Saturday 22 July 2023

A Nefarious Plot - Steve Deace

A Nefarious Plot
Steve Deace
ISBN 9781682611524
eISBN 9781618688224

I Picked this up to give a read because so many people were raving about the movie. For those who might not be familiar there is currently a movie out called Nefarious, that Catholics and Christians have been raving about for a few months. Being a bibliophile, I always prefer to watch the movie after reading the book, and to be honest the trailers were pretty dark. It looks more like horror than I would normally watch these days. And I really, really wanted to like the book, … but 


First the description of the book is:

“Who has co-opted the American Dream? The Right? The Left? It may not be who you think it is.

Republican vs. Democrat

The Haves vs. the Have Nots

Left vs. Right

Us vs. Them

We believe these are the divisions that are threatening to tear America apart. But what if the culprit isn't a political ideology or a class of people but a puppet master? He's been manipulating us for centuries–and now he’s brought us to the brink of implosion.

It would take a special kind of sinister to hatch such a nefarious plot against our civilization. Who, or what, would be capable of such a conspiracy? All there is to go on is the cryptic

You’ll never guess my name.”

This story is in many ways one in a long line of attempts to update C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast. Both of which I greatly appreciated and read a number of times between 20 and 30 years ago. 

The Snakebite Letters – Peter Kreeft
Lord Foulgrin's Letters – Randy Alcorn
The Gargoyle Code - Fr Dwight Longenecker - Don Hawkings

Are a few I have read or at least looked at closely. I was underwhelmed with Kreeft’s offering. I did not make it through Alcorn’s. Longenecker’s has been on my list to get around to reading for years and keeps getting bumped down. And Hawkings was terrible. And for me this one really did not hit the mark. I nearly put it in the ‘did not finish’ pile a number of times. And to be honest I kept hoping it would turn that corner. And it just never did. When I was in university in the late 80’s and early 90’s Freak E. Peretti rose to great popularity with evangelical Christians and beyond. I loved This Present Darkness, and Piercing The Darkness and considered them spiritual warfare novels. Every time I read them my prayer life deepened. His volume Prophet blew me away. After reading The Oath, I described it as reading a Christianised Stephen King and that I felt slimed. The same sort of thing happened with Ted Dekker’s books. And for this one that is the overall feeling it left me with. It felt like I had been slimmed and there was no redemption or recovery. Now I know there is a second volume, A Nefarious Carol, but after my experience with this one I am not sure I would be willing to give it a try. And I am far less likely to give the movie a go. At the time of writing this review there are over 1500 reviews on the big A with an average of 4.8, Good reads has 699 ratings and an average of 4.3. I ended up giving it 3 because you can’t do 2.5.  

Reading this left me with no desire to read more books by Deace, even though many of his titles are intriguing. The description of the second volume is:

“The time has finally come. Confident America has been conquered, Satan prepares to initiate the final stage of his master plan, but it requires a willing partner—will she say yes?

Convinced his demon general Lord Nefarious has successfully conquered America, Satan himself now decides it’s time for him to step out of the shadows and complete his master plan. But for it to succeed, he must find a willing partner…

On the run, frightened, and alone, Rae is cornered one fateful night in a rundown motel room by the devil himself. He has a once-in-eternity offer for her—the chance to change the world forever. But to convince her to freely accept it, Satan needs to connect with Rae’s past, present, and future to prove to her he can be trusted after all. A showdown for the ages is officially on, and humanity hangs in the balance.”

From the description I cannot but help think about the film The Seventh Sign from 1988. This book is listed as 208 pages and to be honest it felt like a lot more. This modernization of Screwtape is obviously hitting home for many, both the book and movie. But for me, and I rarely say it, I truly wish I had not finished and had given up the first time I felt like it. So if you are reading it and it is working for you, by all means continue. But if it is not, put it aside. You won’t regret that decision.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Steve Deace:
Faucian Bargain
Faucian Booster
Rise of the Fourth Reich: Confronting COVID Fascism 
Do What You Believe 
Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again
Truth Bombs: Confronting the Lies Conservatives Believe
Why Thanksgiving?

Nefarious Books:
A Nefarious Carol

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