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on August 23, 2004
"The Ishbane Conspiracy" by Randy Alcorn tells the story of four young adults - Jillian, Rob, Ian, and Brittany - over one year. It is the most critical year of a young person's life: the transfer from high school to college, and Alcorn portrays the emotion, fear, and excitment that go along with this move masterfully (no doubt with the help of his two 20-something daughters who co-authored the book).

The drama of the situations and temptations the characters face is realistic. Being barely 18 years old myself, and entering my final year of high school, this book hit pretty close to home. I related well to Rob: the Christian with natural leadership abilities, a strong faith, and a nack for sharing his faith effectively. I really enjoyed his character. I was pleased that Alcorn gave Rob weaknesses, too, such as lust, depression, etc., so he wasn't portrayed as some "super-Christian".

The situations described in the book were, in my opinion, not over-exaggerated at all. If a parent reads this book and says, "There's no way it's this bad out there", well, yes it is.

This is a watershed book. I'd recommend it to freshmen in high school, and their parents. Every chapter was followed by a demonic correspondance, by two demons, Prince Ishbane and Lord Foulgrin, much like Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters", in which two demons talk about how they can keep the teens from God.

The reason I rated the book 4 out of 5 stars is that, about halfway through the book, the demon letters started to get annoying. At times, the letters were longer than the preceding chapter! It was frustrating, I just wanted to know about the story, not the back-story! Every time the story got interesting, it was interrupted by the demon correspondance

If you don't want a primer on the current state of teenage culture, read the book, but skip the letters. Parents, however, should read the letters, as it outlines what we go through, and exposes the truth about the media, etc.

Overall, a very well-written book. I really enjoyed it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 1, 2003
This book was recommended to me at a camp I worked at by one of the best camp speakers I have ever heard. He suggested that anyone who had an interest working with youth, should read it. Since I have a heart for youth and will be teaching junior high and high school students in the next few years, I figured I would check it out. I'm glad that I did.
The ISHBANE CONSPIRACY looks at the life of teenage and young adults in a very real and powerful way. It illustrates how the struggles and problems we face in our life pan out on the Hades side of the spiritual world. The book is written with every chapter followed by a letter of demonic correspondence.
The book reminded me of a cross between C.S. Lewis' THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and a Frank Peretti novel. True, there are scenes involving drugs, alcohol, allusions to sex, suicidal thoughts, eating diorders, the occult, large family arguments, and a host of other problems and sins. However, these are issues that people in America (not just teenagers) face on a daily basis. Our fight isn't against the powers of this world, but against evil forces of the unseen spiritual realm. It's great to read a newer book that so forcibly reminds us of that.
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on July 31, 2004
When we last saw the Fletcher family, they were still recovering from the death of their beloved husband and father, Jordan Fletcher.

When we last saw Lord Foulgrin, his pupil Squaltaint had turned Foulgrin's letters over to the demonic police, and Foulgrin was being dragged away to a corrections facility.

Well, Foulgrin is out, his title "Lord" has been stripped away, and he has been demoted. Ishbane, Foulgrin's former trainer, has also been reassigned to keep him in line. Of course, Foulgrin thinks he knows everything and is not above trying to teach his boss a thing or two. Luckily for Jillian Fletcher, he's still not any good at his job.

In this sequel to "Lord Foulgrin's Letters," Randy Alcorn, joined by his daughters Angela and Karina, has written another good fictional "behind the scenes" look at what the demonic forces are up to in our lives. A slight difference this time around, however, is that we get a bigger look at what is going on in the lives of our main characters.

If you liked either "Lord Foulgrin's Letters" or the C.S. Lewis original "Screwtape Letters," you will enjoy reading this book.
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VINE VOICEon March 6, 2006
'The Ishbane Conspiracy' is a great combination; it is a highly entertaining novel that contains many important ideas and food for thought. I would recommend it for any adult or teenager.

The authors did a great job of combining a Christian worldview and spiritual truths with a great story. This is a sequel to 'Lord Foulgrin's Letters', which I would also recommend. I think this is fine as a stand alone book though. I don't think it is necessary to have first read its predecessor.

Along the way, the authors touch on many very relevant issues to young people - teen pregnancy, abortion, drugs, alcohol, the occult, etc. This is done in a way that is very loving to those struggling with these issues.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it.
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on August 13, 2001
I am an avid fan of Randy Alcorn and his books. I enjoy the way he makes the reader aware of the eternal consequences of each and every action taken here on earth. I found the Ishbane Conspiracy to be a cross between Lord Foulgrin's Letters and an interesting story of a group of teenagers gaining their "rites of passage" into adulthood. The Isbane Conspiracy is, in part, a continuation of Alcorn's previous novel, Lord Foulgrin's Letters, and the members of the same Fletcher family are the predominate characters of this book as well. The story centers around four young friends, two girls and two boys. Three of the friends are graduating from High School and one boy is already in his first year of college. The four friends must come to terms with the influences of dating, drugs, alcohol, sex and the occult as they make daily choices between the fulfillment that these things provide versus the fullfillment from Christ and doing things God's way.
Although I enjoyed the story very much, I started getting very irritated by the interruptions in the story when the two demons, Lord Foulgrin and Prince Ishbane, would speak. Each time the story got interesting, these two demons would interrupt the plot and start discussing their strategies and plans for getting the teenagers to do bad things instead of good things. This approach worked well in Lord Foulgrin's letters, however once you get the point (and it doesn't take long), it really becomes annoying (especially to Christians!) to experience the constant interruptions in dialog to listen to the plots of these demons.
I guinelly hope these "Foulgrin and Ishbane" conversations do not become a trademark of Alcorn's future novels. If so, Alcorn should make two versions of his novels - One version, with the demon conversations and one without, especially for the more mature reader. If these irritating conversations had not been included, I would have given the novel 5 stars instead of 4 stars.
Overall, the Ishbane Conspiracy takes a contemporary and fresh look at the battles that teenagers face each day and remind the reader that without a strong grounding in the Lord, they are subject to- and prime candidates for- the influences of all that is evil.
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on October 12, 2005
Randy Alcorn fearlessly challenges pretty much every issue facing adolescents today. Bridging topics from drinking/drugs to premarital sex to witchcraft to family relationships, Alcorn deftly weaves in the spiritual battles going on behind the physical appearances in this fast-paced novel that you just can't put down. Throwing in plenty of twists and turns along the way, Alcorn has created a must-read for all teens and parents.
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on July 22, 2008
I have read another of Randy Alcorn's fiction books and loved it (Safely Home) but was very disappointed with this book. I work as a college minister and am very familiar with what young people are into these days but I found Alcorn's scenarios sensational and overblown.

Within the book a handful of high school students are involved in every 'evil' practice imaginable: witchcraft, drunk driving, drugs, abortion, pregnancy, bringing a gun to school, suicide, death by alcohol poisoning, etc. It's a parent-of-a-teen's worst nightmare. I'm sure the author's intent was to scare parents into being involved in their kids' lives and to warn teens of the dangers out there. But if I was a parent of a teen reading this, I would be scared to death that one misstep (like letting them listen to Metallica or watch Pleasantville) and my son/daughter would be strung out on drugs, channeling spirits, and on the brink of suicide. I think the resulting life/parenting would be a cloistered, fear-filled Christianity that is nothing like the bold, in-the-world life of Jesus.

Beyond that, I found the dialogue stilted & cheesy and the plot lumbering. Not one of Randy Alcorn's best (though I remain a big fan). Read Safely Home or Heaven instead.
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on August 5, 2002
I wish I could afford to give a copy of this book to every teen and every parent I know. This book will make you think about things you never thought about before. I found myself often putting it down and saying "Wow!" There are so many things that really made me think about my life and how I parent. It's amazing how a well written novel can get to you. This is now one of my all time Favorite books ever written, and I give it away as a gift often. I love all of Randy Alcorns novels, but if you can only get one, this is the one.
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on November 27, 2001
The book The Ishbane Conspiracy, by Angela, Karina, & Randy Alcorn, would be classified as a Young Adult book.
The Ishbane Conspiracy is a book that deals with real life issues. It is about four teens and the difficulties that workers of the devil throw at them, trying to lure them away from God. Throughout the book Foulgrin, a worker for the devil down in Hell, is trying to lure these teens into wrong choices, and away from God. He and Ishbane, another worker, write letters back and forth to each other sharing what they are trying to accomplish, but even they know that God is the right person to follow.
This book is very different than any book I've ever read. I have never read a book so real to me. It takes you through common problems among teens from their point of view.
I really enjoyed this book. It was probably one of the best books I have ever read. I felt like I was part of the story. I really liked how it talked about things that I could relate to, and other teens too. I liked how it talked about the problems teens are having. It was also very spiritual and helped me grow in my faith. I really liked Rob's personality. He was a very religious person. "'Let's pray for them.' Rob stopped suddenly, right outside the bookstore, by a rack of sale books. He lowered his head. 'Lord , please do a great work in Ian and Brittany.'" This quote was on page 199. It showed the way Rob thought. But, really there is a mystery about Rob, something very unexpected. I also liked Jillian's character a lot.
I just really loved everything about the book. It was very nice to know that there are other teens that have the same problems as me. It was also really nice to have some insight on what the workers of the Devil were doing, and how they always tried to make the characters fall back. Yet, this book might not be for everybody. It was very awesome, but it might be a little deep for some people. Some of the letters from Ishbane were a little hard to understand at times, and were very deep. But, everything else was great. I would really recommend this book to anyone from teens to adults.
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on September 9, 2001
I initially purchased this book because I thought the cover was pretty awesome. When I started reading it, I was drawn in and impressed at how the author incorporated a positive aspect of Christianity through letters of the evil. I finished the book about a half-hour ago, almost in tears. Since May I had slipped away from my strong faith, and reading this book made me realize that when I die, I want what happened to one of the characters happen to me (I'm trying not to give out the ending!). I'm very blessed that I "stumbled upon" the book because it reminded me, in obvious AND subtle ways, of the spiritual battle being fought over for me.
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