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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Me

    Marsuvees black is scary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2008

    outstandig book

    the action the villian its amazing. I could rarily put the book down its worth the money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Read this

    One of my fav dekker books. Not for faint of heart. Would be R if movie for violence. Marsuvees Black rips out a guys EYEBALLS in beginning. Very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Best Dekker Book

    Showdown is the best

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Something Wicked This Way Comes To Paradise!

    Along a dusty road, walks a stranger dressed in black. He's wearing a cowboy hat pulled down low over his eyes and aside from hearing his crunching of his boots on the gravel street, there isn't much else going on outside the town of Paradise.

    Sitting on the only bench outside of the town's drinking establishment, Cecil Marshall watches the stranger walk into town. The only other person sitting with him on that unseasonably hot summer day is a Johnny Drake.

    "Looks lost." Johnny says to Cecil, who merely nods his head towards Johnny. He can't speak since he's a mute some eighty-one years ago. He and Johnny alone are the only ones watching the man in black walk into town. Yet there is something there that tells them today is about to change in the lives of those living in Paradise, for better or worse remains unknown but Johnny and Cecil believe it to be worse. Is all hell about to break lose in Paradise?

    I received the novel Showdown by Ted Dekker, one of my all time favorite authors from my husband Steve for my birthday and honestly couldn't wait to find time to enjoy and savor the flavor of this book. Within the first chapter, you suddenly realize that once more Ted Dekker has masterfully captured the very essence of evil as it strolls into Paradise and with every page that turns after that brings you closer to what lies in store for the citizens of Paradise. Hands down another award winning book by Ted Dekker. This one rates 5 out of 5 stars with a word of caution. Read it with the lights on!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2010

    Incredible Story

    Showdown is an amazing book. You never know what is going to happen next because everything is too crazy to think up, unless you're TEd Dekker. He creates an amazing story with unique and realistic characters with wondeful imagry and crazy twists that excite and sometimes terrify. I recomend this book to anyone who thinks reading is broing, and to those who love a good thriller with insane plots and novels with a wondeful meaning to them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I really recommend this nice book.

    Yes, indeed there is none other who can mix together seuquences of romantic love in the field of religion, adrenaline-laced thrillers, and a literally...I mean, literally...extraordianry plot than Ted Dekker!the twists of this story are something else, and akin to every single other part therein--extraordinary. So I really recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING

    This book was such a great read, I highly recommend it. Ted Dekker is amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2008

    watch your back for Black!

    oh, man! the main villian in this book 'Marsuvees Black'is amazing. dekker's villians have always been my favorite elements of his stories, and he really outdid himself on this one. black is a wonderfully horrible person who will leave you remembering him long after you finish the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    Fanastic

    this is by far one of the best books i have ever read i got hooked to ted dekker books and now i cant put them down. they are suspensful and thriling the end will susprise you ted is an excellant writer and all of his books will keep you on the edge of your seat. this book will fly by and you wont be able to put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    Absolutely awesome...

    Dekker has done it again. A thriller with a plot so weird you can't possibly figure it out till the end. I recommend this to all Dekker fans. You can't put it down, believe me.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Terrific thriller

    Newly arrived in the isolated town of Paradise, Colorado, Marsuvees Black claims to be a preacher and says his car broke down two miles from town. He also insists that God sent him here to provide ¿grace and hope¿ to the lost residents. He can make dreams happen just ask Chris whose wart behind his ear is gone after the Preacher touched it. Very quickly, to the locals, the Preacher is God-sent. --- Nearby Harvard University sponsors an experiment at an isolated mountain Monastery. Thirty-seven gifted young teens are undergoing a special study to understand and determine what causes evil in mankind. It is the Monastery that actually has brought Marsuvees to the mountains of Colorado for some believe this monk is the perfect teacher of the chosen thirty-seven, but his lessons will be the ultimate test of good vs. evil. --- Though the ethics behind the experiment in the Monastery is bothersome and seems unacceptable by society standards, in concession there have been plenty of ¿tests¿ in the free world and not just Nazi Germany good and evil proves difficult to classify in the players. The two story lines keep building up the suspense as readers anticipate the moment that the Preacher enters the Monastery. At his best weaving Christian belief within a superb story line, Ted Dekker cleverly keeps adding to the intrigue while the audience expect a showdown between the forces of good and that of evil, but whose who remains the mystery until the climax and in some ways even after that. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2006

    ted dekker's greatest book yet

    this book was ted dekker's greatest novel. i would strongly recommend reading the circle triology first, as thomas of hunter is mentioned, and the main focus is the books of history. this was an extraordinary book, although i was a little sad that ted dekker once again did not use a girl as his main character. i liked the point of view from billy, johnny and samuel. once again dekker suprises you with the end you never thought possible. i strongly recommend this book, although if you are a younger reader, (under teen) a part in paradise with marsuvees black gets violent, although not any worse than the murder of justin in red.

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    Posted December 18, 2008

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    Posted December 18, 2008

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    Posted December 18, 2008

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    Posted January 21, 2009

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    Posted December 6, 2008

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    Posted July 14, 2009

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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