The prequel to the Bible is here!
Explore the fascinating tale of the fall of Lucifer!
The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is book one of a three part series that explores the fascinating story of the Fall of Lucifer.
Lucifer, God’s perfect creation. Yet rose up to betray the Lord and bring Heaven itself to civil war.
Many tales have referenced this great angelic war but few have sought to explore the dynamic relationships between God and the angelic hosts. Why did a third of heaven seek to overthrow their creator?
See Lucifer, and his actions in a light never before seen. Journey back to the beginning, and see the drama unfold before your eyes: as allegiances are broken; choices made, and why all of creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God!
This is the first work of writing of Neal's that I have read. But then again, this is the only novel he has written so far!! He does plan on future books. I look forward to them. I had bought this book in November 2013, and it stayed on my To Be Read list until the author contacted me (from finding my blog on a Google search) via email asking if I would review his book. That was not a hard decision to make seeing I had already bought his book and would have left a review anyway as I do for all the books I read.
From reading The Third Heaven, I am pleased I am reading this now and not in the future. This is one very hard to put down piece of writing. You are transported to another world. Many times I had to remind myself that this was fiction and not an expanded account of the real events that the Bible has not included! If anyone ever wondered about what Heaven is like before the creation of man, then look no further. As the book description says, The Prequel to the Bible is here!
Neal writes well, and his descriptions of Heaven, the angels, newly created Earth and the galaxy and universe are well done. He has outlined, however briefly, a hierarchy of angels according to their role and various functions. I found this fascinating. It is also Biblical as well, but the Bible is less descriptive about this than Neal who has used some poetic license in this matter. This has definitely added some very interesting plot lines and depth.
I can see that some Christians might have some issues with his depiction and portrayal of Heaven, the angels and even reference to controversial theology. I did come across a resource from Neal's website that does clarify these things. It can be found here: Thinking Behind The Third Heaven. I would recommend anyone considering reading this novel to check out the above resource. It will add to their understanding, and why the author has constructed it like he has and even some of the challenges he faced writing this novel. I am not surprised in a novel of this genre and plot. Many Christians can be very defensive in their opinions and understanding of topics such as the fall of Lucifer, angels in general, the war in Heaven, the creation of the earth and even Genesis in general. Neal has planned well for this by providing this resource. This adds to his credibility as an author and his commitment to not just entertain in this novel but to exhort and uplift the Bible, God and the Gospel message in this medium of fiction.
I found it very interesting the plot line about Apollyon. I know so very little of this angel other than what I have read in Revelation and in eschatological fiction that I had not considered anything about him before the fall of Lucifer. Yes, this is the author's poetic license showing but it did get me thinking and it adds a great storyline and precursor to the fall of Lucifer. Neal also provides a plot twist towards the end that I would never have seen coming relating to both these high ranking angels. Very clever!
I really enjoyed a dialogue sequence where El (God) is talking to Lucifer, and it is very much old style English (same as in the KJV of the bible) and it is very beautiful. Adds a poetic, romantic edge to God despite the content of the dialogue being very serious and God being very serious in the circumstance.
Any Christian or anyone who has read the bible will know that Lucifer's pride was what led to his sin/downfall and the judgement of God upon him. Neal describes his pride and arrogance, even hatred of newly created man and man's reason for existence in such an intense way that the reader is tempted to take time out from reading this, in order to cope with this intensity. From this point on Neal weaves Lucifer's increasing pride and arrogance into the rest of the plot on all levels and layers and it is here that the pace becomes relentless and the action frenetic. The outcome is that war breaks out in Heaven while El is resting from his creative work. The angels are exposed for the first time to violence, hatred, deception, betrayal. All emotions that are very foreign to them and at first they do not know how to deal with them. They have never been left without any direction from El and to fend for themselves. This plays directly into Lucifer's deception. Neal shines here with him weaving his own poetic license and recorded biblical events in a masterful way. His poetic license is very clever to wind all this up with a possible explanation of the gap between Genesis 1: 1 and 2. Very much riveting reading.
Neal describes the creation of Hell very well, and it is another piece of riveting reading. Very descriptive and sobering and forms a great pillar in the plot structure. Very different to other fictional descriptions of Hell from other Christian authors but nonetheless appropriate and in line with what is recorded in the Bible.
There is so much in this novel that to describe it here would make this review one very long and involved one. Neal is quite the story teller and this novel showcases his talent very appropriately.
This could translate to one great movie!