From the End of Heaven by Chris Stewart
We’ve reached the fifth book in The Great and Terrible series. Things have started to pick up. In this book we get evidence of how far the plan Prince Abdullah has carried out went. The plan goes further than anyone really knows and it’s been going on for years.
Our characters are all together now. Samuel, Azadeh, Ammon, and Luke are all together in Chicago. Luke was miraculously healed after a blessing from his older brother Samuel. Samuel separated from his army buddy, Bono, in order to find his family. The group is now with Mary Dupree and her little girl Kelly Beth, who also benefited from a blessing. Kelly Beth was dying of cancer only a few days before and now seems to be regaining her strength and health. They all know they have to leave the city, but the city has turned into a dangerous place. It seems chaos reigns and people are enforcing their own kinds of laws.
Bono left Little Rock, Arkansas in order to get to his family in Memphis. Along the way, he drinks some tainted water and gets very sick, very fast. A farmer happens to find him, but this farmer also happens to be a doctor. They take care of Bono for a day or two, but Bono must be on his way. He needs to see his wife and his daughter. They’re staying at his in-laws house. They have a farm.
Things on the farm are tough, but much more pleasant to deal with than what people in the cities are dealing with. They have food, but fear that people will come and take it. This does happen. People from Mexico drive all the way up to the farm and start slaughtering cows seemingly for no reason.
When the group in Chicago tries to leave, it seems that someone wants them very badly. It seems Lucifer has stuck his nose in it once again and has charged some very rough and evil people with hunting the family down. They narrowly escape when a government helicopter comes to take them away.
In the meantime, some nefarious people who have infiltrated the U.S. government have killed not only one presidential succession, but two. They’re looking for the next, but decide to go ahead and skip over him. They anoint a man president, who shouldn’t be president at all, at least not the way in which the law works. The plan is to nationalize everything. The U.S. is waiting to retaliate. Nothing is happening the way it should be happening. The man who should be president next is in hiding. He knows there are snakes in his government and he doesn’t know who to trust, but he has a plan. That plan involves the Brightons and their set of friends.
What I liked
The story really has picked up. The United States is in chaos. Things are very bad. It’s hard to determine what people would and wouldn’t do in a given situation, but you can bet things are very bad. The worst is coming out in people because their most basic necessities are gone. This story is about people trying to live through that. You have to admire the tenacity of some people. The characters in this book keep going on even when others would have given up. They keep their morals. They keep their faith. They keep their humanity.
There is a long-held belief among certain people that the government of the United States could be infiltrated by people who want to destroy the idea of freedom. It is kind of a belief that kicks around the Mormon faith on the fringes. People talk about it every once in a while, but it’s not this overly communicated idea. Chris has obviously heard of this idea. He knows about the little whispers. Chris brings something into this story he describes as “oaths.” Lucifer, as the old man in the series, is constantly getting Prince Abdullah, or some of his other cronies, to take oaths to him. They swear they will do such and such thing. They swear not only on their lives, but their souls.
The LDS faith calls these things “secret combinations.” Essentially, we’re talking about the blueprints to destroy society. The idea is that some people would sell themselves to the Devil himself in order to gain power, money, or fame, just whatever. They disregard all morality they once had. They completely let this darkness consume them in order to know these steps that will get them to their desired outcome. Maybe they’re evil the whole time, maybe they get in not realizing what they’re getting into, but by the time they realize it, they’re already in too deep to stop. They feel they could never be forgiven, so they just go on being terrible knowing it’s leading to their downfall.
I mention all of this because Chris did a very good job of turning this wisp of a fringe conspiracy theory into a working story. It’s something you might hear about, but you can’t ever imagine how such a thing would come to pass. Chris imagined it for us. He created a fictional United States that has been infiltrated by people who sold their souls to the Devil. Really when you think about it, how is that any different from some of these politicians ok’ing stuff like Bt corn and Posilac knowing it causes problems, but hey, they totally get kickbacks from these companies that make the stuff, so it’s all cool.
Our government, even though many consider it the greatest government in the world, is not immune to corruption. It is not immune to being thrown down. It is not immune to turning into a dictatorship. Chris illustrated this beautifully in this series. While everybody was going about their ordinary lives, no one was paying enough attention to the cancer that was growing in their country. Nobody watched. Hardly anybody noticed, and just look what happened. The people of a government are responsible for keeping it in line to an extent. The government is the serve the people, not the other way around. So if you go around in your bubble every day ignoring very important things, don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and the world is completely different.
What I didn’t like
I still want to punch Lucifer in the face.
Some parts of the story were honest and brutally so, but other parts weren’t exactly up to snuff. We’ve got to be a bit realistic here. If something like this happened, the cities would be big messes. You wouldn’t want to be living in a city, you would be running out into the countryside with all your might. There is nothing in the city for you if the electricity goes. People would run out of food in about two days, Chris seems to have extended this to about a week. That’s just not happening people. Most people who live in cities are poor. They don’t keep a lot of food in their homes. They’re lucky to have a day’s worth of food on hand, if that. Most people in the cities keep hardly anything in their homes because the grocery store is on the corner, why do they need to take up space in their tiny apartments for food?
The suburbs would be looted, sure. They really would. People would pour out of the cities and into the suburbs. Any backyard gardens or backyard chickens would all be destroyed within a matter of a couple of weeks or so. It’s the people who live way out in the country who would be the best off. They would have their gardens. They would be far enough away from major cities and roads that chances of the city folks wandering up to take their food would be pretty slim. I get the feeling that Bono’s in-laws house is way out there. There is no reason at all for someone from Mexico coming there to take food. Of course, in the story we do get that servants of Lucifer drove them there, but still, it’s illogical.
Lots of people would die really fast. Chris mentions this to an extent, but glosses over it for the most part. All the people in hospitals, all the people in nursing homes, they’re dead right off the bat. Traffic accidents, plane crashes, all dead. Lack of life-prolonging medications such as insulin or heart medication will put many more dead within a week, maybe two. Extreme violence and riots are going to kill even more people. Fires that are unstoppable, will kill even more. Starvation will be the most extended version of death in this scenario, but it too will kill people. My point in this is that, realistically, there would be a lot more death than Chris really lets on.
Again, things are heating up. The story goes on.
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