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on November 2, 2000
I've heard more negative response from other Christians toward this Peretti book than any other. Why? Because it's dark, maybe. Because it doesn't paint a gleeful, daisy-filled meadow scene for us, possibly.
And these are the reasons I consider this his best.
Without forgetting to grab our attention and build his characters, Peretti sets the stage for a powerful spiritual metaphor that hits the reader between the eyes. The seductive oath of this town comes back to haunt them, and by the end, no one will be left unchanged--for better of for worse. The consequences of flirting with sin are starkly portrayed here. Don't give up too soon; read on to the finish and you'll understand Peretti's point.
Of all Peretti's books, this one alone have I been able to pass out freely to my nonbelieving friends. The story is genuinely intriguing--not just a hastly sketched backdrop for a sermon--and it grabs your attention, demanding that you heed its warning.
This may not be for all readers, particularly those who like syrupy romance or immediate feel-goods, but it's worth the effort. If you like no-holds-barred Christian fiction, "The Oath" is for you.
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on March 21, 2001
A very good book! Peretti is very talented in his storytelling style. I read just about all of his adult books and this one ranks as one of his best (second only to the wonderful "This Present Darkness")
There are those who feel this book is too dark and too horrific--This is as close that Christian fiction can come to secular horror novels such as those by Stephen King and Dean Koontz--And I admit, I was surpised from some of the content I read and often thought to myself: 'And this is supposed to be a *Christian* book!?'...But really, it does make sense and is warrented. All in all, this story is about Sin. This book is very allagoric and symbolic of what sin is and what it can do to people. It usually starts small, and it grows. Quickly you become addicted to it. You don't even want to aknowledge your sin and so you become blind to it...that is until it is too late. You become a slave to sin and the only way to truly free yourself is through Jesus. Otherwise Sin will grow and grow until it devours you (Something litterally from this book). I know that this is starting to sound like a sermon, but this message is EXACTLY what this book is about...And yet, It never gets *preachy*
It's a fairly hefty novel, especially for Peretti, and at times you wish something more interesting would happen. But the pace never falters and it does manage to hold you. Only the most impatient of readers would put this book aside for good without having it finished.
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on May 3, 2000
A fan of Peretti's from the first chapter of "This Present Darkness," I was not in the least disappointed in "The Oath." While "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" were true to life from start to finish, this book contained a different approach. Although I enjoyed every minute of it, there were several times during the reading that I stopped and thought, "This is so unreal. This could never happen." However, it was toward the end of the book that I realized it was a parody (in the loosest sense of the word) of what takes place in the spiritual world. The dragon that controlled the town was Sin, and although sin can never take a fleshly form and go around devouring unsuspecting townsfolk, in a spiritual sense, it does just exactly that. While we cannot see a smelly black substance oozing from our chests when we get sin in our lives, if we could see through spiritual eyes, we really would see a blackened heart, full of sin. As in the book, it is when the smallest sins get into our hearts and turn them "black," and we have removed ourselves from the realm of God's protection that the big "dragon" can come and eat us up. It is obvious that Peretti really knows something about the spiritual world, and this book, when taken in the right context, can help the reader to understand what is actually going on although we can't see it in the natural.
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on September 23, 2000
This was a book that my wife wanted me to read a long time ago and I put it off because I wasn't really sure I would enjoy this type of book. Well, after finishing it, I can say that it was definitely worth reading. If this book doesn't have you taking a second look at your life and really, REALLY thinking about the consequences of sin, then you've probably missed the point of the book. The dragon in this book represented sin/Satan and if you were a sinner, the dragon owned you and your soul. The only people who weren't afraid of the dragon were the men/women who believed in Jesus Christ. The powerful and ironic thing in the book was that Harold Bly, who practically owned the entire town and who was a direct descendent of Benjamin Hyde, really thought he was the dragon's "master" but he learned, the HARD way, that the dragon wasn't on his side anymore than any other sinners in Hyde River. For someone looking for a Christian fictional book with an unforgettable message, give The Oath a try.
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on May 7, 2002
The Oath is perhaps Peretti's best work. While this book does not follow his Darkness sequels (no angel and demon confrontations), it paints a very vivid picture of what happens when people begin to try to hide their sins from the world and reject that God exists. Except that the sins of Hyde River are personified in a living being whose mere mention casts fear and anger into peoples minds and hearts. For this reason, the town of Hyde River has kept its past a secret from outsiders. It is a town controlled by sin and fear. And these two aspects of their lives are preyed upon by the descendent of the town founder Benjamin Hyde and the last living family member, Harold Bly. But when an outsider is killed by the town's greatest secret, the people find hiding their past extremely difficult. Especially since the death of the outsider was witnessed by his wife. And even more so when the victim's brother begins to pry into the lives of the town people, uncover their darkest secret, and solve the mystery of his brother's death.
What tale Peretti spins is not a confrontation in the spiritual realm with angels and demons battling for the souls of mortal men, but a very vivid picture of what can happen when people reject God and begin to think they can live how they want.
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on March 15, 2000
This grandiose tale has everything! The maniacal evil villain, the lunatic/wiseman/martyr, the smart cop/beautiful seductive woman, and the strong noble hero on his spiritual quest. The corpses along the way are to numerous to count. The pace of the novel is good, except for a few slow spots describing the landscape. It has all the firepower of "Die Hard," the slime of "Ghost Busters," the paper trail of "The Firm," the hurtling bulk of "Speed," and of course the godzilla-esque creature. The book is not a bad way to spend a day (and at 550 pages - it was a long day!) but I wouldn't do it twice.
After reading "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness," I came to expect depth and breadth from Mr. Peretti's work. I admire his creative soul, and his ability to weave a tale. However, I would say this book has more breadth than depth.
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on September 7, 2005
From the first page I was hooked and the pervading dark theme of the book really grabbed me and lured me in. I picked it up in our church bookshop and sat on the floor and read up to page thirty, time flying before I even realized! I ended up with it and was accused by family members of being rude toward them because I couldn't get my nose from between the covers of this one. There were a couple of flat spots which I ignored the dryness of in order to fully grasp the plot, and when I got to the end and found out the thing causing everyone so much grif was a dragon, I felt disappointed and tempted to give this book 4 stars. But then I asked myself, what did I expect??

Frank's writing has a way of making you inspect yourself. For example in the beginning of This Present Darkness, the angels are sitting up in the rafters unseen by the church attendees, and they can only hear a couple of people singing because the others whose mouths are moving cannot be heard because their hearts are not in it. It has made me wonder most every Sunday since, "Can my voice be heard?" It's the same with The Oath... It had me inspecting my chest for the black tary goop, looking over my shoulder at night for the rippling in the tops of the trees, and then I remembered I was saved and it's only a novel. But the crux remains the same. You're saved by the Blood, or you're not. In the end if God doesn't get you in eternity, the 'dragon' will. This book's worth the read, but I'd also rate it M15+ and not PG.
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on December 14, 2000
THE OATH is about as close to the "horror" genre as Christian fiction gets. In the backwoods town of Hyde River, somewhere in the northwest, strange things are happening and people are disappearing. Steve Benson's brother falls victim and, when the death is chalked up to a bear attack, out of disbelief Steve begins to examine the evidence with more scrutiny. What he finds is utterly shocking. Hyde River has a secret. A secret that binds the town into what can only be described as an chilling pact with pure evil. And now that he knows what it is, he must be silenced.
Using graphic imagery that at times borders on shocking, Peretti unfolds a monsterously suspensful tale that will grip your heart till the very last page. The faint of heart may wish to pass this one over, but for those who love suspense this is a winner. It's a dark, forboding story, but in the end that darkness only makes the Light shine brighter. THE OATH gets five stars.
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Most of what I heard from Christian friends about this book were negative comments. We like things that make us feel good and anything that doesn't is to be avoided. That's true for Christians as well as non-Christians. We like our Christianity sugar-coated, water-downed, and full of warm-fuzzies. We like to put Jesus in our pocket and place him on the dash of our cars. Anytime something forces us to realize that God doesn't fit in the little box we made for Him it fills us with dread. Such is the case with Frank Peretti's THE OATH.
THE OATH is a book about the battle between good and evil, sin and salvation. Cliff Benson, a wildlife photographer, is grotesquely mauled to death while on a camping trip. His wife temporarily goes insane attacking the grill of a semi truck. Cliff's brother, Steve, is a wildlife scientist and begins investigating his brother's death. What appears to be an attack of a large rogue bear proves to be otherwise and what Steve uncovers will change not only his life, but the lives of all those he meets.
THE OATH is not a typical book of Christian fiction. There is some romance, but not the syrupy kind you'll find in Christian "romance" novels. There is talk of God and Jesus, but not enough to be preachy. The style of the book is different too. Peretti is a gifted writer and his books are usually filled with action. THE OATH has a great deal of action, but it is much more dark and sinister, like something out of a Stephen King novel. It is this dark tone that has frightened many would-be fans away. Yet, at the same time, this tone is the novel's most appealing aspect and has drawn many outside of the Christian faith to read the book. It's more than worth your time to read, but just don't expect of get any warm-fuzzies.
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on November 29, 1999
I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit, but it reminded me too much of the enjoyment I used to feel reading Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. I felt like I was sinning by reading it. I don't like being attracted to darkness, but I enjoyed Peretti's first two books, and the Prophet so much, that I thought I'd give it a try. It is not for the reader seeking only purity and light.
All that said, it was a good read, and very hard to put down. It showed that faith in God will help you with your sin problem, but I agree with some of the other reviews written here, that the Gospel wasn't really presented, and I felt that it should have been.
Lighten up a bit Mr Peretti. You are obviously very gifted, and I can see your childhood fascination with monsters evident in your work. I was the same way as a child, but I want to remember Phil 4:8 (KJV) "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
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