Page Count: 416
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
List Price: $14.99
Rating: 4 Stars!
Purchase Options: Direct from the Publisher, Amazon
As a big reader of non-fiction, it’s always a bit of a struggle for me to pick up a lengthy work of fiction. When I first heard about The Last Christian, I was intrigued by the synopsis of the story, but was a bit nervous about the length of the book. I decided to give it a try and definitely feel that I was well rewarded for my time and effort.
Fast forward to the year 2088. It’s the latter part of the 21st century and the world has drastically changed from what we know today in 2010. Life expectancy has been greatly lengthened. Many diseases have been eradicated. Nearly everyone has neural implants allowing them instant access to the grid (i.e. world wide web) and virtual reality. While all of these changes have been taking place in the outside world, life has remained unchanged amongst the Inisi tribe people in the jungles of Papa New Gineau. This is precisely where we find the story’s main character, Abigail Caldwell. She has spent all 34 years of her life amongst the Inisi, having been born to missionary parents. When we first encounter Abigail, something has gone horribly wrong in her village. She is the only one who has not contracted a strange illness that comes on quickly and ultimately results in death. Running out of time and options, she sets out on a desperate journey through the jungle in search of help. Although she is able to enlist the help of Dr. Kate Sampson from Meridian Hospital in Lae, she returns too late. Upon their return to the Inisi village, they discover that Abigail is the sole survivor.
Having lost everything she ever knew, Abigail returns to Lae with Dr. Sampson. Shortly after her arrival, she receives a previously undelivered message from her grandparents. The message had been sent to Abigail on her eighteenth birthday, some sixteen birthdays ago. In this message her grandparents explain that Christianity has all but disappeared in America. They go on to further explain that they feel God has allowed the church to die in America for a specific purpose and that God has revealed to them the person he will use to rebuild the Christian church in America. That person is Abigail. While she is shocked by this prophetic message from her grandparents, it does give her some much needed direction and she sets her sights on traveling to America.
Soon after her arrival in the America, Abigail quickly discovers that the United States of 2088 is vastly different than what her parents knew so many years ago. This is where the multiple story lines that have been developing in the early parts of the book begin to converge. While Abigail is struggling to figure out how she will share the gospel with the American people, there are many others who would have her silenced. As the story develops, the reader begins to unpack a complex web of murder, cover up, and deception, all culminating in a riveting conclusion.
As I read this book I couldn’t help but have somewhat of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realized that there is an almost prophetic nature to the author’s description of America in the year 2088. Given our culture’s current political and spiritual trajectory, this story may not be too far from the truth. Also, as technological advance unfold at an unprecedented rate, the lines between reality and virtual reality will continue to blur. What we only experience in part today through video games and various online realities seems to have been pushed to its logical end in this story. It is important for us to consider the social and moral fallout in the real world (i.e. reality) that results from a life that is largely lived in virtual reality. This story also begs the reader to consider questions about where life actually ends and what it truly means to have eternal life. All things considered, The Last Christian was a fast paced, thought provoking and enjoyable read. My overall rating for this book is 4 stars.
David Gregory is the best-selling author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, A Day with a Perfect Stranger, The Next Level, and the coauthor of the nonfiction The Rest of the Gospel. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning master’s degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. A native of Texas, he now lives in the Pacific Northwest.
This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Press.
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