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The Last Christian: A Novel - eBook
WaterBrook Press / 2010 / ePub
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David Gregory explores a challenging question in The Last Christian: Is it possible that Christianity as it is known in America today is leading itself to its own extinction? The novel is set about 80 years in the future, in a world where Christianity has died out. Abigail Caldwell is the daughter of missionaries to a secluded jungle tribe, but she leaves the jungle for the first time ever when her whole tribe dies of a mysterious disease. An old message from her deceased grandfather sends her back to America with a mission to reintroduce Christianity to a nation that thinks it doesnt need faith. She finds herself bewildered and frightened by a totally alien world where every car is automated, people all but live in Virtual Reality, and college students are tested on whether they can form the right questions to get information off the Grid. But perhaps the most incredible development is that scientists have just developed an artificial brain, making brain transplants possible and perhaps even eliminating physical death.
In this brave new world, Abby finds one person who at least respects her faith: a historian named Creighton Daniels, who has recently lost his father to what appears to be suicide. But a troubling message forwarded to Abby from her grandfather, sent just before he died, reveals that he had been involved in something he considered dangerous; however, he wasnt able to complete the message. Whats even stranger is that her grandfather sent a remarkably similar message to Creightons father right before his suicide. As Abby and Creighton begin searching for the truth behind all of this, they find that their questions are tied to events that powerful people wish to keep secret. It is Abbys faith that may be the key to the whole mazeif she can understand her own faith.
Gregory writes The Last Christian in both a first person perspective for Creighton and a third person perspective for everyone else. This unique structure works well to give insight into characters minds while moving the story along effectively, although it may slightly throw readers off at first. It does help to let readers into the relationship developing between Creighton and Abby, as they tentatively find common ground in their opposing beliefs and explore the possibility of friendship, and perhaps more. This relationship is fairly believable except for a few occasions in which Abby seems to act out of character, particularly when those actions dont seem to align with her beliefs.
Abbys relationship with Christ looks a great deal like the average Christian walk today: all the theology is good, spiritual disciplines are there, and she sees Gods light. However, she doesnt seem to know that light. John 1:9-10 says, The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him (emphasis added). In the same way, Abby seems to be missing out on the depths of Christs light and life, as are most Christians today.
Abby is an interesting character, a strong and intelligent woman thrown into a world completely outside her realm of knowledge. Her natural questions and discovery of life in a futuristic America serve as a way for readers to explore with her, making the development of the book very natural. As a character, she draws readers to her life and to the whole story; her strengths and weaknesses are believable and ones with which readers will identify. Creighton is also a relatable and interesting character; he may be particularly helpful for non-Christians reading the book because he asks many questions they would ask. In fact, each character in the book is engaging and well-developed for his or her role in the story.
Throughout the course of the story, Gregory discusses thought-provoking topics from faith to technology without ever seeming preachy. He invites readers into a world that appears to be drastically different from our own, then reveals that its just an extrapolation of how were living now. In this way, the questions he raises do hit perhaps too close for comfort; yet, he doesnt accuse or alienate readers. Instead, he provokes the interest of the reader with subtle questions, engaging characters, and a superb plot. Its a good book for both Christians and non-Christians because it probes at the heart of why Christians believeand actas they do. Overall, this book is an excellent story that will linger in ones thoughts for a long time. Corinne Hills, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The hit sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica meets the New Testament in the new novel by Gregory (Dinner with a Perfect Stranger ). In the year 2088, Christian missionary Abigail Caldwell leaves her New Guinea village to seek help for fellow villagers, who have all been stricken by a mysterious disease. A message from her grandfather, an American neuroscientist who is the co-inventor of a silicon brain replacement, draws her to America, where religion has died out. Abby joins forces with a historian who has a connection to Abbys family as they investigate the death of her grandfather and face the spiritual implications of transhumanityhumans with replacement silicon brains that promise eternal life but make impossible personal connection with God. The plotting is intricate and imaginative, and the religious elements go beyond formula, though the political intrigue plot thread is less convincing. Gregorys approach is fresh, and hes produced a page-turner. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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