde of the new sect called the Circle. The volume is an allegory of the love of Elyon for His people, whom He considers His bride.

The Circle Trilogy is entertaining and spiritually enlightening on many levels. It can be read as a dramatic supernatural thriller in the vein of Stephen King or it can be viewed as parable of the Gospel. The fast-paced plot, as unlikely as it is, draws the reader in and makes the books difficult to put down. By transporting the story of Christ from the distant past to the distant future, Dekker deepens our understanding of why Jesus offered Himself for us, and what it must have been like for the people of Christ’s time who watched the world shattering events at close range.

In addition to traditional novels, the Circle Trilogy is also available as a series of graphic novels. The comic-style picture novels bring the story of Thomas Hunter to younger readers.

1 comment:

Frankie 1337 said...

We live in a world where so much of the Christian church is based around forcing rigid interpretations of the Word onto congregations with the attitude of "believe exactly this or get out". Members are encouraged more to rally against different interpretations than to fellowship with others based on the basic beliefs that all Christians share - that He is the Lord, He has saved us, and that we will find everlasting life.

In this world I've described, it is so refreshing to see a work that tells His story in the most basic way possible. There are no politics, no warcries, no rigid interpretations; instead, we're treated to the most fundamental truths that I think most all followers and believers can agree on.

The Circle trilogy has meant a lot to me in my walk, and I plan on keeping them around for when my baby girl grows up. A little simplicity of message is a hard thing to come by these days.

Great review =D Thanks.