This is a hard review to write. I can see that Barber has the passion for writing, and promoting his work and the Truth of the Word of God and explaining the Bible in relation to end times (eschatology).
I like the format of this novel. Getting his point across through fiction. I can see where the main plot has come from, The Book of Enoch, an extra biblical text that used to be in the Bible, but later regarded as not inspired by God and removed from the Bible as we know it today. Barber has used poetic licence to flesh out the main points of the Book of Enoch to convert it to a fiction base. Nothing wrong in that, it provides for a good story line that engages the reader.
It is the story line in this plot that is very effective and keeps you interested. Granted, Barber admits that his grammar is not good, and encourages us that we should excuse this in order for him to write this novel for the reasons he states in his Dedication. While this is not a total distraction from the story line, having better grammar definitely improves the plot, adds credibility and engages the reader. I feel if Barber wants to continue writing for the reasons he states, he will need to develop these skills. I can see that he has the basics and can use this as a launching pad to this improved grammar and writing skills.
I am interested in seeing what is in store for Arkadia and Sotiria. It is this that will make me read Book 2, The Book of Gabriel.
My main concern of Barber's writing is the explanation of the eschatological issues that are found in the Book of Enoch and the Bible. He states in his Editorial Reviews on the book description page of this novel on Amazon many things relating to this, but all this becomes a very difficult to interpret and understand from Chapter 12 onwards. He does not explain well what these issues are and what they mean. It is not clear, and I am not unfamiliar with eschatology or its themes/issues/prophecies/symbolism but I found this very difficult. From this point of view, I don't feel he has succeeded in achieving his aims as he outlined in the aforementioned Editorial Review.
I will say however, that yes, I did understand his explanation of the symbolism of the Apple icon (apple with one bite taken out, icon of Apple Inc) that he describes in this novel and the importance and symbolism it implies. I had heard similar about this Apple icon (on all Apple products) from an author friend of mine, Steve Goodwin, so I don't doubt both these authors knowledge and veracity of what they say here.
I really do hate writing reviews like this that do not showcase the author's skill. But I feel Barber has great potential, and I don't believe we should give up on him. If God has given him incentive and His will to write this Deceit Series then we do need to get behind him and do encourage him in this. Just as with us, God is not finished with Michael Barber and under His direction and guidance will achieve far better in the future of what God intends for Barber's writing and his passion for revealing the Truth of God's Word, even those of the extra biblical texts.