The Oath Book Review

In 1986, Frank Peretti launched his magnum opus. Taking a serious look at spiritual warfare, demonic forces and the power of prayer, This Present Darkness was a worldwide commercial success. Not only did it fly off Christian store bookshelves, but it also sold very well in secular bookstores. Since then, Peretti has released other bestsellers like The House, Prophet, and Illusion (don't read that one). However, there is one that stands above all the others that seems to be the most dark, the most serious, the most thought provoking and the most exciting. That novel is The Oath.

Set in a fictional town in Washington State, we begin with a woman named Evelyn running through the woods. She's bloody, scratched up, praying fervently and scared out of her freaking mind. After she attacks a semi-truck out of sheer terror, she gets taken to a hospital. Her brother-in-law, Cliff Benson, hears what's happened to her and rushes to the hospital. Evelyn doesn't remember what happened to her, but she does remember that some wild animal attacked her and her husband. From that point on, Cliff is bent on finding the beast that took his brother. As he begins to ask questions around the town, he begins to notice that a strange aura of fear and secrecy hangs around its inhabitants. He knows that they're hiding something, but he just doesn't know what. That is, until the town religious nut, Levi, tells him of a dark deal and a dangerous oath. Cliff doesn't believe him, but when he starts to snoop around, he begins to suspect something... otherworldly.

The story is kind of what Steven King would write if he were a Christian, except with a lot better payoff. Frank Peretti's novels are full of great supernatural mysteries, tense moments you swear are from a horror movie screenplay, relatable heroes, and actually detestable villains. I know I've complained about how Christian movies have bad villains and that's usually true for Christian media in general. However, The Oath has some of the most despicable slime-bags since the gangsters in The Crow. And, even though they don't say anything really bad, you get to dislike them for their heartless actions and how self-absorbed they are. This just proves that actions really do speak louder than words.

However, you can argue that the bad people in this book are not even the real villains. In this story, Peretti shines a spiritual truth. That is that sin is a destructive, selfish force that is the villain in and of all of us. I mention the themes more than I do the characters because, while the characters do still drive this story, it's the themes that you really focus on. And, surprisingly, they're really good themes. If you're a Christian, you can really appreciate the spiritual reality that shines through. If you're not, at least it'll get you thinking a bit.

Synopsis: This is one of the greatest books I've ever read. It's intense, satisfying and thought-provoking. It'll really challenge you to look at sin for what it is. And, that's actually the point; I've often heard my grandmother saying that Peretti novels show the ugly truth of spiritual evil. They show that the devil is not someone to be messed with and sin shouldn't be taken lightly. If you're a Christian, again, this will challenge you to think. If you're not, you'll still enjoy this book. Definitely check it out.

Score: 10/10

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