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APOLLYON
[ The Destroyer is Unleashed | Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins | 1999 ]

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Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed - Click to view!The fifth Left Behind installment left me breathless to the end, so much so that all the recent media exposure and rave reviews of Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed seem almost deserved. In an explosion of personal drama and international conflict, Apollyon has a greater level of suspense than the others because of the fact the the world took sides in Soul Harvest and is gearing up for an all-out battle. Though Rayford Steele's employment at Global Force One had given the Trib Force vital information, and the confrontations with Leon were always hilarious, Rayford seems to be aware of the impending conflict and plans an escape to the group's hiding place in the States. Though himself a fugitive, reporter Buck Williams returns to the Middle East for the Gathering Of the Saints, a global conference headed by converted rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah, the Tribulation Foce's spiritual mentor. When antichrist Nicolae Carpathia stages a "surprise" arrival, even his most charismatic approach does nothing to sway the crowd of millions. After his humilation, Nicolae will stop at nothing to have Tsion, Chloe and, the thorn of his flesh, Buck Williams murdered as examples to all the earth. His fury leads to the tragic death of new believer Ken Ritz, Buck and Rayford's close pilot ally. Meanwhile, Rayford discovers his wife Amanda's true loyalty from a suffering Hattie Durham, whose miscarriage is another truly heart-wrenching point of Apollyon. A mechanic's plot to find the Trib Force's hiding place, a doctor's revealing desires, and a Jewish intellectual's spiritual struggle with Tsion all play into these 397 pages. All of the multi-leveled dramas hit pause for the prophecy fulfilled in Chapter Sixteen--swarms of demonic insects descend in swarms from the skies, for the sole purpose of tormenting unbelievers day and night with months of agonizing pain. Many try all methods of suicide, but, as prophecied, death is not found (Jenkins can only asume that 10% of the population look like chopped meat when this judgement is over). Chloe's baby is delivered amid a night of chaotic rush and untimely delay, and named Kenneth Bruce Williams when Buck, the father, arrives from Israel. While certainly a Left Behind junkie, my concern about the past two books remains with this one: the authors seem to be slowing down the story to milk the most cash and influence out of this idea. Which is really fine with me, if they can craft the same level of force and action as the latest blockbuster, Apollyon.
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