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ASSASSINS
[ Assignment: Jeruslaem, Target: Antichrist | Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins | 1999 ]

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Assassins: Assignment: Jeruslaem, Target: Antichrist - Click to view!As the sixth title of the increasingly visible Left Behind saga, Assassins hurtles the ever-fluctuating Tribulation Force--and hardcore readers of the eventually eight book series--to the halfway point in God's consuming judgment on a world struggling to survive. By now, the main characters are firmly set in their roles; Buck, the observing reporter even now unafraid to take risks to get "the story"; Rayford, the strong-as-steel leader; Tsion, the enlightening, impassioned expounder of Truth; and Chloe, the supportive, concerned mother of 14 month-old Kenny Bruce. Yet when a part seems too predictable is always when authors are ready to shake up the stereotype. Jenkins is no exception, even overcoming the challenge of finding bigger shake-ups than earthquakes, meteors, life-impending fires, and other devices used in the five previous novels. Thus much of Assassins intentionally feels significantly darker because of Captain Steele's outbursts of rage at the oppression wrought by Nicolae Carpathia, the master deceiver, World Potentate, undoubtedly Antichrist and all-around weasel. Rayford believes it can be somehow remedied were he the one chosen by God to murder Antichrist (who is prophecied only to rise again possessed by Satan himself). In addition to stretching existing characters, a new dynamic is created by the infiltrators chapter of the Trib Force, including the world leader's own pilot and copilot. Brilliant and unsuspected communications whiz, David Hassid programs a cover for every electronic trace of the U.S. fugitives known best for harboring Tsion Ben-Judah, whose daily audience online is over a billion daily. In the core "stateside" Force, nurse Leah Rose is critics' answer for a single, bitingly sarcastic, unassumingly real female. All the Left Behind players are developed better as characters, as their fast-paced exploits weave unfolding Biblical prophecy with more thrill-a-minute car chases, shoot outs and dramatic confrontations on many fronts. From the 20th chapter on, I had high hopes for the ensuing climax sure to fittingly end Assassins. Unfortunately, it is left an unfinished work by the most incomplete resolve in Left Behind books' history. And Left Standing won't be out until late spring 2000. Still a satisfying read, Assassins puts faces and personality on a couple more chapters of Revelation, further thickening the series' far-reaching storyline.
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