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Showdown (Paradise Series, Book 1) (The Books of History Chronicles) Hardcover – January 3, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Paradise Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dekker's readers will recognize many of his mainstays: mysterious forces causing havoc, characters who may or may not be what they seem and open, faith-based questions about the very nature of reality. In this page-turner, the residents of Paradise, Colo. (a one-saloon town in the mountains), encounter Marsuvees Black, a purported preacher who claims God sent him to bring "grace and hope" to their town. Meanwhile, at a nearby nondenominational Christian monastery, monks fret over a rebellion among the gifted children in their care. Dekker (Thr3e; Blink) impressively paces the novel, maximizing suspense and intrigue by solving the novel's myriad mysteries at the exact point readers will likely be guessing at them. For example, it will dawn on readers by the middle of the story that a certain type of connection must exist between the monastery and the town. Dekker rewards that discovery by explaining the connection, but still leaves enough questions open to keep readers sleuthing to the end. While there are gory scenes and small problems with the story (especially the implausible, unethical circumstances under which the students at the monastery have been procured and studied), Dekker delivers his signature exploration of good and evil in the context of a genuine thriller that could further enlarge his already sizable audience. (Feb. 10)
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About the Author

Ted Dekker is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 25 novels. He is known for stories that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil. He lives in Texas with his wife and children. Twitter @TedDekker, facebook.com/#!/teddekker
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595540059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595540058
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ted Dekker is a total "hit or miss" with me. I began my foray into his work with Thr3e and literally could not finish the book. But, assured by a friend I trusted, I gave him another shot and picked up Black. I was not disappointed. The day I finished Black, I got Red and the day I finished Red, I began White. I absolutely loved The Circle Trilogy, so you can imagine my eagerness when I discovered Showdown, which is roughly a continuation of the Trilogy, centering around the mysterious Books of History which bring written words into real life.

Showdown begins with promise, builds weakly, and putters to a pathetic end. Is there any action in Showdown? Plenty, I suppose. Actually, Showdown is a fairly gory and violent story. I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of maybe 15. If it were to be made into a movie as written, it would be rated "R", "PG-13" at the least.

The story is about a tiny, isolated town in Colorado. It literally has one grocery store, one church, one beauty shop, and once had a movie theater. The town of Paradise (such an awfully cliche' name, all things considered) has a population of about 400, but we only really get the feeling that it's populated by about twenty. The remaining population are only briefly referenced a few times, which skews the feel of the story, in my opinion.

The opening scene is pretty good, actually. Johnny Drake, a boy of about fourteen, is sitting with his old (very old) friend Cecil as a stranger decked out in what can only be described as a gunslinger's getup from a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, strides into town on foot. Marsuvees Black is an outlaw prophet come to Paradise to bring the sleeping residents a message of "grace and hope" and to shake things up a little.
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Format: Hardcover
Into the small town of Paradise, Colorado comes a stranger clothed in black. Calling himself Marsuvees Black, the man claims to be there to bring hope and love. But strange things are happening while Marsuvees in there. People are seeing things, acting different: as if everyone's attitude in the formerly quiet town has shifted toward anger, hatred, and paranoia.. Johnny Drake, a boy in the town, knows that something is terribly wrong, but doesn't know how to stop it.

At a hidden monastery near Paradise, a secret school for children is disrupted as a young student named Billy explores the forbidden tunnels underneath. He has found a dangerous secret there, and through Billy, a number of the other students have also been lured down into the tunnels. While Billy doesn't truly understand what he discovered, he will change the lives of a whole town and begin an almost unimaginable series of events.. It will be a showdown between good and evil- as only Ted Dekker can write it.

One thing when reading a book by Ted Dekker is that you can never expect exactly what you'll read. He has a habit of making the unthinkable seem plausible, along with giving a totally new perspective As usual, I devoured this newest book in one evening, barely able to sleep after I'd finished. The book was great! Finally understanding the connection between Billy, the Blank Books, and what happened to Thomas Hunter in the Black Forest (from The Circle Trilogy) was an added bonus. Showdown is a must-read for everyone who has loved Ted Dekker's books.
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Format: Hardcover
I totally agree with an earlier reviewer who said they loved "The Circle Trilogy" but wouldn't recommend anyone waste their time reading "Showdown".

I disagree with other reviewers in that I personally am glad that Dekker is trying to push the limits a bit on Christian fiction -- probably freaking out some people with his imagery (pulling out eyes, worm excretions) in the process -- but ultimately and unfortunately I dont think he pulled it off well in this book. Maybe it was lack of character development, maybe it was the illogical way the characters acted, maybe the ridiculous Thomas the Cop episode should have been entirely redone or omitted.

Also a negative for me is that the Christian analogy that he was working up to was just way too thin. Most readers will be familiar with the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from another book (albeit a non-fiction one), so in that case it's TOO EASY to see whats coming in the end of "Showdown".

Not much entertaining or inspiring here.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Paradise series is an extension of the Circle series, so naturally I was expecting good story telling in a series that has mostly thrived. However, the story starts off decent, and begins on a decline that continues to the very end of the series. From virtually the beginning, Dekker delivers unrealistic situations and unbelievable dialog and interaction that makes the book difficult to enjoy. It may work for simple minded reading that will not make you think, but it felt like he was trying to create something bigger than simple and it disappointed. As a fan of Dekker and the Circle series, this was a disappointing addition the Book of Histories saga.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read several of Dekker's novels, I can honestly say that this complete train-wreck of a story is hands-down the worst of his that I have read so far. It boggles my mind that anyone, even the most slobbering Dekker fanatic, could enjoy this incomprehensible mess. Still, there are a lot of five-star reviews out there, so if you're thinking about buying "Showdown", take the following quiz.

1)A mysterious preacher has just come to your town claiming to be a man of God. He has been implicated in the death of an elderly resident, and has admitted putting an hallucinogenic drug into the town's water system. Since his arrival, the town has been blasted for days by a freak sand storm, and now you're having nightmares in which the preacher urges you to impale your spouse with a wooden stake. Do you conclude:

A)This guy is the spawn of Satan!
B)I don't know who he is, but he's causing trouble; better call the state police.
C)I kinda dig the name "Marsuvees". Sounds like a man of God to me!

2) You have just found a set of ancient objects with the power to grant your every wish. Do you use it to:

A) Solve world hunger and cure cancer.
B) Fulfill all your selfish desires.
C) Lock a bunch of orphans in a monastery and use them as guinea pigs in a bizarre socio-spiritual experiment in the name of "love".

3) While exploring a mysterious cavern, you encounter a passage crawling with giant worms. The worms are excreting a mucous-like substance that smells like dirty socks. What is your reaction?

A) You turn pale and become physically sick.
B) You flee in shrieking terror.
C) You decide to scoop up some of their excrement and eat it.
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