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on August 1, 2000
I have read both these books, as well as some of Peretti's other books (Prophet, The Oath). Of them all, these two are the most definitive in Peretti's repertoire.
The thrust of the books is Spiritual Warfare, including both "the big picture," and how it affects individual people, and the power of prayer. The reader can see and listen to the people, demons, and angels, while the people in the story cannot see the spiritual battle going on around them, though it influences them and vice versa. In a nutshell, it brings home Eph. 6:12 ("We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but... against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.")
I would definitely NOT treat either as a textbook for spiritual warface, as they ARE fiction books, so some liberties are taken. But it is a good reminder that we don't see everything going on around us, and we need to be on our toes--after we've been down on our knees.
I would also not recommend the books to young readers as some parts may be scary, or the concept too overwhelming. But junior highers and up would be fine, though I'd be sure to talk with them before, during, and after they've read the book about "the reality" of spiritual warfare, and that it's not just a fictional concept.
The difference between the two? "This Present Darkness," focuses more on the actual people in the book, whereas the 2nd, "Piercing the Darkness," contains more footage on the spiritual side, to the point where many of the demons and angels could be considered main characters. So if you liked the first one, and yearned for more of the spiritual side, continue reading with the 2nd. But if you're like some who felt "This Present Darkness" more than adequately whet your appetite for the demon/angels, you may find the "Piercing the Darkness" to be a little over the top, though I'd still give it a chance.
Also, the titles reflect very accurately the contents. The first book alerts you to the spiritual warfare issue ("This Present Darkness") which we sometimes neglect, while the 2nd more actively has the characters doing something about it ("Piercing the Darkness").
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on November 11, 2000
Two of the best selling Christian novels in history, now combined. With This Present Darkness, Peretti broke onto the scene by graphically tearing back the veil between the human and the spirit world. Descending upon the small town of Ashton, angels, demons, and strongmen engage in a vivid battle and we, the reader, see it all unfold. Ever wonder what exactly a guardian angel actually may do? Here's one possible scenerio. While Peretti's theology on the subject may not be perfect (many of his ideas are pure speculation, but that's why it's "fiction"), he does most definatly give us a bold reason as to why prayer is so vital. Why prayer does, in fact, move mountains and can turn the tide in unseen spiritual battles that are taking place around us (as in the book of Daniel). Both of these books are fast paced and highly entertaining with a powerful theme. Before the Left Behind series, no other Christian novels were as widely read.
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on December 21, 1999
This book literally changed my life. It is entertaining both from a Christian and a secular perspective. But, imaging the battle raging in the spiritual realm has changed my prayer life forever. I first read the book in 1988 or 89 when it first came out, but I've read it at least a half dozen times since then. Once I get started reading I can't seem to put it down -- even though I know the ending. I finish the book feeling more positive than before. I rushed out to by the second book because I enjoyed the first book so much, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Before Frank Peretti I wasn't interested in "Christian fiction". I just didn't see the point. But, I love fiction and I love the Lord. It's wonderful to be able to read, enjoy what I'm reading and learn something all at the same time.
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on July 17, 2002
I read these books several years ago and the experience changed my prayer life and the way I look at the spiritual world. This may be a work of fiction but it also reinforced my faith in God and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I have more courage now because I know that through prayers I can always count on God'ss protection in whatever I do and wherever I go. Just the thought of the angels' swords blazing and them eager to fight away the evil spirits whenever I would say my prayers is a very comforting thought in a world full of unexpected dangers and temptations.
Aside from its effect on my spiritual growth and prayer life, these books are also very easy to read and can give readers hours of escape. I almost didn't put the books down while reading them and was really hooked until the last pages. But I was reading these books while looking after my grandmother after her eye operation and had to check on her often.
I recommend that you first read This Present Darkness to under the Piercing The Darkness better.
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on January 24, 2000
I just finished This Present Darkness and the book is fascinating. I can honestly say it opened my eyes to a lot of concepts I've never really thought of before. This book has made me view the activities of my life and the lives around me differently. I would recommened this book to anyone who is interested in stengthening their Christianity or who is just interested in finding out more about God and the POWER OF PRAYING. Like I said, it truly changed my life and I can't wait to read the rest of his books.
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on May 8, 2000
...This book was truly a blessing to me. It opens your eyes to the spiritual warfare going on all around us. If you are not a praying Christian, after reading these books you will be! The Bible tells us to pray always, and believe me you will know why when you are reading these books. I haven't been this excited about a book since I was a young child. While you are reading these books you will cry, get mad at the devil, be happy during victories, say a prayer for the characters, feel joy for the Angels in battle, and shout hallelujah at the end of the book. Pray for understanding when you are reading so you can get the message. After reading the first book in this set I didn't think the second book could get any better, I was truly amazed when the second book was better than the first! What a joy it was to read this book, I look forward to reading them again in the near future.
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on May 27, 1999
I'd read these books some time back, but, just the thought of the plot gives me goose pimples. All I can say is, WOW! Spectacular! Just what people need to put things into God's perspective, after all.
A friend of mine suggested that I read this book. I was skeptical at first; I mean, "Hey, yeah, right, angels battling with demons? C'mon ...!" But, as I got further into Peretti's captivating novels, it took no time to convince me of the spiritual battles me and thousands of other Chriatians the world over are facing right now. In spite of my (cynical) self, I was actually beginning to root on Marshall, Bernice, and the others in this "Anywhere, USA" town.
Yes, Jesus is Lord. And, the Biblical standards in which I and my church involvment adhere to is strove for daily. But Peretti writes with a gift perhaps none of us can fathom totally. Just enjoy his work. Appreciate it for what it is, and for which God has graced him with the jewel of storytelling.
I'm looking forward to a sequel to both Present and Piercing.
Next read - "The Visitation".
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on June 28, 2000
A very powerful book this is! Mr. Peretti's descriptions are bold and clear, and his strong dialogues flow from one page to the other as he takes us in a whirlwind of spiritual warfare. 'This Present Darkness' is a novel that's guaranteed to keep many a midnight flask burning. It's hard to explain how captivating this book really is, you have to read it for yourself. The story is set in the small town of Ashton, and its inhabitants are the target of an evil, spiritual kind: demons. They have one mission and that is to take over the entire town and bring new world order. Except for the prayers of a young pastor, his wife and a few firm believers of God, the others are prey to the clutches of evil, leading to demon-possessed lives. The action and description of the fight between good and evil spirits, the angels and demons, is solid, and covers detailed accounts that will keep you page turning and amazed! A must read!
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on February 1, 2015
I cannot say enough about these books. If you like to read, and read something that is not a Love Story, or a Suspense Thriller, but enjoy reading for the sheer pleasure of it, then this author is one to read. I am not going to go into the story, but to say I read this book for the first time back in the 80's, and when I gave them back to the person who loaned them to me, I didn't think much of it. 20 years later, I am Googling to find them, and thrilled when I learned I could get them from Amazon. This is a story, (and you have to read both books) that will stay in the back of your mind, and that you have to read them again. I have now read this story 5 times, and each time, I find something I didn't remember from the time before. Amazon, I cannot say Thank you enough for having them, as they are out of Print, and to You, Mr. Frank E. Peretti, Thank you for such a gripping and intense story, one that I have never forgotten, but enjoy time and time again.
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on August 24, 2000
My personal opinion stands that this was an excellent book. It was a great tale of good and evil with Christian themes. The only way it blessed me was that it reminded me that there is a God who loves me a whole stinkin' lot. But this book isn't for everyone...
I've noticed that this novel got either great reviews or horrible ones. I believe it's because people treated it more as concrete theology than a work of fiction. Wherever your beliefs stand concerning the spiritual realm, this book should not mold your way of thinking, nor should you treat it as a work of heresy. If you are closed minded and have extreme issues with others' ways of life. This book may not be for you.
Putiing all of the deeper meanings of the book aside, This Present Darkness was fairly written. It grabbed your attention from the first page. However, the ending I thought was rather anti-climatic. In addition, if you are a light reader, this book may not be for you as well. There are a lot of characters in the story and it to some, it may be confusing sorting them all out. My father didn't like the book because of this reason. Otherwise, the book was not too shabby.
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