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Monday, 21 October 2013
The Oldest Enemy by Michael J Webb
I read this on September 27th, 2013
David Lighthouse was once a hard-hitting investigative reporter for the Denver Post—back before he was accused of the brutal murder of his fiancée and his life unraveled. Now, six years later, he is the assistant pastor of a small church in Florida. Armed with faith, sobriety, and a resurrected sense of purpose, he’s putting together a new life.
But when one of his young parishioners is murdered, David’s old instincts reemerge. Once again the prime suspect, he fights to clear his name even as disturbing clues at the crime scene reveal a haunting connection not only to his fiancée’s unsolved murder but to his estranged father’s secret past.
David suddenly finds himself the target of sinister, supernatural forces as he tracks down a conspiracy to release an ancient evil upon an unsuspecting world. Along with his father, the murdered girl’s sister, and a fierce Auschwitz survivor, David faces hell itself to prove his innocence and stop a reclusive German billionaire from unleashing a worldwide holocaust.
In The Oldest Enemy, author Michael Webb, takes the main character, David Lighthouse, on a journey that will connect the murder of his fiancé six years earlier to the current murder of one of his parishioners, together with the secret past of his estranged father that all leads to reveal the deceptive motivation of a German billionaire who seeks to unleash a worldwide holocaust.
All efforts by David, his father, Michael, Lauren , the sister of his murdered parishioner, Beth Barkley, and stranger Ben Landers are thwarted by supernatural forces in cahoots with this German billionaire.
Along the way, the reader learns about the weapons of spiritual warfare straight out of the Bible, the nature of demons and their modus operandi and what Christians need to do to be empowered with these biblical supernatural weapons to fight and be victorious in spiritual warfare. All this builds to one very climatic ending that reads just as if it was a movie and it would make a very good movie! It has many successful elements; suspense, mystery, romance, spiritual warfare, demonic possession , political overtones, action and adventure.
Webb writes well and his plot structure is well constructed as well as his characters, very relational and believable. The reader finds himself liking and supporting David in his efforts to deal with his past in light of the current murder, his developing relationship with the murdered victims, sister, Lauren, his attempt to reconcile with his father, Michael, and learn how to be a Pastor under the mentorship of Senior Pastor Erasmus. The reader becomes very sympathetic to the failed, secret past of his father, Michael, and how this spills over into this reconciliation with his son. The reader also finds themselves cheering for both David and Lauren in their developing relationship and understanding Lauren's bitterness and hurt from the church and God over her past and the murder of her sister, Beth. The mysterious character of Ben Landers and where he fits into all the twists and turns in the plot, successfully adds an atmosphere of suspense and mystery and whether he is to be trusted or not. The reader will also be repulsed by the hatred, condescending nature and arrogant attitude and behaviour of the German billionaire, Eric Reinhardt, and as the plots develops, the reader's emotions progresses to fear and trepidation as the demon demands more of him, physically, mentally and spiritually as the plot moves to its climatic finale. These latter scenes are described graphically and the demon portrayed in typical horror based on the authors knowledge and research of demonology.
Web's research for this book is very evident and definitely adds to the structure and credibility of the political and supernatural aspects of the plot. The reader can see where the experience of the author as a bible student pays off in the development of the spiritual warfare elements of the plot, the portrayal of the demon, and the political environment that is based on bible prophecy and the current political situation in the Middle East. This is all done very well and makes for a plot, character development, biblical eschatology and apologetics very nicely fitted together. This is one novel that is entertaining as well as educational in biblical themes and doctrine.
Many Christian reviewers criticise Christian authors for the inclusion of the Gospel message of salvation and reconciliation but it works very well in this novel. I found that this led credibility to the character it was addressed to and appropriate for the situation that she was in. Some reviewers find this Gospel message detracts from the plot but in this case it does not, it fits nicely into the spiritual armour needed to fight against the supernatural forces described in the Bible and portrayed in this novel.
This is my first novel by this author and it will not be my last. I am looking forward immensely to his other work.