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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 August 7, 2014
I am a big fan of Randy Alcorn and love all of his work. "The Ishbane Conspiracy" refers to the plotting of the devil and his minions to undermine God. There are two intertwined storylines in the book. First, a group of pre college teens face the struggles of everday secular living. The second story line is a fascinating discussion between the demons assigned to each teen.

Here are a few examples of the demons discussing how to bring down Christianity:

“Our cultural destruction committee continues its work to redefine the family. We’ve taken both parents out of the home by convincing the most wealthy people that they must have two incomes. We’ve made single parenting normal. We’ve created latchkey children who have been baby-say by television and the Internet. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. We’ve put an end to the sacredness of family dinner together, using business and telephone and television to pull them away from the table and family conversation. We’ve given a whole new meaning to “family planning.” We’ve even created scorn for “family values.” Pg. 81

“Picture the professor teaching in this class. He congratulates himself on debunking the ridiculous fantasies of religious fanatics. Of course, his own position is imminently credible-in the beginning there was nothing, and then the nothing exploded into gigantic pieces we call stars and planets, and from these self-generated inanimate objects came plants, and from the plants came animals, and from animals came people, and from people came Saran Wrap and bug zappers and bungee cords. Presto change alakazam, there you have it, the history of the cosmos.” Pg. 108

I found the teen story line to be predictable and a tad slow.
I found the demon story line to be fascinating, creative and applicable to today.
Randy, and his crew, have written a Christian novel explaining what is wrong with our culture today.
The devil plays himself. Interesting and provocative.
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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 April 4, 2015
A relatively interesting book about a group of teenagers and the spiritual battle that is wages over theirs souls. Lots of good points are made in this book in how easy it is to fall prey to evil without even realizing it.

On the flip side, I felt the book was a bit too preachy, even for Christian fiction. I love a good religious discussion but I have never liked being talked AT. And I feel that is what this book does. While parts can be an eye opener for certain life aspects it came across as nagging especially when it comes to Rob's character. Still, it is a thought provoking book.

The chapters are short and each one includes a letter correspondence from a a demon. at first the letters were amusing and even insightful but about halfway through I just started to half-skim over them and just read the actual chapters. They became way to repetitious.

The ending was unexpected and not sure I liked it. The Characters varied. Rob came across as a Bible-thumper, which is something even as a Christian I do not like. Ian is more a side character until the end so when his story becomes vital I just could not relate. Jillian, Daniel and Brittany were okay but none of the characters really jumped out at me.

The messages the book conveyed were good and the style was interesting. Even though I do not see demons writing letters to each other, the plotting they were at felt very real. It really makes you think what is going on around us that we don't see.

**I received this book in exchange for a fair, honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own.**
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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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