pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: Army of God by Dennis Bailey

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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Army of God by Dennis Bailey



One of the most beloved and enduring stories of all time . . .

One of the most recognizable characters in history . . .

A plot by a rival to kill Noah and his family is thwarted by a beautiful young woman, who joins them as they flee the ancient Biblical city of Eden. A year later, the Lord reveals His plan to destroy the earth by flood and commands Noah to build an ark. Only the news is met with scepticism and opposition from members of his own family. Eventually, word of the ark reaches Eden, prompting the rival to send an army of five thousand men to destroy it.

However, Noah has an army of his own.

Action, adventure, and suspense combine with the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark to create a heart-pounding page-turner that will stay with you long after the flood waters have receded.

"It is Noah's Ark meets Game of Thrones, unique and surprising." - Rowena Kuo, Award winning editor and publisher.

The Guru's Review: 

I love novels that deal with the Biblical flood and Noah's Ark. When I discovered Army of God by Dennis Bailey on Facebook, I knew I had to read this novel. Being a debut novel was also a bonus as I love encouraging new authors. I did this by offering to review this novel and having him as a guest blogger on this blog where he provided background to the novel, his reasons for writing it and more on this speculative plot line. 

The reviews so far are very encouraging, all 5 star. Now having read this, I agree with those reviewers. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Not just due to the biblical account and Bailey's depiction of it, which is imaginative, but specifically his inclusion of a unique speculative plotline, that the animals that God sent to be included in the Ark defend it against those whose seek to thwart Noah's attempt to build the Ark. I found this to be a brilliant idea and added to my decision that I had to read this novel to explore this concept. I then discovered that this was not just Bailey's idea, he discovered as he researched this novel, that this speculative element had been documented in the past. This evidence is found listed by the author at the end of the novel for those who want to investigate further. When he discovered this, he must have thought that "great minds think alike!" to quote a familiar idiom.

I do agree with him in relation to this speculative plot line that as he quotes in the guest post on my blog, 
Now I know what some of you purists are thinking, “How does a novel that purports to adhere to the Bible include as part of its storyline a premise about the animals defending the ark?” My answer is that just because it wasn’t recorded doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened. Lest we forget, Noah’s entire one hundred-plus year ordeal is condensed into four short chapters (Genesis 6-9) of Scripture. Undoubtedly, numerous details of events that occurred during this period were never documented, meaning that we must turn to other supplemental sources to fill in the blanks.
In this case, you may be surprised to learn that several ancient Hebrew texts reference a confrontation where a group of people trying to break into the ark were destroyed by the animals that surrounded it. And while the details of such a struggle are not recorded as part of the Biblical record, the Scriptures are rife with examples of how God called to service members of His animal kingdom. Students of the Bible will remember how He commanded armies of frogs, lice, and flies to afflict the Egyptians preceding the Exodus, shut the mouths of lions to spare His servant Daniel, and sent the great fish to keep Jonah from fleeing to Tarshish.
Now if the Lord could use those creatures, I didn’t consider it heresy to suggest that the animals identified in Genesis 6 could have been organized to form an army capable of protecting the ark.
Of course, all this is mere conjecture, offered as background to support the premise of a fictional story. On the other hand, I hope the reader will allow their imagination to consider the possibilities this story proposes, recognizing the awesome power of God and His ability to use the whole of His creation to help exercise His will.
I loved how Bailey has developed this in the plot. The biblical account just says that the animals arrived at the Ark obviously before the Flood. But Bailey has used some very clever poetic licence to show how and when these animals arrived and what they did before entering the Ark. I won't spoil it for readers of this review but Bailey's account of this adds strength and depth to the plot as well as keeping the reader engaged and curious to find out more.

The situation that develops where the animals defend the ark is a brilliant piece of writing and I was totally engrossed in this as it played out in my mind. So engrossed that I nearly missed my train stop on the way to work!! This same segment would make a great piece of movie making! The computer-generated imagery artists would have a great time creating this action sequence. However, this whole story would translate well into a movie if kept to the novel's storyline! It would definitely show how ridiculous the recent remake of the same movie starring Russel Crowe was and how the poetic licence used by Bailey does not detract from the Biblical record but actually promote it. I mentioned to the author about the animals defending the Ark segment and he agrees with me, it would translate well to the movie format!

To just have a novel outlining the story behind Noah and his construction of the Ark would possibly be a comprehensive and somewhat tedious read, but Bailey has not done this. This novel does not solely concentrate on the specifics of the Ark's construction, apart from the biblical description, but of the circumstances surrounding this. It includes the command from Yah (God) and His reasons for the destruction of the earth by a global flood, the evilness of mankind and His judgement of them via the Flood. To break up the narrative of Noah and his construction of the Ark, he has an alternating plot line showing the corruptness and evilness of mankind portrayed through the government leaders of Eden and that of Enoch (the city, not the son of Cain). Bailey switches from the storyline of Noah and the construction of the Ark to the leader of the city of Eden, Malluch, and his longtime friend and army commander, Shechem and their corruptness in making Eden the most prosperous fortified city with an invincible army. 

Obviously, Christians will feel endeared to Noah and his family, and Bailey is very good at the characterisations of these characters. He shines here too in how readers will feel sympathy and compassion for Shechem who doubts and questions the integrity of Malluch and his evil ways and rule. I expected Shechem to become reconciled to Yah in this novel or even to at least leave his post as Commander of the Eden Army and dissociate himself from Malluch. He showed more integrity than Malluch or Bohar. Towards the end of the novel, Bailey has Shechem considering the truth of what Noah has said about the coming Flood not being a myth and it is hinted that the faith in Yah from his youth may be the truth and for him to reconsider his relationship with Yah. Did he reconcile with Yah before he drowned? Bailey gives a hint but it is left up to the reader to determine. 

I feel most readers will despise Malluch and Bohar. I especially disliked Bohar and his behaviour towards women and the human race in general for that matter. The acceptance of this behaviour by Shechem and Malluch just shows that all these three were as corrupt as each other, and deceptive as well. Bailey uses this to show what level of evilness mankind had stooped to in their fallen state that caused Yah to pass judgement on mankind through the flood. 

While reading this novel, I was expecting Bailey to included two major controversial issues regarding Noah and the Ark. Most other novels I have read on this subject include on these two issues so I was expecting Bailey to do the same. The issues are: 

-when did it first rain, either before the Flood or at the Flood, 
-was the evilness of mankind the only reason God flooded the earth to eradicate him? 

I grew up in Church being taught that rain fell from the sky only at the time of the Flood due to the water vapour/firmament breaking and this provided the rain. Prior to this, there was a mist of water vapour that rose up from the earth that hydrated the vegetation as no rain had fallen at that stage. 

When I come up with issues like these two, I usually contact the author and ask him/her why they developed the novel like they did in relation to these issues. Nowadays with the Internet, it is easier to do so. I contacted Bailey today and asked him about the rain issue and he directed me to his blog where he outlines more of this and his reasoning on the issue and his research. It is very compelling. I reference them here: 


While reading this novel, I found this on my Facebook feed from Answers In Genesis which has similar and compelling details outlined by Bailey: 


I am now convinced that my teaching while growing up was incorrect. I applaud Bailey and others who use their investigative mind to provide the answers from logic and reason and reliable documentation to arrive at the truth of these not so clear details in the Bible and controversy initiated from Christians and non-Christians. In Bailey's case this is not just from his probing mind but as stated in his guest blogger post: 
Dennis Bailey is retired police detective, sex crimes investigator, and devoted researcher of the Word of God. His experience in the criminal justice system gives him a unique insight into the workings of the perverse criminal mind. Combined with his investigative and analytical skills, he uses this knowledge to search the Scriptures for personalities from which to create unforgettable characters and storylines.
The other issue relates to the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6:4
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, as well as later, when the sons of God slept with the daughters of other humans and had children by them. These children were famous long ago. Genesis 6:4 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) 
Many Christian apologetics and researchers believe Noah's lineage were unaffected genetically by the sons of God (fallen angels) having sexual relations with human women and this was another reason God chose Noah, as well as the fact he and his family found favour with God due to his integrity: 
9 These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.Genesis 6:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible 
There is no mention by Bailey of the Nephilim and what I have outlined above. As I continued to read, I found out why. Bailey has kept very close to the Biblical record in this story. As he states in the guest post on my blog,
It is an effort to bring to life the characters of Noah’s time in a suspense-filled, action-packed adventure while maintaining full fidelity to the Scriptures.
He is very successful at this in this novel. He also wanted to honour God by constructing his novel this way and that is definitely what the Christian reader picks up while reading this. 

The Bible does not state that the Nephilim issue was a specific reason for flooding the earth. Some apologists believe this is hinted at where the Bible says that he found favour with God and was blameless or faultless means his genes and those of his lineage were not tainted by the mixing of genes from the fallen angels through sexual relations.

I am very impressed with this novel, Bailey's construction of it and love his desire to honour the Scriptures and of course, God. I guess this just goes to show that doing it this way still means that a story can be told that is engaging, engrossing, entertaining and educates the reader in the ways of God while pointing the reader to Him. His use of poetic licence supports this while providing a solid cohesion to the plot line.

I find Army of God a very impressive debut novel and readers can expect much more from this author. He has a successful future as novelist and one who is devoted to serving God in this platform and be used to Him to expound on His Word and in His Ways. 

Highly Recommended. 

World building 5/5

Characters 5/5

Spiritual level 4/5

Story 5/5


Spiritual Enemy Level N/A

Average 4.5/5 but as a whole 5/5! 

If your interest in this novel has been piqued from reading this review and you would like to read more or buy this novel, please click on the PREVIEW or BUY icon on the image below:


3 comments:

  1. There is much not included in the Bible, and its wonderful to read extra's, it gives more credibility to the facts somehow.

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  2. I must admit this concept appeals to me. How did Noah manage to get all the animals on the ark anyway? I believe it was because God called and chose them. I also believe there was some kind of simple communication between Noah and the animals. Eve saw nothing unusual in conversing with the serpent. Balaam didn't freak out when his donkey spoke up.
    I'm not saying they were the same as the talking beasts of C S Lewis' Narnia Chronicles, but many things have been lost to us since the Fall, and God only put the fear of man into them after the flood.
    I bet there is a story behind each pair of beast kinds even before they entered the ark.
    Hope it sells well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree, Arthur! I am sure Dennis discovered this or similar in his research. Thanks for posting this comment!

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