pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: Bound by Barry Napier

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Bound by Barry Napier


A shaken faith. A terrorizing evil. And one dark secret. 

As John Brighton is cleaning his church one night, a distressed and frightened man shows up looking for help. John reluctantly decides to lend a hand and as a result, comes face to face with a dark side of spirituality he hardly knew existed. 

A young man named Donovan has been possessed by what John assumes can only be a demon. When John learns Donovan and Sean, John's son, are connected, he begins to understand just how close to home this possession hits. And he can’t ask Seth for answers because his son has been in a coma for nearly a year. 

Through a dark maze of spiritual warfare and shaken faith, John discovers the accident that placed his son into a coma and led to Donovan's possession is linked to a dark secret he must unravel to not only rid Donovan of the demon, but to save his son's life.

The Guru's Review: 

I chose this novel at the author's request to review one or more from his published works. I am glad I chose this one, it has proved to be a wise choice. The reason for choosing was I love the genre of spiritual warfare, especially when it is based on biblical principles and its worldview. The other reason was that I wanted to see if this account of demon possession would be dealt with based on those two previous criteria. Napier succeeds very well here. 

Napier does this with flair and even on other aspects of pace, action, characterisation, plot. This is one easy to read novel, well constructed and flows well, the pace has no peaks followed by troughs, just one action scene after the other, that takes the reader on a journey to discover how Donovan became demon possessed, how John's comatose son is involved and why the attempts of Pastor Paul and Cal, Christian "exorcist", are not succeeding spiritually in delivering Donovan from his demonic bondage. However, the action from the second half of the novel has the thrills and action intensified as the plot gears up for its dramatic conclusion. 

Napier spends the first half of this novel setting the scene for how John becomes involved in this demonic possession (from the first chapter), how this possession is expressed in and through Donovan, the attempts from Pastor Paul and Cal to deliver Donovan, how John and his wife attempt to piece together the puzzle as to how their son Sean is involved, including why he is comatose. It is also here that we see the true nature of the demonic spirits, their hatred of the human race, especially of Christians, represented by Paul and Cal, their supernatural powers and abilities, foul stench in the area where Donovan is, the cold, frigid, oppressive temperature of the house, a vase floating in mid-air then shattering, magazine pages being fanned out slowly.

Other manifestations include the convulsing of Donovan's body and body parts being slapped against the furniture, arching of his back, having urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control), his teeth chattering, while the demonic spirits, who call themselves the Six vocalise deep-throated growls that become streams of obscenities, with each of the voices alternating with every word. When Cal attempts to get close to Donovan, the spirits controlling him physically attack him by slapping him across the face so violently that blood is drawn and he almost falls back onto the floor but manages to maintain his stance. 

These, of course, add tension, suspense and evoke fear in the reader. Normal reaction. This is heightened when all the attempts of Paul and Cal are unsuccessful in using the Word of God, prayer and to deliver and banish the demons from Donovan. Every failed attempt provokes in the reader the question of why this is unsuccessful when the Word is clear that using the Name of Jesus and many other verses together with prayer and fasting are more than enough to exorcise demons from humans. Napier has a reason for this that becomes evident in the second half that springboards the plot to its dramatic and satisfying conclusion. I must confess that I was beginning to lose faith in Napier's ability up to this point that he was basing this novel on Biblical principles and began to wonder if he was adding poetic licence to these. To me, that would have been one big "No No" and would have considered abandoning reading the rest of the novel.

However, just when I was about to do this, I had reached the second half and a twist in plot occurred that had me hooked again. This time, Napier provides the backstory to how Sean and Donovan are involved in the demonic that leads to Donovan's possession. From this point on, the tension and suspense escalate as we learn in intimate details what Sean experiences being comatose, which he summaries as being in a darkness where it was not life, but it was not death either. Sean compartmentalises the dark as his Grandfather's barn, that has two doors, both opened slightly. One he avoids, while the other door has the opposite effect, it is inviting. However, he felt that to understand why he was in the darkness, he had to open the first door and venture through it. And once he did, it was a point of no return. 

And it is through this door and in the next chapters, Napier describes the events that led to both Sean and Donovan being confronted with the demonic that led to their possession. It is one creepy tale and my heart was pounding as I read this entire account. The alarming thing that Napier succeeds in doing is describing how easy it is to "invite" these demons into your body/life even if you had not intentionally sought them out. In the case of Donovan, Sean and the other person possessed, Jack, all they had to do was visit a known place of demon worship and that had unexplained, supernatural phenomena and venture in, unarmed, unprepared, ignorant of the existence of the demonic or how an innocent "mocking" of its demonic symbol (pentagram) was enough to have these demons interpret their behaviour as an open invitation for possession. 

Once Napier is finished with this backstory, Napier lays the foundation for the final confrontation between John, Paul, Cal and the Six. More twists and turns as the latter up their resistance to the Word of God, Paul is spiritually attacked by them causing him to become unconscious. Cal, nearly ready to give up, is given a Word from the Spirit to remain calm, deliverance is nigh and to be patient. 

What happens next is where the true Biblical principles come into action and where the Spirit again shows His Sovereignty over everything, in this case, demonic possession and demonic strongholds. Napier shines in his account here. He shows that the reason for the previous failure of Paul and Cal and to a lesser degree John's involvement was the status of their faith and their heart towards God and how unprepared they were to go into combat. It is only through John getting right with God, being prayed up and resubmitting to the Lordship of Christ did the Spirit infill Himself into John for him to be His vessel and the Six having to obey and submit to the commands of the Word of God that flowed forth from John via the Spirit and were banished from Donovan and Sean. Even the Six released there was something different about John that was not there before when they would taunt and weaken his faith. They now began to feel threatened and insecure about their victory in possessing Donovan and Sean. John delivered the Rhema (specific Word of God or Bible verse) he had received from God to the Six and this was successful in banishing them to where they belong and freeing Donovan. So it is the power of the Word and the Spirit that conquered the demonic possession over Donovan. I was pleased that Napier used two of my favourite Bible verses to show the authority we have from God to overcome demonic power,
I have given you the authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to destroy the enemy’s power. Nothing will hurt you. (Luke 10: 19, God's Word Translation)
For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earthand every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, Broadman Holman Translation)
I wondered about the spiritual attack on Pastor Paul and what happened there, but Napier explains yet another defence against the demonic that is not just specifically against the deliverance against demons but is for everyday life and that is the Armour of God, 
10 Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. 11 Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. 12 This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13 For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days. Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.
14 So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. 15 Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace. 16 In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Also take salvation as your helmet and God’s word as the sword that the Spirit supplies.
18 Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people. 19 Also pray that God will give me the right words to say. Then I will speak boldly when I reveal the mystery of the Good News. 20 Because I have already been doing this as Christ’s representative, I am in prison. So pray that I speak about this Good News as boldly as I have to. (Ephesians 6: 10-20)
Paul states that yes, he was attacked but what protected him was this spiritual armour of God, it protected him from the spiritual effects of this demonic attack. He suffered physical effects without these being permanent and spiritually unaffected. Such is the power of the Armour of God. 

There are only two concerns I have about this novel and it does not concern the theology of this tome. The first is the numbers that the Six were repeating over and over to John and company. Once John had finally worked out what they meant, I could not see what relevance they had to the story or why the Six were repeating them. But this did not detract from the plot or alter the outcome. The only point to this plot discrepancy was that it led John and Maggie to consult with Sean's girlfriend for more information but that could have been achieved in a much simpler means that through these numbers from the Six. 

The other concern I had was no mention is made of what happened to Jack, who was also demon possessed. He is not mentioned at all following their escape from the demonic stronghold and he was the first one showing physical signs of possession. 

I am glad that Napier showed another positive outcome of demon possession. It would not surprise me that in reality those affected by seeing loved ones, friends or otherwise who have gone through deliverance who are not Christians or do believe in the Bible become believers and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour following this event, including those who have been possessed. I could be daring and say what more proof do these two groups need to believe the Gospel of Christ after this event? It was so good to see that Donovan's uncle, Bob, see the reality of the situation and where this demonic event comes from and accept the offering of salvation after discussing this whole event with Pastor Paul. 

All in all, a very cleverly constructed account of demon possession and the use of Biblical principles to deal with it. Kudos to this author for adhering to these principles on this important spiritual issue.Any poetic licence would just water down its importance and make a mockery of the Sovereignty of God over everything, including the demonic.

Very happy to have been introduced to this author's writing and it won't be the last! 

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

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