Monday, September 15, 2008
Travis Thrasher's Isolation ~ Reviewed
By Travis Thrasher
Faith Words Publisher
Click here to read the first chapter.
James Miller is a burned-out missionary whose time on the mission field in Papua New Guinea left him exhausted and disillusioned. His wife, Stephanie, feels as if she's losing her mind. After moving to North Carolina, Stephanie begins seeing strange and frightening things: blood dripping down the walls, one of her children suffocating. Premonitions, she's sure of what's to come. As the visions and haunting images intensify, Stephanie asks her brother to come for a much-needed visit – but he's hiding secrets of his own that will prove far more destructive than Stephanie could ever imageine.
Nine-year-old Zachary sees his family's move as an adventure, and as he explores the new house, he discovers every young boy's dream: secret passageways and hidden rooms. But what seems exciting at first quickly becomes altogether frightening. When a snowstorm traps the Millers, the supernatural dangers of their new home test everything they thought they knew about each other, about God, and about their faith.
I read in an interview with Travis Thrasher, that he likes to write stories that are all character-driven - he says "I like to write about main characters who are flawed. At the core, I want to write about real people who are searching, who are failing, and who are stuck in some drama which forces them to change." That is the main case here. The topic of this book is spiritual warfare - something that Frank Peretti first brought to our awareness in his books. Travis takes it up a few notches for sure; almost too graphic for my taste in some parts. I have a friend who was a missionary for many years, and when I visited her, she would tell me of the spiritual battles that were so visible in Africia and the other places she stayed. When there is a spiritual strong-hold by the enemy (in an area), very crazy things happen because the enemy has been given permission to operate there.
Travis did research for this book and says some things were so graphic that they didn't make it into the book (I can't imagine what parts those were, because the few things he put in his book were graphics-overload for me). Travis says that the scariest things weren't graphic, but just the fact of being alone - isolated. Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean that you will always feel HIS presence, or know why He does the things He does, or hear God or understand His plan. His ways are definitely not our ways. It's easy for those who are on the front lines in ministry, who have see the dark side, to feel isolated and all alone. These are the things they can't teach you in a book. Travis says that when you let your guard down and don't rely on God, you're prone to attack. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. The main character feels alone - isolated. He can't explain what he has gone through and if he shares what he feels, people might think he's crazy. The story is about the forces of good and evil in an all-out battle.
Oh, to have that child-like faith! The missionary's only son believes. He has faith even when his parents are weaving in their faith and are disillusioned.This book is not for the faint of heart. If this were made into a movie, I would be putting my hands over my eyes to block out the graphic parts. It has a powerful message, but I would have liked less blood (I'm sure the missionarys in real life would have too!). This book makes you aware that the devil is alive and well, but God is too. We can be overcomers, but it takes work - nothing is easy. Travis Thrasher's next book is Ghost.
Book Club Servant Leader - ACFW Book Club Assistant