Monday, May 27, 2013

The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo - Book Review

The Judgment Stone, Robert Liparulo
What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?
Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with The Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals known as The Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.
Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.
By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.
Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him? 
In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

The Judgment Stone, by Robert Liparulo, is the 2nd book in the Immortal Files series, after The 13th Tribe (my review is here). It manages to take the thrills, ideas, questions, and energy of the first book and take it up a notch. 

Jagger Baird is coming to terms with the fact that he is an immortal.  As he and his wife, Beth, and son, Tyler, are beginning to get past the Tribe's attack on them, it all begins to happen again.  This time it begins when an archaeologist at the monastery/sacred site where they live discovers a piece of the original 10 Commandments, the ones Moses broke.  Touching the Stone lets a person see into the spiritual realm, with angels and demons all around us, and prayers in the form of beams of light showing a person's connection to God.  A wonderful discovery and treasure, it is quickly taken by yet another group of immortals, known as the Clan. 

Unlike the Tribe, the Clan has no wish to please God, end their lives, and get to Heaven.  They want to hurt and grieve God, and the Stone will allow their leader, Bale, a clear view of where he can do the most damage.  As the carnage begins, Jagger and Owen try to track the Clan and take back the Judgment (God) Stone.

Interspersed with this story thread is the story of Neveah and the rest of the Tribe as they try to kidnap Beth (again) in order to discover the secret to reconciling with God.  They begin an attack on the monastery, causing Beth, Tyler, and the monks to play a deadly game of hide and seek.

The characterization is great, particularly the contrast between Owen and Jagger.  Beth and Tyler form a solid spiritual backbone for Jagger to lean on.  Bale and the rest of the Clan are vividly described, and radiate pure evil.  The yearning for God and not-to-subtle spiritual message is drawn throughout the book.

The plot moves forward rapidly due to the non-stop action and Liparulo's writing style.  There are no long, boring paragraphs, and short chapters and jumps in viewpoint keep the reader constantly wanting more.

Liparulo brings the varying stories together in an explosive and exciting finish, with quite a few surprises and revelations along the way. Reminiscent of the classic novel This Present Darkness,  The Judgment Stone is well worth reading, and proves even more that Robert Liparulo not only writes great Christian thrillers, but great thrillers in general.  I'm looking forward to the next installment.

I received a review copy of this book through Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

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