I was offered the chance to read this book by Mr. Andrews before its publication date (with the understanding I would review the book) by Thomas Nelson publishers. I was very excited at the prospect of being one of the first to read this book. I was not aware, however, that this book is the second by the author with the main character David Ponder (the first being The Traveler’s Gift).
The plot is basically this: David Ponder is part of a group of people throughout history known as the Travelers. They travel through time meeting people from different eras of Earth’s history as well as angels from Heaven (though, in this book at least, the reason for those travels is not clearly explained). David is informed that he is the last Traveler by the archangel Gabriel and he must come with Gabriel to a summit of all the past travelers to answer a very important question. You see God is tired of the vise and wickedness of mankind (can you really blame Him?) and He is allowing the Travelers to turn the tide by answering the question “What must humanity do, collectively and individually, to restore mankind on the path to a successful civilization?” There are various rules for how this meeting will go and so the drama begins.
First let me outline what I liked about the book. The historical information presented is very interesting. I had never heard of one of the Travelers in the story and he had made such a huge impact on the 20th century I can’t imagine why I haven’t. Secondly Mr. Andrews is a good writer. I won’t say he’s my favorite by as a novelist he is good at his craft. He also does outline how certain aspects of behavior and character are important and how to apply them (at least in some sense) in a person’s life.
Now, unfortunately I must list some negative reaction to the book I had. In the book, the Travelers are trying to avert the end of the world. This being a “Christian” book I find that odd. The end of the world, the second coming, the rapture, whatever you want to call it, is a main point of Christian theology. It is something we are supposed to look for with hope. It is when God comes to fix everything that has gone wrong. He will restore a broken creation and put the wrong things right. So the idea that people who are on God’s side not wanting that to happen is strange at best. Also the behavior of the Travelers in Heaven is poorly portrayed in my opinion. They, on occasion, break the third commandment and take the Lord’s name in vain (by using the term God as an expression of surprise or disgust). King David is portrayed as still thinking of himself as king. While this may have been just a bit of artistic license on the part of Mr. Andrews, in its context (people in Heaven, in the presence of Almighty God) it seems very inappropriate. I don’t imagine King David will think more of himself than anyone else in the kingdom. Also the solution to the question they were asked (of course they answer the question and save the world) was too man focused for me. It was very much in the vain of we can pull ourselves up and save our world ourselves (not particularly Christian in my opinion).
However these issues are partially due to something about the book I was initially unaware of. This isn’t truly a novel. It is a self help book disguised as a novel. Most of the points they bring up as ways mankind can fix its path are not bad points in and of themselves, but as presented they seem to leave the most important part of the mix out, God. And as a “Christian” book I would have thought it would hit on that. So in the end I don’t feel it’s a book I would recommend.