What follows is one of the most beautifully written and thoughtful reviews I have ever had. Peter Younghusband, of Australia, is one of the best reviewers I’ve had the pleasure to meet and to have review my work. He fully appreciates and understands how this God-inspired work will hopefully inspire others to seek Him. I gladly proclaim Peter as a brother in Christ.
This sequel has been highly anticipated and I am so glad has finally here! It was such a joy to read Bruecke to Heaven again in preparation for this. I would suggest anyone do this as this second novel follows so well from the previous. After its cliffhanger ending, you are instantly immersed in the continuing events of the Tron family and other characters.
If any reader considers that Julia, Rebecca, Peter, Marik, Berg, Arktos, Jacob, Anna, Jean Paul, Albert, have been through enough, well, Tron does not let them off lightly in this novel. In fact, everything is upped and intensified. The darkness of the demonic forces is wrapped around them tighter than in the previous novel and they are further challenged in their faith and relationship with God. But God is faithful and they are strengthened by God’s intervention in direct and indirect ways. Their bruecke (bridge) to heaven remains intact and is even strengthened further.
Tron sets up five plots arcs running concurrently. There is Arktos, Peter, Marik, Berg, Galack, Jakob and Anna on one quest, while Jean Paul and Albert on another. Julia, her daughters and the rest of the Vaudois community are still surviving in the upper levels of the mountains deciding to train and send out evangelists with the Word. We have Dabria and Lucier on their spiritual quest and later in the novel, Lucier is mandated to continue on his own then we have a new character, a hermit and his she-wolf, Lukos, tending to the physical and spiritual needs of a character from the first novel that readers will have to guess his identity until this is revealed later in the novel. This plagued me until I worked it out and was pleasantly surprised!. All these plot arcs deepen the mystery and suspense, action and adventure and totally absorb you. In each of the arcs, you wonder what is going to happen next. You become more endeared to these characters and share their emotions with them as if you are there.
Speaking of Lukos, the she-wolf, Tron has her as a side plot and if read just on its own, he proves himself as a competent author of animal fiction. This was one of the many highlights of this novel. I loved Lukos and the relationship she had with her master, the hermit, and as the novel progressed, with the one that the hermit was healing back to health. Lukos plays an important role throughout this novel and she becomes just another of the many characters that you become endeared to. Tron has developed this animal and her recognition of the spiritual and human realm very well without coming across as if Lukos is more than an animal.
This novel is so much more infused with spiritual aspects and the Spirit of God than the previous. When I read of the spiritual warfare that Tron portrays here, it is surreal in the sense that we do not experience it in real life to this extent but it does show that it is attainable and available to us now as it has always been. Tron simply shows that it is due to having a pure heart towards God, in submission and trust in Him alone. But more importantly, through the Tron family characters, namely Arktos, Jakob, Jean Paul, Tron shows such a simple and proven way to do this and that is to live out our faith, exercise it if you will. It is just as the Word says,
“22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. [James 1:22-25 New King James Version (NKJV)]”
Another aspect that Tron shows in this spiritual warfare is that these same characters do not rely on their own strength but on God and God alone, and He responds not just by His power, but by His Spirit in many signs and wonders and the infilling and flow of His Presence and Power when they are in prayer, seeking His guidance and direction or when involved in attacks from the many forms of the demonic. Another aspect that supports this is when Arktos admits that he has placed all his hope in an artefact (glowing stone) infused with spiritual power and is surprised when God does not use it when Arktos commands the stone to express its power upon his command.
“He continued to pray something would change or at least give them a sign, for he had put all his hopes on this stone providing them with the power to slay as many of the Viscount’s guard as possible, yet nothing happened.
It was then, as the last thought had passed, like a cloud overhead, when he realised his error.
Puting his hopes in the stone…..and not God.
He had once again been putting his faith in something other than God the Father. He asked for forgiveness, knowing too well the scriptures that warned of such foolishness, the multitudes who awaited Moses descent from the mount were proof of that.”
And once he had accepted God’s forgiveness, God acted on Arktos’s plan and delivered them from their adversary.
Tron delivers this with enough action and adventure, suspense and thrills while being extremely entertaining and does not detract from the lessons of spiritual warfare he wants to deliver in this narrative. I pray that readers will not compartmentalize these, leaving them in the confines of this novel and character traits but realise that this is how we need to be living.
When I look at the various forms of the demonic that the various members of the Tron family were confronted with, it all boils down to this same factor mentioned above, being submitted to God, trusting in Him and obedient to His Word, practising a lifestyle of prayer, being doers of the Word by living out their faith and applying the principles that God has structured the Bible in how to live. And yet there are specific principles used for each to defeat this evil and its perpetrators throughout this novel and its predecessor such as:
-quoting specific Bible (verses) appropriate to the situation at hand,
-putting on the Armour of God (Ephesians 6: 10-20),
-singing songs based on the Psalms and others while under the Anointing of the Spirit (as Jakob did),
-playing musical instruments (again as Jakob did with the Lyra while under the anointing of the Spirit).
-walking in the Spirit. Physically as well as spiritually. Many examples of this through Jakob, Arktos, Jean Paul, Lucier. However, the most noted are Jakob and Arktos. They both had overcome their human frailty, their fears and looked past their physical senses. They acted solely in total obedience to God’s prompting and guidance.
Tron is very competent at describing and showing what this demonic looks like as the reader experiences all the evilness that accompanies it. His description is not short, shallow or implied. It is in your face, and explicit. It is shown through Shamus, and Pope Lucius III, the former being possessed by the spirit of a fallen angel, Semyaza, while the latter is oppressed by the demonic and fueled by his own greed and pride.
Shining through all this as well as its predecessor is the Sovereignty of God. Tron is encouraging us to consider this in every aspect of our lives as we live out His Word. God is Sovereign and any outcome is His if we are living according to His precepts and direction and are in His will. He has everything under control despite our wavering faith, sense of hopelessness, or our finite vision (not physical only) that is incapable of seeing the whole picture of our circumstances and its future. Just as in our lives, God will not leave nor forsake us and when He gives us a quest, mission or task, He will not allow the enemy to thwart our attempts. Tron has portrayed this truth almost as if all these Biblical principles are fabricated as part of a purely fantasy novel.
After reading both novels this is the impressions I have experienced:
-I have been entertained immensely,
-My faith and relationship with God has been strengthened and uplifted,
-Tron has not deviated from established Biblical doctrine, and his content will not, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine,
-He writing and content honours God and portrays God as He is from the many character traits outlined in the Bible (Deliverer, Provider, Redeemer, Sovereign, Healer, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience, Warrior, Conqueror,
-His writing does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels, man, animals) but of the Creator (God) instead.
-it promotes the power and practice of prayer as a lifestyle and to an unadulterated relationship with God
Christians know the power of the Word and of the Spirit in transforming the spirit of unregenerate man. Tron shows this very powerfully in the conversion of Lucier. It is one of the most descriptive conversions I have read for a while. Then seeing him have a heart after God reminds me very much of the Psalmist, David, including Lucier’s Godly remorse at his adultery and how he dealt with this spiritually. His remorse is tender, sincere, heartfelt and it is tangible as you read it. It is not directed at himself but at God and it reminded me so much like David the Psalmist felt when he wrote to God in Psalm 51:4,
“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”
It struck me as how it should be and needs to be whenever a Christian falls into sin, no matter what type.
Julia’s reaction to Lucier’s confession is just as tender, sincere and heartfelt. Both of their reactions to this sin is devoid of any of the usual human emotions we experience today that can become stumbling blocks to being restored to God. But then again, this situation described by Tron shows the work of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of these two and their submission and obedience to Him.
I have not singled out this situation as the only time such reactions towards human shortcomings and sin are in these novels. It is an example that shows how we can have such a humble, tender, submitted and pure relationship with God when we fall to sin or allow our humanness to take over. It is described by Tron as not idealistic or unrealistic. It resonated with me and was very relatable. And so it should be to all who read this novel.
Once this novel took off after the first chapter, I was totally absorbed and on the edge of my seat, figuratively speaking, and I was exhausted many times throughout. Despite the frustration of having to stop reading to either return from lunch or to and from work, this was a blessing as it gave me time to reflect on the spiritual side of the many topics that uplifted me, encouraged me to know Jesus better and to have a tender heart towards Him. I must confess, the relationship Tron described between the Vaudois characters towards each other and them towards God, convicted me and I found myself having some conversations with God regarding this.
There is definitely the power and presence of God in this novel. I said similar in my review of Bruecke to Heaven:
“I knew when I read the description of this book that I would be blessed and that this book is unique and special. This book has not let me down. I finished this speechless due to being in awe of everything related to it. Truly, this book is inspired by God and many times, I could feel His presence with me. I have had that with only a few books. I will never forget this book. It really does have a profound effect on how you see God and how you have experienced Him. It has made me want more of Him and a desire to increase my faith and always be in His will.”
I can apply the same here in this novel.
When I finished this novel, I posted this on Facebook and Goodreads,
“Words cannot express how brilliant, how powerful, how epic, how divinely inspired this novel is! It is definitely the most spirit-filled novel I have ever read.”
I said that the first novel, Bruecke to Heaven, was special and unique, but now this novel takes it to the next level and this series is so unique, so special, it has impacted me like no other novel! Spiritually uplifting like no other Christian novel has!
This is one highly impressive novel. But then if it reflects the power of God, His Word and the character of God, then we can expect nothing less!
Truly, an unforgettable novel and one that has impacted me like no other, together with its predecessor, Bruecke to Heaven.