The SOTH Initiative
The Sect of the Healed Chronicles
The software has been released, the world now knows the truth, and the world is awakened to a new direction. There is a dark force resisting this awakening, one that will work to wipe out the Sect of the Healed who yearn to share the truth with the world. Come with us on a worldwide journey of intrigue, mystery, and miracles as Professor Lindey Batchelor and the SOTH family share their archaeological treasures with the world. You will see what artifacts and literary treasures the world will experience. Many will embrace the truth, but many will seek to snuff it out along with all those associated with the great awakening.
The SOTH Initiative is a book about truth, power, resistance to the light, overcoming the darkness, and the power of God living in everyday people. Come with Lindey and his team as they travel the world, rescue the innocent, engage the darkness, and overcome evil to share the truth the world needs to hear.
Perspective by Peter:
I was asked by the author to review this second novel in the Sect of the Healed Chronicles. It was a no-brainer after reading Book 1, The SOTH Initiative. I had been waiting eagerly for this to land in my lap.
I have not disappointed reading this latest instalment. It is a worthy sequel to its predecessor. That is what both readers and novelists anticipate. Such a disappointment when you leave Book 1 of a series on a high and then fall flat on Book 2 because it did not progress the plot further, everything was of a lesser intensity or the plot arcs were simplified or not completed. So many readers do not continue with the series from that point on.
Not so with this sequel. Fallout follows on with more intensity, action and adventure, more spiritual warfare, more tribulation and persecution of the SOTH and even more of the power of the Gospel and of of God's Spirit. So much spiritual encouragement from seeing the SOTH members live out the Gospel in the midst of their persecution and tribulation. These members are totally surrendered to God in all aspects of their lives. Isn't that what the Gospel encourages us to do?
This is just one of the lessons that Christian readers can embrace from this novel. There are many more and the reader will be blessed with finding them if they are open to the Spirit as they read this novel. I have always said that Christian fiction should not just entertain but edify, educate and even convict the Christian believer or unbeliever. This is a powerful medium for God in His Spirit to minister to the reader where they are at. Brior does this well and is a willing vessel for God to use in his novels. He is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and in defense of it. Neither should we.
I found myself revisiting what I wrote in my review of Book 1: The SOTH Initiative. Reading it, I found that this is applicable for this review of Fallout. I repeat below (in italics) some of that review for the benefit of those readers who have not read it and to see how it applies to Fallout:
"This concept of a DNA change from being healed by Jesus and given special talents and abilities directly related to what the affliction, disease or disability the biblical character was healed from is very clever. When the reader is introduced to another SOTH member and their special talent is revealed, Brior appropriately details the Biblical character from whom they are descended and the condition they were healed from. This adds some very interesting layers to the characterisation of its characters. I would love to see an Appendix or similar at the beginning or end of the novel that lists these characters, who their Biblical character they are descended from and what they were healed from and the Biblical reference to this account and what the special abilities and talents are. This would encourage Christians to revisit this Biblical account if they were not familiar with it and for any reader who does not know Christ or has not a relationship with Him would benefit from this list and the Biblical account. It could either sow a seed of faith in this reader or water an existing planted one.
As I was in thinking how clever this DNA change was, it raised in me my own speculative fiction question: What if this DNA change was a restoration to how we were when God created us, before sin changed our perfectly created state to one that is flawed and imperfect? So to my mind, this was no longer just a clever concept by this author. Maybe there is an element of truth to this? Is God telling us something in this novel? Don’t you just love speculative fiction?
I loved how the descendants of these healed biblical characters have a love, devotion and obedience to God and Jesus. They are sold out to Him. This was such an encouraging and uplifting reading experience. My spirit was soaring in seeing how these SOTH members live and behave. They are very much Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. They are depicted as living out their faith as we are encouraged to do in James 1:22:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Many of them have dreams where the Spirit reveals many things to them, warns them of the danger approaching from the Cleansing Group and the CIA and even revelation about the spiritual status of those characters brought to them by God. One touching and memorable instance is when one of the leading characters of the Cleansing Group is confronted with the truth about her hatred, bitterness, anger and quest for revenge of the alleged killing of her family by The SOTH. This is one hardened individual blinded and controlled by these emotions and the Muslim indoctrination that it is powerful to see these strongholds broken down and this character’s heart becomes softened to the Gospel of Christ and accepting of His Truth and salvation. And what a transformation that takes place in this individual! There is one other as well.
Throughout this novel, Brior has interspersed the differences between various faiths and that of Christianity.
As he states,
I compare and contrast religions over relationship all through the book as people of Muslim, Catholic, Hindu and other religious faiths come in contact with people living out a real relationship with God. I also show how the world views religion, and why the cleansing group is so committed to wiping out the relatives of the people Jesus healed. There are mysteries, miracles, chase scenes, murder, healing, and biblical truth woven through an intricate plot that takes the reader back in time to experience Jesus and His message of forgiveness, hope, grace, and relationship.
This contrast is not preachy but provides necessary and essential back history to the plot and what motivates the Cleansing Group and other faiths together with the CIA in their quest to eradicate the SOTH. He has also portrayed through one individual, the destructive attitude and behaviour of a hardened heart towards anything spiritual but total reliance on the attaining of power, knowledge, and the supremacy of being human. Brior shows here how destructive this is. I can see this being further developed in this character in Book 2.
If an author makes statements such as what he quoted above, it is a huge bonus for the reader when they see that they have succeeded in achieving this. Not just the author’s words but their words becoming part of the reality of the novel.
While reading this novel, I was reminded of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. There are parallels in this novel to this parable. The SOTH could be seen as the characters in the parable who used their given talents to reap more (in this case for God’s glory, the promotion of His Gospel and proof of existence) and receive their reward,
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
while the character mentioned in the previous paragraph is likened to the character who hid or did not use his talent. In this parable, he incurred the wrath of his master for ill use of the talent, and received his appropriate reward,
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
Even the end of the parable can be applied to this novel,
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The SOTH used their talents for the glory of God. They are the good and faithful servants, while the character mentioned above (and the Cleansing Group) with their hardened hearts and being deceived are cast into outer darkness. Upon their death, this is likened to Hell."
Fallout develops the characters and their spiritual journey further. The addition of more SOTH members and the linkage back to genealogy of the healed Biblical ancestor just adds more of the background and strength of this novel. And a budding romance during the times of persecution softens and strengthens the novel. It is not out of place amoungst the action, suspense and thrilling nature of the plot and pace. I look forward to more of this in Book 3.
Brior must be applauded for the research he has conducted into how the CIA works and into the Biblical artifacts that would be exposed for all the world to see at the Great Reveal that all of the events of Books 1 and 2 have led up to. These histories of the artifacts provide a a great read on their own and I am readers will be intrigued here. I learnt so much! Even the histories of the characters and how they linked back to their Biblical ancestor was a riveting read, despite it being poetic licence on Brior's part. Such is the depth of Brior's worldbuilding and how it is deeply embedded into the fabric of both novels.
I have no doubt that Book 3 will be a worthy successor to Fallout. Brior does not know how to do anything less. I was engaged throughout and looked forward to both my morning and evening reading times to dive back into this story. The ending of Fallout sets the scene for a new challenge for the SOTH and their progression of the Gospel of Christ.
As like Book 1, Brior finishes this novel on a cliffhanger and this will have readers eager to read Book 3. I am now more eager than ever to read the final novel in these Chronicles. Will it be final though? I could really go for a Book 4. They are afterall, Chronicles!
Brior continues to construct an engaging, thrilling, entertaining and uplifting novel that depicts,
“…biblical truth woven through an intricate plot that takes the reader back in time to experience Jesus and His message of forgiveness, hope, grace, and relationship.” (to quote the author).
He is still one promising author whose passion for story and Christian fiction will see more of him in the future.
The two classifications below are based on the booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland:
Spiritual Level 5/5 Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Spiritually, based on my review and on the aforementioned reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland (Radiqx Press) and that The Soth Initiative: Book 2: Fallout 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 bestow to Dean Brior the:
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Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing. Reviews also help get the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.
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