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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Third Strand by Jane Woodlee Hedrick

The Third Strand (Book II in The Omega Watchers Series)

The Third Strand’, sequel to ‘The Omega Watchers’, is a high-suspense Christian novel based on Biblical prophetic events of the end days.

The Psalms 83 war has just occurred and Israel’s stunning victory has triggered the beginning of the end days, ushering in the worst years that will ever be upon the face of the earth.

After days of being in what appeared to be a coma, Gabriella awakens to her new reality: strange surroundings, everyone she loves has vanished, and she is entombed in a hidden bunker with a man she barely knows - Chris, the officer assigned to protect her research team. 

Quickly, a spiritual bond forms between Gabriella and Chris. Together they secretly witness the False Prophet’s preparations to introduce the Satanic One World Leader and the demonic plan to initiate the mark of the beast. Gabriella knows she is ‘chosen’ to expose the powers of darkness, but how does she begin?

During the day, Gabriella lives end time prophecies coming to fruition. At night in vivid dreams, she continues to struggle with reality returning to the days before the rapture. Time and untime will continue to haunt her until...


The Guru's Review: 

When I sat down to write this review, I did not know where to start. There were so many thoughts going through my head. Now, before any reader considers this to be a negative statement, it is not! All good! In fact, great!

Authors and readers want the sequel to be better than the previous or at least on par with. Well, for me, this sequel exceeded my expectations. It would not surprise me that every reader who has read and praised The Omega Watchers (TOW) will be doing more of the same once they finish The Third Strand (TTT). It sets the bar above its predecessor. 

Present are the characteristics of Hedrick's writing that we have become used to and appreciate from TOW:

  • Fast paced, well-constructed plot, 
  • characters that you become endeared to, 
  • biblical eschatology interweaved into the plot that actually forms one of its solid foundations, 
  • research well sourced and integrated into the plot
  • the gospel message is interwoven into the events without detracting from the plot. 
  • the prayers of Christians in full, not hinted or suggested, 
  • For believers their faith is strengthened, their knowledge of eschatology increased. 
  • For non-believers, a challenge to their belief system and for some the seeds of faith that were planted from others and events elsewhere will be watered and a decision for Christ made. For others, encouragement to continue to seek after Him. 

However, all those above characteristics are further developed in TTT. This only makes it more of a joy to read and become totally immersed. One of those aspects is that it is very noticeable and a real joy, to have more of the presence of the Holy Spirit active in the lives of Gabi and Chris. Both showed total obedience and submission to God and to the leading of the Spirit. I pray that not only would a Christian reader see from this that they need to be like this in the end times, but in all aspects of their current lives, no matter what their circumstances, the good, the bad and the ugly.

In this novel and its predecessor, I was in awe at the amount of research that is evident and the way Hedrick has intertwined this into the plot. There is so much to comprehend that I am pleased I reread TOW before this one. Not only did it reinforce the eschatology from that, but enabled me to understand more of what is contained in this new one. It also enabled me to enjoy this sequel better than if I had not reread the first. 

In actual fact, I can see from reading these first two, that they do form a very entertaining yet comprehensive study of all the biblical prophecies and eschatological themes relating to what is about to unfold in these last days before the return of Christ. I can imagine that there are more that Hedrick will be including in Books 3 and hopefully Book 4. This is definitely something to look forward to and digest. 

For those Christians who find a formal study of eschatology difficult to grasp, novels like these can bridge this gap with a successful outcome. I would have no issue rereading this series from Book 1 to Book 4 just for this purpose. From this angle, I really do appreciate the passion, drive and obedience to God of the author's calling in the area of eschatology. To me, she is a Watcher in this field. I know other readers and those in TOW Facebook group may feel the same way.

The events that follow on from the Rapture at the end of TOW flow like a movie and a very good one at that. I became quite frustrated that I had to stop and either return to work from lunch or get off the train! Such a joy this novel (and TOW) if it could be read in one uninterrupted sitting! 

I found it very intriguing how Hedrick integrated current news items that she mentioned in TOW Facebook page into TTT. These include, as stated in the novel, 
........the Abrahamic Covenant, Gog and Magog War, the rise of the Antichrist and his mark, the return of the lost tribes, rebuilding the temple-he (Gabi's father) had given detail by detail the events of the final days. It was so precise she believed she could have made a movie script from his notes. 
and later in the novel, 
The Black Pope (prophesied by St. Malachy) and CERN 
Some authors struggle to connect events such as these together to show how the prophetic works in reality, but Kedrick has done so seamlessly and without a hitch. This makes it all the more convincing and makes you wonder if her depiction is close to how it will happen in the future and not just her opinion and/or poetic license. Reinforces my view that she is an effective Watcher of eschatology and the times we currently live in.

There was one more news item that Hedrick included that made headlines only last week. This was that the current Pope states Mary (Mother of Jesus) is a co-redeemer with Jesus! In TTT, Hedrick has Mary stated (I think by the Pope) as the savior of mankind and the one to unite all religions into one and all peoples into the one belief, paving the way for the Antichrist to continue this deception and control all humankind that receives his mark. 

When I discovered the title of this novel, it intrigued me about what this meant. I could think of no connection to TOW. When Hedrick explains, it really does make sense. I won't go into detail here as this would be a spoiler. It does show how the human race will be controlled and dominated physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally by Satan himself. If a discerning Christian joins the right dots from Hedrick's explanation, they will see it reinforces satan's mimicry of everything God does to mock Him and as part of his rebellion and hatred towards Him and mankind. Once the Christian reader discovers how this Third Strand works, resulting in its recipient being unredeemable by God, I would pray that this becomes a sobering moment that encourages them to pray, witness and present the Gospel to their unsaved family and friends and others. Once they receive this mark, it is a point of no return. 

One thing that I did not foresee was the ending. What a twist! Totally blindsided! It left me with my mouth open in awe and disbelief but also of joy and satisfaction. It is one of the most clever cliffhangers and plot twists I have read for quite a while! Great finish to this sequel and lead into the next novel. I predict that it will make any reader of this novel waiting in high anticipation for the next instalment more than they were this one!

Looking back on TOW and now TTT, a study guide or commentary either at the back of each novel or as a separate publication would enhance all that Hedrck has included about eschatology. I know that Christian author, Brian Godawa, did this with his Chronicles of the Nephilim series and it has been a great success and resource. 

Hedrick is on a winner with this novel and series. I have been richly blessed and uplifted in my faith and knowledge of eschatology. It not only meets but exceeds what I like to see from Christian fiction:
  • it has entertained me immensely, 
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not, from what I can discern, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God).
Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5 

Characters 5/5 


Spiritual Level 5/5 

Story 5/5 

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating: 5/5
_______________________________________________

Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,


A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that The Third Strand contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, (click on the title below to see what this is based on), I award Jane Woodlee Hedrick with the


Reality Calling Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction Award






Congratulations, Jane!


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2 comments:

  1. Let me know when it's for sale so I can put it in the bookstore.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will do, David. I have to put it on Amazon as well when released.

    ReplyDelete

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