Most helpful critical review
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Plain and Simple (Nonsense)
on January 9, 2000
Robert Van Kampen's novel, The Fourth Reich, fictionalizes his interpretation of biblical prophecy, especially the Revelation to John. Both in the novel and the afterword, he shows no awareness that there are other legitimate interpretations.
The best part of the novel is the characters. I came to care about Anatoly and Sony, and Yuri Kagan, too. In fact, Yuri, the apostate Jewish reporter for CNN, is maybe the most appealing character in the book.
The plot is most interesting in the first half or so, then it's all scripted from Van Kampen's woodenly literal interpretation of the Bible. The last 75-100 pages are mechanical, boring, and written in a lame poetic prose.
Otherwise, the style of the novel is appropriate, except for the author's tendency to explain too much. An example is his tendency to use tags like "ironically" or "warmly" to tell us how characters speak. But if what the characters say isn't ironic or warm, his telling us so won't convince us.
Guess What? Adolf Hitler (nee Schicklegruber) is the antichrist, thanks to cloning and the parole of his soul from Hell. Hitler makes a lousy villain.
Another weakness is the slick, easy conversion of the main characters "Yeshua."
Tell you what: You want a convincing presentation of supernatural good and evil, within a Christian context, read C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength. Lewis can write. Lewis presents the conversions of Mark and Jane Studdock very convincingly. He makes both good and evil awesome. Van Kampen makes good and evil trite.
After all this negativity, I must say I did read the whole book. I did find much of interest in it. But read Lewis first, please.