Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins: Book Review

Left Behind is the first novel in the series of 16 books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins published in 1995.

Imagine you are on a plane and open your eyes to find people around you disappear. Their clothes, shoes and other belongings are left behind and their bodies have vanished midair. A similar phenomenon has gripped the rest of the world. There isn’t a clue about what has happened or how this could happen. Exactly, the reason why you will read through 350 pages of Left Behind.

The narrative is taken forward through two characters – Raymond Steele and Cameron Williams to unearth this ‘Biblical Apocalypse’.

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B.Jenkins

Cameron Williams aka Buck, the thirty-year-old, deemed the youngest senior journalist at Global Weekly is in a flight where Raymond Steele is the pilot. Midway their journey, Hattie Durham, one of the air hostesses, informs Raymond about the disappearance of some passengers. There is confusion and chaos and the plane heading to London is turned back to the US. Similar experiences are communicated by other airplanes and ground staff.

Raymond wants to get back home at the earliest to his wife and two children. However, outside the airport, the situation is grim. People have vanished from their cars while driving on the roads leading to traffic jams and accidents.

On reaching home, Raymond realizes that his wife and son have disappeared too. However, his twenty-year-old daughter, Chloe is alive and heads back home. Raymond’s wife had turned religious in the past few years and believed in the doctrine that Jesus would come for his people. The believers shall be in heaven and the others will continue to bear the drudgery.

Chloe had purported the theory of alien attack against the Biblical notions. As father and daughter try to overcome their grief, Rayford turns to Church as he thinks that’s what his wife would have wanted him to do. Rayford who had not been religious, this was the moment to turn to the Bible to understand the reason behind the present happenings. He thinks if in the beginning, God created heaven and earth; then in the end, perhaps God took good people to heaven and gave everyone else one more chance. The catastrophe has a religious impact on the people as they turn to Church for solace.

In the parallel narrative, we know about Chaim Rosenzweig, the ‘newsmaker of the year’ rather the botanist who invented the synthetic fertiliser who transformed sandy deserts of Israel. And, Israel became the wealthiest nation. People believed that Jesus returned the favour against the atrocities. Russians had planned the destruction of Israel but it led to the miraculous survival of the entire population. Buck was present there during the attacks hence could totally believe in the supernatural turn of events.

At this point, Nicolae Carpathia has become the President of Romania. How could a change in the leadership of a non-strategist nation affect world politics? Rosenzweig was quite inclined towards Carpathia, though Carpathia was just a member of the lower house. Carpathia comes to the U.N. summit, perhaps being the new face of disarmament. When the journalists ask him of the opinion regarding the ‘rupture’, he says he believes ‘in the natural theory, that lightening reacted with some subatomic field.’ Carpathia had collaborated with Rosenzweig who believed in some sort of electromagnetism due to the accumulation of nuclear power and weaponry across the world.

Buck tries to investigate the matter with an objective eye and with his leads, reach Bruce Barnes and the Tribulation Force.

Is this the ‘Rupture’ or the Judgement day as the religious beliefs went or there is a greater conspiracy of the world leaders or maybe alien attack. The effect of world politics pushing towards one currency and religious unity in the background keeps the narrative interesting. What actually takes away the pace of the book is its overuse of the religious connotations and Biblical references that becomes repetitive.

The apocalyptic premise is interesting and if you enjoy the genre, you can surely pick it up and skip the sections that seem to drag.  

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z challenge under Alphabet L

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