For most of last year, I was fully immersed in the fantasy worlds created by Ted Dekker. This includes his wonderful Circle series books, Black, Red, White, and Green, his Lost series books, Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, Chaos, Lunatic, and Elyon, and his book Skin. These 11 books are all part and parcel of the same family, with different books tackling different story arcs and segments and tangents. Now I am continuing my reading in this series with the final phase of books called the Paradise trilogy. The first Paradise series book is entitled Showdown. Oh boy did Dekker keep me on edge the whole time. This was just good old fashioned story telling. Of course, it was all the more enjoyable for me because I already knew quite a bit about the antagonist in this story and some of the plot elements from some of the other books above.
This book tells the story of Project Showdown, a massive venture funded by an ex-Harvard professor to study good vs. evil and how it develops in children fully sheltered from the influences of the outside world. Three dozen children, consisting of orphaned and unwanted babies, are brought to a special monastery outside the small mountain town of Paradise, Colorado. Here they are raised by monks in a manner to foster love. However, there is more to the existence of this monastery than initially meets the eye. It is actually a library for the lost books of history that hold untold power for both good and evil.
Meanwhile, in the town of Paradise, some powerful force has taken over the minds of the residents. The once peaceful town of working-class folks become mindless puppets in the hands of a strange and powerful monk named Marsuvees Black. Yet while Black is ultimately seen to be the figurehead of evil, he is actually controlled by another. Just when evil seems ready to triumph, two young boys risk all they have and lean on grace and hope to restore light to the world. Now, onward to the next book in the series, Saint.