As a young college student at the local state university, it was a treat to work in the business office where I got to give professors their paychecks and rub shoulders with college royalty.
One day a director from Alumni Services, a cheerful man who always had a kind word for the student workers, leaned in my door and told me I HAD to read this new book he’d started. “It’s called Left Behind, and I just know you’d love it.”
I smiled. “Sounds cool!” I had no time for fiction, but no need to tell him that.
In months ahead, he’d remind me I needed to read Left Behind, which was fast becoming an epic series. I still had no time for fiction. I still didn’t tell him.
Finally, when David and I got married and discovered we liked to read books together, we started Left Behind. We were hooked. I remember frantic runs to Wal-Mart seeking the next book in the series after each cliffhanger. We learned so much about end-times prophecy, and modern events became understandable after reading these nailbiters just to find out what would happen to Rayford and Chloe.
Little did I know that Jerry Jenkins, the fiction half of the LaHaye/Jenkins author duo, would one day become my writing coach via the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, or that he would one day encourage me to pause writing and focus on my family, even if it made my writing rusty. “Your time will come,” he told me.
So it’s fitting that my last review before my childraising Sabbatical would highlight the latest story Jerry Jenkins has written.
In Dead Sea Rising, fans of Netflix pacing get rewarded with fast-moving setups and payoffs. The story flips back and forth from post-flood to modern day with the Vietnam War in between. Suffice it to say, it was hard to put the book down.
The story starts with a philanthropist Jewish family being called to a hospital they support because the mother has sustained a fall. From as far away as the Middle East and Vietnam, voices from the past reveal that not everything is as it seems.
On the other side of the timeline, King Nimrod of the land of Shinar seems unduly interested in whether his trusted servant Terah’s unborn child will be male or female. When pressed to the limits, Terah’s moral and mental fabric unravels.
Through the eyes of his wife Bellisunu, we get a glimpse of how life might have been for a wife of an idolater-descendant-of-Shem in a time when women were little more than echoes of their husbands.
It’s been an honor to be on the launch team for this book, because a huge perk was the opportunity to ask the author questions about his book. My biggest question was one statement Bellisunu made after an especially evil act of her husband. “God told me to sever myself from you,” she said.
This statement stopped me cold. Nowhere does Scripture endorse divorce. So I asked Jerry Jenkins in one of his Facebook live chats with the launch team, and he put my fears to rest. “This was a theological statement, because in this time period women automatically adopted the beliefs of their husbands. She was symbolically distancing herself from his evil. There won’t be a divorce, because that wouldn’t go along with the Biblical record.”
It was great to hear his explanation of this statement that gave me pause.
After attending the Dead Sea Rising book signing, where I got to see his wife who attended with him, I was reminded what a privilege it is to get to learn from this author whose life doesn’t just teach writing.
His writing teaches life.
I’m so thankful to Worthy Publishing, who provided me a free copy of Dead Sea Rising in exchange for my honest review. It was an honor to read Dead Sea Rising, the first in this new series that has the potential to be the next Left Behind.