This novel is another great one from Dekker. It has layers of action and spiritual insight that make it interesting to read on several levels.
Eden is one of the orphans from the Project Showdown. She is now a thirteen year old in the foster care system. As the novel opens, she is kidnapped by the man married to her birth mother. The FBI is left far behind as Eden is taken to a cult setting in the swamps of Louisiana. Her mother is under the power of the group's leader, a harsh man who mixes hints of Christianity with suffocating authority. Her mother is obsessed with being cleansed and Eden is an essential part of the process.
I have at times had trouble understanding the Christian nature of some of Dekker's novels but in this one it is very clear. The spiritual lessons deal with being imprisoned and harmed by our own thoughts. Outlaw helps Eden understand what it truly means to be an overcomer, to truly forgive and live in the freedom that brings. Hurt can result in anger and a desire for revenge that really imprisons a person. But through Jesus, those spiritual bonds can be released, even if the outer situation stays the same.
I was put off at first by the strange cult in which Eden's family is involved but then realized it was not all that different from ones I'd read about over the last few decades. It was another case of spiritual authority gone bad.
We met Eden (who starts out in this novel as Alice) in Eyes Wide Open. This novel reads well on its own so you don't have to read that one first. Outlaw makes a couple of appearances in this story but you don't have to read earlier books about him to get a good understanding of his role here.
A novel with lots of action and spiritual insight, this is a good one to read. The ending is a bit abrupt but is a minor glitch in an otherwise fine novel.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Ted Dekker in his new book, "Water Walker" Book Two in The Outlaw Chronicles published by Worthy Publishing takes us into the life of Alice Ringwald.
From the back cover: "My name is Alice Ringwald, but the man who kidnapped me says that's a lie. He calls me Eden and says he's taking me to be with my mother. But my mother, like everything else in my past, is dead. Or so I thought."
Thirteen-year old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she's creating one day at a time with the loving couple that recently adopted her and gave her new hope.
That hope, however, is shattered one night when a strange man comes to her door. Her real mother is alive, he says, and begs her to return home. When Alice won't leave with him, the man forces his way into the house and abducts her.
In a frantic manhunt the FBI pursues, but the man slips through their fingers. He and Alice vanish without a trace.
So begins Water Walker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering power of forgiveness, and reminds us that it's possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.
I am sorry to say that I didn't like this book as much as the first one. When there is a kidnapping and an FBI manhunt I expect great thrills and excitement. Instead I got a zealot compound where they are brainwashed. Not really my cup of tea. Ted Dekker does a wonderful job on the themes though. Truth and forgiveness are delved in with clarity and insight. If you want to know who you really are you need to get out of the boat and walk on water. And the only way to do that is walking with God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Worthy Publishing for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The Outlaw is back and so is Alice Ringwald. In the second book of the series Ted Dekker has once again used the element of fiction to drive home the power of truth.
The story begins with the abduction of thirteen-year-old Alice by her non-custodial step father. She is brought to a compound in the swamps of Louisiana where her mother is waiting for her. Five years quickly elapse and we see Alice who is now Eden totally enmeshed in the spiritual rituals that her mother insists on.
An unexpected turn of events changes everything for Eden. Through Stephen, the Outlaw, she begins to see things differently but can she really make the changes needed to find freedom both physically and spiritually?
Ted Dekker is the modern day master of parables and metaphors. In this particular story a boat on the storm raged waters of a lake bring particular clarity to the idea of forgiveness and freedom. I came away from this book with a deeper sense of understanding the topic of forgiveness. It is such a deep and profound idea that it is no wonder so many of us fall short. We are completely putting our trust in the wrong thing.
I can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to have to be reading portions of this book aloud to anyone that come within close enough proximity of me. Since you are reading this over the internet, I'll just leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
"You just stepped beyond one of your fears only to learn that it was an illusion."
"God isn't a boat, or the water, or any boy for that matter. He's in your heart. Let go of your fears of this world and find him there."
"I wish I could save you from all of your troubles, my child. But you must walk the path before you and walk your own waters to the place where only love resides."
"There are very few people on this earth who know what it means to truly forgive and even fewer who walk the path of forgiveness. But the power of that forgiveness is staggering."
"Only in not defending are you ever truly safe. Every time you resist or defend against any perceived threat from the water, you give it power to fulfill that very perceived threat and it will crush you."
"See no harm in that which comes to destroy you because only your costume can be hurt. The real you is always safe in your Father's arms. Always!"
"Water Walker" by Ted Dekker is the second book in the Outlaw Series. "Eyes Wide Open" being the first which I have already read and reviewed. The two books do not need to be read in order and are written in completely different styles. Where in Eyes, I was never really sure what was going on and that added to the excitement; in Walker, I am aware and that also adds to the excitement. The two books share characters but are not the main characters in the other book.
In Walker, Alice is kidnapped by a man claiming to be her father. He takes her to the compound where he lives with his wife, son, and prophet. The "Christian" cult is portrayed as a bunch of kooks and an opportunist/scam artist. However, the reader should keep in mind this is a Christian novel and at the same time a Dekker, so things are not always as they seem. I loved this book. I liked it better than the first. Dekker is a hit or miss with me and this is definitely a hit. I received this book for free from Worthy Publishing.