Terry James,
The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension
(VMI, 2005)

I daresay The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension is one of the most thought-provoking novels I have read in quite some time. In these pages, Terry James has done a remarkable job of uniting science fiction, historical fact and Biblical prophecy in such a way that just about everyone can enjoy this book in equal measure: atheists and Christians, UFO debunkers and ufologists, conspiracy theorists and basically anyone who enjoys an exciting, well-told story.

Most readers will invariably approach this novel with certain expectations: the references to Roswell, UFOs and a secret government cover-up will make some expect another cookie-cutter UFO conspiracy story; the references to Biblical prophecy and the prominent endorsement of Tim LaHaye will make some expect some sort of preachy Left Behind clone. Whatever expectations you bring with you to this novel, though, I daresay that Terry James will surpass them all.

The story really begins back in 1947, which saw the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran and, on July 3, a UFO crash outside Roswell, New Mexico. James Morgan just happened to be flying over New Mexico with his good friend Clark Lansing the night of July 3. They both spotted a UFO, but only one man returned to tell his story -- Clark Lansing simply disappeared mid-flight. That incident came to pretty much define Morgan's military career, as he was compelled to never speak of it to anyone (permanently planted in his unconscious, however, it rises up on a nightly basis in the form of nightmares).

Keeping the silence he has maintained all of these years becomes a lot trickier, though, when Clark Lansing's son comes calling 20 years later. Now a young military pilot, Mark Lansing has managed to put together part of the story of his dad's disappearance -- but he wants to hear the whole story from the one man who knows. Morgan does not care to rehash the past but begins to open up once he finds out that Mark is experiencing the same sorts of nightly encounters and nightmares that he has lived with for years.

The search for the truth leads directly to a secret government conspiracy hidden under layers of security and, eventually, actual encounters with extra-dimensional beings. Along the way, Mark Lansing takes on a secret mission that essentially determines the outcome of that year's Six Day's War between Israel and her Arab neighbors. That doesn't guarantee his safety or the safety of his friends, however -- not when they begin to get too close to the truth. Those friends include a famous archaeologist as well as the Morgan family's minister, who felt himself compelled by God to study Biblical prophecy despite his denomination's dismissal of the subject. Together, these two travel to war-torn Israel to study a recently discovered text that seems to speak of all the changes they and the rest of the world are now experiencing. That ancient text speaks of wars in heaven and earth at the time of its discovery and contains a warning to watch for the bene elohim. This is a reference to the Nephilim, or the Sons of God, who contaminated the Earth with their seed and led the people so far astray from God that He wiped all of them (except Noah and his family) out with the Great Flood. The implication, to put it in the simplest of terms, is that the Great Tribulation is at hand.

The greatest strength of this novel, apart from the author's adept storytelling prowess, is the way in which James links so many seemingly disparate events and ancient Biblical prophecies into a cohesive whole that sounds plausible -- even with the introduction of extra-dimensional beings into the mix. Additionally, and in contrast to most end-of-days stories, the Biblical prophecies referred to are based on passages other than those found in the Book of Revelations. That really sets this novel apart from its peers -- i.e., this is no Left Behind clone. I think Christian readers will get the most out of The Rapture Dialogues -- just because the story forces you to reexamine your interpretation of Genesis and further your knowledge of all the prophecies scattered throughout the Bible -- but the story more than holds its own as science fiction, as well. This is a ripping good yarn, whatever your personal beliefs.

review by
Daniel Jolley

30 May 2009

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