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Showdown (Paradise Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Can the wound of original sin be suppressed?

"Showdown" is a Ted Dekker novel set within a non-sequential series called "The Books of History Chronicles." It is the story of a Harvard Professor, David Abraham, who has been commissioned to conduct an incredible experiment: together with twelve of the best faith-bas...
"Showdown" is a Ted Dekker novel set within a non-sequential series called "The Books of History Chronicles." It is the story of a Harvard Professor, David Abraham, who has been commissioned to conduct an incredible experiment: together with twelve of the best faith-based minds in world, raise thirty six orphans in a controlled environment void of any of the "evil" influences of the modern world. The question is, will children saturated in an environment of beauty, truth, and love shun the evil impulses within each of us as a result of our fallen natures through original sin? And if so, once released at the threshold of adulthood, would these young men and women have the interior strength and grace-filled spirits to transform the world?

In "Showdown", we see how a town called Paradise is impacted by the seemingly unrelated battle going on within this secluded project of innocent children (called "Project Showdown") who have now reached adolescence. The analogy of how the war in heaven impacts our lives on earth is excellent, and by weaving in elements (and even a character) from his Circle Trilogy, Dekker certainly will keep his fan-base happy. The question of whether truth (including sound reason/philosophy) necessarily leads to love is pondered throughout the story, and the more worldly arguments against are given room to play out as they do in our contemporary society today. There is a good message here; a person well-formed in Faith and morals is without question given a solid foundation to embark on a journey towards God. But unless that formation is imbued with love-not as the world defines it (laden with sentiment and emotion), but a self-sacrificing crucified love-all the "truth" in the universe, whether temporal or eternal, will not suffice.

Dekker has quite a gift for presenting "adrenaline-laced" thrillers which are modern day analogies of humanity's Salvation History. His stories are very creative and exciting (at times, I found I could not read quickly enough in the midst of intense scenes), yet what impresses me more is that Dekker is able to avoid the "predictability" of the plot; a reality common to Christian analogical stories. As well, Dekker avoids the over-sanitization of evil which often is found-understandably-in novels delineated as "Christian". It is the difficult challenge of a good Christian writer to portray the reality of evil in a manner which neither glorifies it nor uses it as a simplistic device to shock the reader; I feel Dekker navigates this tightrope well. (That being said, I would not recommend this book for kids under 16, and even then, would use discretion based on the maturity/impressionability of the youth -- evil is not as "comic-bookish" here as in the Circle Trilogy).

If I could offer one area of criticism (then seemingly contradict myself) it would be in relation to character development. Though I would not describe the characters in "Showdown" as one-dimensional, I do feel that, after completing the story, I only got to know them on a superficial level. That being said, this very well may have been a choice by the author; plunging into the inner-depths of a character generally slows a story down. As well, I think "Showdown", and perhaps all of Dekker's novels, are more about the story-the analogy-than the specific characters.

One final note: though the author claims you can read the "Paradise" novels in any order, I would suggest this one first (it is the earliest in t

posted by Corban-Storm on May 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Somewhat disappointing

This is the first Ted Dekker book I've read, and I was disappointed after all the good things I had heard about this author and his works. The story seemed contrived to me. The concept was intriguing, in fact, if you are a writer, you may find the concept very intrigu...
This is the first Ted Dekker book I've read, and I was disappointed after all the good things I had heard about this author and his works. The story seemed contrived to me. The concept was intriguing, in fact, if you are a writer, you may find the concept very intriguing. I'd like to see another author put a different spin on this concept I think it has a lot of potential. I know, vague review, but I just can't bring myself to give away the story. I will say this: I'll give Ted another chance sometime even though this disappointed me.

posted by Anonymous on November 9, 2007

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Can the wound of original sin be suppressed?

    "Showdown" is a Ted Dekker novel set within a non-sequential series called "The Books of History Chronicles." It is the story of a Harvard Professor, David Abraham, who has been commissioned to conduct an incredible experiment: together with twelve of the best faith-based minds in world, raise thirty six orphans in a controlled environment void of any of the "evil" influences of the modern world. The question is, will children saturated in an environment of beauty, truth, and love shun the evil impulses within each of us as a result of our fallen natures through original sin? And if so, once released at the threshold of adulthood, would these young men and women have the interior strength and grace-filled spirits to transform the world?

    In "Showdown", we see how a town called Paradise is impacted by the seemingly unrelated battle going on within this secluded project of innocent children (called "Project Showdown") who have now reached adolescence. The analogy of how the war in heaven impacts our lives on earth is excellent, and by weaving in elements (and even a character) from his Circle Trilogy, Dekker certainly will keep his fan-base happy. The question of whether truth (including sound reason/philosophy) necessarily leads to love is pondered throughout the story, and the more worldly arguments against are given room to play out as they do in our contemporary society today. There is a good message here; a person well-formed in Faith and morals is without question given a solid foundation to embark on a journey towards God. But unless that formation is imbued with love-not as the world defines it (laden with sentiment and emotion), but a self-sacrificing crucified love-all the "truth" in the universe, whether temporal or eternal, will not suffice.

    Dekker has quite a gift for presenting "adrenaline-laced" thrillers which are modern day analogies of humanity's Salvation History. His stories are very creative and exciting (at times, I found I could not read quickly enough in the midst of intense scenes), yet what impresses me more is that Dekker is able to avoid the "predictability" of the plot; a reality common to Christian analogical stories. As well, Dekker avoids the over-sanitization of evil which often is found-understandably-in novels delineated as "Christian". It is the difficult challenge of a good Christian writer to portray the reality of evil in a manner which neither glorifies it nor uses it as a simplistic device to shock the reader; I feel Dekker navigates this tightrope well. (That being said, I would not recommend this book for kids under 16, and even then, would use discretion based on the maturity/impressionability of the youth -- evil is not as "comic-bookish" here as in the Circle Trilogy).

    If I could offer one area of criticism (then seemingly contradict myself) it would be in relation to character development. Though I would not describe the characters in "Showdown" as one-dimensional, I do feel that, after completing the story, I only got to know them on a superficial level. That being said, this very well may have been a choice by the author; plunging into the inner-depths of a character generally slows a story down. As well, I think "Showdown", and perhaps all of Dekker's novels, are more about the story-the analogy-than the specific characters.

    One final note: though the author claims you can read the "Paradise" novels in any order, I would suggest this one first (it is the earliest in t

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Give Ted Dekker a Chance

    This is a surprising thriller that writes in a fast pace style which leads readers quickly to new developing storylines and plots. Very entertaining and a great read for thriller lovers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    A reviewer

    This was the first book by Ted Dekker I've ever read. I thought it was pretty good myself. It took me a while to fully grasp what his concept was. Over all I think this was a great book and I recommend it to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2013

    Awesome Story! I like the characters and the plot. Highly recom

    Awesome Story!

    I like the characters and the plot. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    if your going to read this also read the lost books....yes all 6

    if your going to read this also read the lost books....yes all 6. oh and black,red,and white and then you will get the whole story

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Showdown- Very interesting Story

    I usually read only Sci-fi related material but I saw this on the discount rack and thought I would give it a try. It was a very good read, action packed, suspenseful, with intersting characters and idea. The questions of when what is imagined becomes real and the "innocence" of youth are explored very well in the story. It puts a new twist on the saying "and a child will lead them"!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2009

    very good!

    i am 14 and heard about Ted Dekker by a friend. Showdown was beautifully written, at first i didn't really understand it, or the intelligence that came from the children, but i kept reading and came to love the story. A few things grossed me out, and i was shocked many times. You will gasp, jump, cry, and wish away everything if the little guy would just RUN AND GET HELP! Over all i think the book was very good and you should read it. This is the first Ted Dekker book i have read, but i dont plan on it being the last by far. i hope you read and enjoy this book, because i did!

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  • Posted December 5, 2008

    Close but no cigar!

    Ted Dekker is my favortie author, but this book did not do him justice. It was very creepy and sci-fi, which is not like him. A creepy man comes to town, some people love him, and some hate him. He's there for a big purpose that no one knows yet. The small town get turned upside down. He's a hero but yet he's a sinner with a dark secret that I never saw coming. It was suspenseful but not like House or Three. It took me a while to read it because it was hard to stay into. The beginning was excellent, the middle was boring, and the end was somewhat expected. Ted Dekker's writing style always entertains me because he goes back and forth between characters so we the reader can fully understand the situation and each character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    One of His Best...

    I really loved this book. It was full of suspense, horror, and even some biblical messages. Unfortunately, the book was pretty slow. It wasn't hard to put down, and I wasn't turning pages frantically, until the end. The characters are wonderfully developed, by the way. The ending was kind of reminiscent of HOUSE's end. (The white beams of light coming out of his face?) All in all a great book, though.

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