The Mark: The Beast Rules the World (Left Behind Series #8)

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2001 Christy Award finalist!
The international fiction series phenomenon continues. Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye pick up the exciting end-times saga where The Indwelling left off. The evil world leader Nicolae Carpathia officially takes his place as the Antichrist and begins his three-and-a-half year reign of terror over the earth. Technology provides the means to place the mark of the beast on every human, and the Trib Force scrambles to ...
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Overview

2001 Christy Award finalist!
The international fiction series phenomenon continues. Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye pick up the exciting end-times saga where The Indwelling left off. The evil world leader Nicolae Carpathia officially takes his place as the Antichrist and begins his three-and-a-half year reign of terror over the earth. Technology provides the means to place the mark of the beast on every human, and the Trib Force scrambles to survive. Tyndale House Publishers

The exciting eighth book in the Left Behind series has sold over 2.5 million copies in hardcover and is now available in trade paperback. With over 40 million products sold, the Left Behind series is an international phenomenon.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In the eighth installment of Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye's apocalyptic drama of "those left behind" at the Rapture, Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia returns from the dead with a satanic scheme to establish a reign of terror over the earth. With the technological means of domination at his disposal, Carpathia, now worshiped as a god, has instituted a worldwide mandate that all his subjects receive the mark of the beast -- a requirement to buy, sell, or trade in the new global economy. Believers who refuse to take the mark are forced underground -- or become martyrs. The Tribulation Force must race against the clock to outwit Carpathia...or else.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this eighth installment of the bestselling Left Behind series, Satan has taken full possession of Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia, who demands that all Global Community citizens bow to him in worship and take his mark on their foreheads or right hands. This spells trouble for the members of the Tribulation Force, who have pledged their unswerving allegiance to Christ. Without the mark of the beast, they face torturous persecution and death; several of their associates have become martyrs. Hiding in a bombed-out (but still posh and technologically enviable) Chicago office building, they depend upon a network of other Christians for food and supplies. The believers' public enemy status doesn't prevent the swashbuckling men among them from performing their usual task of rescuing helpless female believers. Armed only with phony IDs and Bond-like cell phones, they whisk around the world preaching how the Book of Revelation predicted every calamity that has befallen the planet. There are some worthwhile moments here, but the authors'' lazy exposition leads to scenes that don't ring true. When a Christian woman is killed by a supernatural lightning bolt and her fianc mourns that "no lightning bolt... could extinguish a love so pure," the sentiment falls flat; their love story has only been told, never shown, and the doomed woman''s character remains undeveloped. Fans who have thrilled to the series' repeated car chases, airplane runway escapes and glitzy technology will find more of the same. Others will earnestly pray for the hastening of the Glorious Appearing, which will bring the series to a close. (Nov. 14) Forecast: Tyndale's phenomenal success with The Indwelling, which debuted at the #1 spot on PW's hardcover fiction bestseller list on June 5, likely will be repeated with The Mark, although sales for the former benefited from a "whodunit" mystery that has no parallel in the new novel. Tyndale has planned a 2.5 million first printing. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In The Indwelling, the assassinated Nicolae Carpathia was resurrected after three days to prove his claim to his true believers that he is the returned Christ. But true Christians remember the Bible's warning that the Devil can take many forms. As Nicolae implements his plan to barcode his followers with both a visible tattoo and a hidden biochip, Christians come face to face with his "new" enforcer, the guillotine. Resistance to the Mark is fatal in body, but acceptance will kill the soul. Members of a Christian activist group, the Tribulation Force, start dying, a startling new development that forces David Hassid to abandon his post and leave an untried teenager named Chang Wong in his place. The "Left Behind" series has a heavyhanded approach to Christianity-Mark Mustian's The Return (LJ 4/1/00) offers a more believable End Times foretelling-but it still provides a thrilling "what if" scenario that will be devoured by readers. A necessary purchase for all collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780842332286
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2001
  • Series: Left Behind Series , #8
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Noted scriptural authority Tim LaHaye provides outlines for the vivid Biblical prophecies in the Left Behind series.

Best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins creates the dramatic stories for each fast-paced apocalyptic thriller.

Biography

Sometimes, while sitting on airplanes, evangelical preacher Tim LaHaye would ask himself, “What if the Rapture occurred on an airplane?" That germ of an idea grew into the phenomenally successful Left Behind series, which LaHaye coauthors with fiction writer Jerry B. Jenkins. The books combine Biblical prophecy with speculative fiction to produce an action-packed thriller about events between the Rapture, when (according to one Christian tradition) the faithful will ascend to heaven, and the Second Coming.

Before the series began, Jenkins had carved out a career writing other people's autobiographies -- he ghostwrote or co-wrote those of Billy Graham, Orel Herschiser, Hank Aaron, and Nolan Ryan, among others -- as well as writing novels and a few inspirational books on marriage and parenting. Tim LaHaye also wrote books on marriage and faith, served as the pastor for a ministry in California, and co-founded The Pre-Trib Research Center, a Bible scholarship group dedicated to the study of end-times prophecy. LaHaye spent several years searching for a coauthor who could take his vision of the earth's last days -- including that intriguing image of passengers vanishing from an airplane -- and spin it into fiction. Finally, LaHaye and Jenkins were introduced by their mutual literary agent at Alive Communications, and Jenkins began writing the story of airline captain Rayford Steele, whose wife and son vanish along with millions of other true believers. Those "left behind" on Earth have a last chance to choose sides in the ensuing battle between good and evil.

The books became a blockbuster hit. Sales of the Left Behind series soared with each successive volume, and by 2001, ABC News reported, 50 million had been sold. "The formula combines Tom Clancy-like suspense with touches of romance, high-tech flash and Biblical references," The New York Times wrote, explaining how its authors pulled off "an unparalleled achievement for an evangelical novel." LaHaye and Jenkins were stunned by their own success: "I've been writing for 40 years, with 12 million books in print, but I've never seen anything like this," said LaHaye.

The series has spawned a slew of spinoffs: comic books, calendars, a young adults' series, dramatized audio recordings and a movie based on the first book. It has also generated controversy, both within and without the Christian community, for issues ranging from politics (the U.N. figures into the story as a tool of the Antichrist) to Scriptural interpretation (many New Testament scholars reject LaHaye's belief, first popularized by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, in a seven-year tribulation period following the Rapture).

But LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that their message is getting through to their readers. They estimate that more than 2,000 people have converted as a result of reading the Left Behind books. "And needless to say, for us that's more important than bestsellers, or money, or anything else," says Jenkins.

Good To Know

Jerry Jenkins is also the writer of a syndicated comic strip, "Gil Thorp," which runs in 60 newspapers nationwide.
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    1. Hometown:
      Jerry B. Jenkins lives in Black Forest, Colorado
    1. Education:
      Tim LaHaye has a B.A., Bob Jones University; and a Doctorate of Ministries, Western Baptist Seminary
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


It was midafternoon in New Babylon, and David Hassid was frantic. Annie was nowhere in sight and he had heard nothing from her, yet he could barely turn his eyes from the gigantic screens in the palace courtyard. The image of the indefatigable Nicolae Carpathia, freshly risen from three days dead, filled the screen and crackled with energy. David believed if he was within reach of the man he could be electrocuted by some demonic charge.

    With the disappearance of his love fighting for his attention, David found himself drawn past the jumbo monitors and the guards and the crowds to the edge of the bier that had just hours before displayed the quite dead body of the king of the world.

    Should David be able to see evidence that the man was now indwelt by Satan himself? The body, the hair, the complexion, the look were the same. But an intensity, an air of restlessness and alertness, flowed from the eyes. Though he smiled and talked softly, it was as if Nicolae could barely contain the monster within. Controlled fury, violence delayed, revenge in abeyance played at the muscles in his neck and shoulders. David half expected him to burst from his suit and then from his very skin, exposed to the world as the repulsive serpent he was.

    David's attention was diverted briefly by someone next to Carpathia, and when he glanced back at the still ruggedly handsome face, he was not prepared to have caught the eye of the enemy of his soul. Nicolae knew him, of course, but the look, though it contained recognition, did not carry the usual acceptance and encouragement Davidwas used to. That very welcoming gaze had always unnerved him, yet he preferred it over this. For this was a transparent gaze that seemed to pass through David, which nearly moved him to step forward and confess his treachery and that of every comrade in the Tribulation Force.

    David reminded himself that not even Satan himself was omniscient, yet he found it difficult to accept that these eyes were not those of one who knew his every secret. He wanted to run but he dared not, and he was grateful when Nicolae turned back to the task at hand: his role as the object of the world's worship.

    David hurried back to his post, but someone had appropriated his golf cart, and he found himself peeved to where he wanted to pull rank. He flipped open his phone, had trouble finding his voice, but finally barked at the motor-pool supervisor, "I had better have a vehicle delivered within 120 seconds or someone is going to find his—"

    "An electric cart, sir?" the man said, his accent making David guess he was an Aussie.

    "Of course!"

    "They're scarce here, Director, but—"

    "They must be, because someone absconded with mine!"

    "But I was going to say that I would be happy to lend you mine, under the circumstances."

    "The circumstances?"

    "The resurrection, of course! Tell you the truth, Director Hassid, I'd love to get in line myself."

    "Just bring—"

    "You think I could do that, sir? I mean if I were in uniform? I know they've turned away civilians not inside the courtyard, and they're none too happy, but as an employee—"

    "I don't know! I need a cart and I need it now!"

    "Would you drive me to the venue before you go wherever it is you have to g—"

    "Yes! Now hurry!"

    "Are you thrilled or what, Director?"

    "What?"

    The man spoke slowly, condescendingly. "A-bout-the-res-ur-rec-tion!"

    "Are you in your vehicle?" David demanded.

    "Yes, sir."

    "That's what I'm thrilled about."

    The man was still talking when David hung up on him and called crowd control. "I'm looking for Annie Christopher," he said.

    "Sector?"

    "Five-three."

    "Sector 53 has been cleared, Director. She may have been reassigned or relieved."

    "If she were reassigned, you'd have it, no?"

    "Checking."

    The motor-pool chief appeared in his cart, beaming. David boarded, phone still to his ear. "Gonna see god," the man said.

    "Yeah," David said. "Just a minute."

    "Can you believe it? He's got to be god. Who else can he be? Saw it with my own two eyes, well, on TV anyway. Raised from the dead. I saw him dead, I know that. If I see him in person, there'll be no doubt now, will there? Eh?"

    David nodded, sticking a finger in his free ear.

    "I say no doubt, eh?"

    "No doubt!" David shouted. "Now give me a minute!"

    "Where we goin', sport?"

    David craned his neck to look at the man, incredulous that he was still speaking.

    "I say, where we going? Am I dropping you or you dropping me?"

    "I'm dropping you! Go where you want and get out!"

    "Sor-ry!"

    This wasn't how David normally treated people, even ignorant ones. But he had to hear whether Annie had been reassigned, and where. "Nothing," the crowd-control dispatcher on the phone told him.

    "Relieved then?" he said, relieved himself.

    "Likely. Nothing in our system on her."

    David thought of calling Medical Services but scolded himself for overreacting.

    Motor-pool Man deftly picked his way through the massive, dispersing crowd. At least most were dispersing. They looked shocked. Some were angry. They had waited hours to see the body, and now that Carpathia had arisen, they were not going to be able to see him, all because of where they happened to be in the throng.

    "This is as close as I hope to get in this thing then," the man said, skidding to a stop so abruptly that David had to catch himself. "You'll bring it back round then, eh, sir?"

    "Of course," David said, trying to gather himself to at least thank the man. As he slid into the driver's seat he said, "Been back to Australia since the reorganizing?"

    The man furrowed his brow and pointed at David, as if to reprimand him. "Man of your station ought to be able to tell the difference between an Aussie and a New Zealander."

    "My mistake," David said. "Thanks for the wheels."

    As he pulled away the man shouted, "'Course we're all proud citizens of the United Pacific States now anyway!"

    David tried to avoid eye contact with the many disgruntled mourners turned celebrants who tried to flag him, not for rides but for information. At times he was forced to brake to keep from running someone down, and the request was always the same. In one distinct accent or another, everyone wanted the same thing. "Any way we can still get in to see His Excellency?"

    "Can't help you," David said. "Move along, please. Official business."

    "Not fair! Wait all night and half the day in the blistering sun, and for what?"

    But others danced in the streets, making up songs and chants about Carpathia, their new god. David glanced again at the monstrous monitors where Carpathia was shown briefly touching hands as the last several thousand were herded through. To David's left, guards fought to block hopefuls from sneaking into the courtyard. "Line's closed!" they shouted over and over.

    On the screen, pilgrims swooned as they neared the bier, graced by Nicolae in his glory. Many crumbled from merely getting near him, waxing catatonic. Guards held them up to keep them moving, but when His Excellency himself spoke quietly to them and touched them, some passed out, deadweights in the guards' arms.

    Over Nicolae's cooing—"Good to see you. Thank you for coming. Bless you. Bless you."—David heard Leon Fortunato. "Worship your king," he said soothingly. "Bow before his majesty. Worship the Lord Nicolae, your god."

    Dissonance came from the guards stuck with the responsibility of moving the mass of quivering, jellied humanity, catching them as they collapsed in ecstasy. "Ridiculous!" they grumbled to each other, live mikes sending the cacophony of Fortunato, Carpathia, and the complainers to the ends of the PA system. "Keep moving. Come on now! There you go! Stand up! Move it along!"

    David finally reached sector 53, which was, as he had been told, deserted. The crowd-control gates had toppled, and the giant number placard had been trampled. David sat there, forearms resting on the cart's steering wheel. He shoved his uniform cap back on his head and felt the sting of the sun's UV rays. His hands looked like lobsters, and he knew he'd pay for his hours in the sun. But he could not find shade again until he found Annie.

    As crowds shuffled through and then around what had been her sector, David squinted at the ground, the asphalt shimmering. Besides the ice-cream and candy wrappers and drink cups that lay motionless in the windless heat was what appeared to be residue of medical supplies. He was about to step from the cart for a closer look when an elderly couple climbed aboard and asked to be driven to the airport shuttle area.

    "This is not a people mover," he said absently, having enough presence to remove the keys before leaving the vehicle.

    "How rude!" the woman said.

    "Come on," the man said.

    David marched to sector 53 and knelt, the heat sapping his energy. In the shadows of hundreds walking by, he examined the plastic empties of bandages, gauze, ointment, even tubing. Someone had been ministered to here. It didn't have to have been Annie. It could have been anyone. Still, he had to know. He made his way back to the cart, every seat but his now full.

    "Unless you need to go to Medical Services," he said, punching the number into his phone, "you're in the wrong cart."


* * *

In Chicago Rayford Steele found the Strong Building's ninth floor enough of a bonanza that he was able to push from his mind misgivings about Albie. The truth about his dark, little Middle Eastern friend would be tested soon enough. Albie was to ferry a fighter jet from Palwaukee to Kankakee, where Rayford would later pick him up in a Global Community helicopter.

    Besides discovering a room full of the latest desktop and minicomputers—still in their original packaging—Rayford found a small private sleeping room adjacent to a massive executive office. It was outfitted like a luxurious hotel room, and he rushed from floor to floor to find the same next to at least four offices on every level.

    "We have more amenities than we ever dreamed," he told the exhausted Tribulation Force. "Until we can blacken the windows, we'll have to get some of the beds into the corridors near the elevators where they can't be seen from the outside."

    "I thought no one ever came near here," Chloe said, Kenny sleeping in her lap and Buck dozing with his head on her shoulder.

    "Never know what satellite imaging shows," Rayford said. "We could be sleeping soundly while GC Security and Intelligence forces snap our pictures from the stratosphere."

    "Let me get these two to bed somewhere," she said, "before I collapse."

    "I've moved furniture in my day," Leah said, slowly rising. "Where are these beds and where do we put them?"

    "I wish I could help," Chaim said through clenched teeth, his jaw still wired shut.

    Rayford stopped him with a gesture. "If you're staying with us, sir, you answer to me. We need you and Buck as healthy as you can be."

    "And I need you alert for study," Tsion said. "You made me cram for enough exams. Now you' re in for the crash course of your life."

    Rayford, Chloe, Leah, and Tsion spent half an hour moving beds up the elevator to makeshift quarters in an inner corridor on the twenty-fifth floor. By the time Rayford gingerly boarded the chopper balanced precariously on what served as the new roof of the tower, everyone was asleep save Tsion. The rabbi seemed to gain a second wind, and Rayford wasn't sure why.

    Rayford left the instrument panel lights on and, of course, the outside lights off. He fired up the rotors but waited to lift off until his eyes had adjusted to the darkness. The copter had twenty feet of clearance on each side. Little was trickier—especially to a fixed-wing expert like Rayford—than the shifting currents inside what amounted to a cavernous smokestack. Rayford had seen choppers crash in wide-open spaces after merely hovering too long in one place. Mac McCullum had tried to explain the physics of it, but Rayford had not listened closely enough to grasp it. Something about the rotors sucking up air from beneath the craft, leaving it no buoyancy. By the time the pilot realized he was dropping through dead air of his own making, he had destroyed the equipment and often killed all on board.

    Rayford needed sleep as much as any of his charges, but he had to go get Albie. There was more to that too, of course. He could have called his friend and told him to lie low till the following evening. But Albie was new to the country and would have to fend for himself outside or bluff his way into a hotel. With Carpathia resurrected and the GC naturally on heightened alert, who knew how long he could pull off impersonating a GC officer?

    Anyway, Rayford had to know whether Albie was "with him or agin him," as his father used to say. He had been thrilled to see the mark of the believer on Albie's forehead, but much of what the man had done in the predawn hours confused Rayford and made him wonder. A wily, streetwise man like Albie—one who had provided so much at high risk to himself—would be the worst kind of opponent. Rayford worried that he had unwittingly led the Tribulation Force into the lair of the enemy.

    As the chopper rumbled through the shaft at the top of the tower, Rayford held his breath. He had carefully set the craft as close to the middle of the space as he could, allowing him to use one corner for his guide as he rose. If he kept the whirring blades equidistant from the walls in the one corner, he should be centered until free of the building.

    How vulnerable and conspicuous could a man feel? He imagined David Hassid having miscalculated, trusting old information, not realizing that the GC itself knew Chicago was safe—not off-limits due to radiation. Rayford himself had overheard Carpathia say he had not used radiation on the city, at least initially. He wondered if the GC had planted such information just to lure in the insurgents and have them where they wanted them—in one place for easy dispatch.

    With his helicopter free of the tower, Rayford still dared not engage the lights. He would stay low, hopefully beneath radar. He wanted to be invisible to satellite surveillance photography as well, but heat sensing had been so refined that the dark whirlybird would glow orange on a monitor.

    A chill ran up his back as he let his imagination run. Was he being followed by a half dozen craft just like his own? He wouldn't hear or see them. They could have waited nearby, even on the ground. How would he know?

    Since when did he manufacture trouble? There was enough real danger without concocting more.

    Rayford set the instrument panel lights at their lowest level and quickly saw he was off course. It was an easy fix, but so much for trusting his brain, even in a ship like this. Mac had once told him that piloting a helicopter was to flying a 747 as riding a bike was to driving a sport utility vehicle. From that Rayford assumed that he would do more work by the seat of his pants than by marrying himself to the instrument panel. But neither had he planned on flying blind over a deserted megalopolis in wee-hour blackness. He had to get to Kankakee, pick up Albie, and get back to the tower before sunup. He had not a minute to spare. The last thing he wanted was to be seen over a restricted area in broad daylight. Detected in the dead of night was one thing. He would take his chances, trust his instincts. But there would be no hiding under the sun, and he would die before he would lead anyone to the new safe house.


* * *

In New Babylon frustrated supplicants had formed a new line, several thousand long, outside the Global Community Palace. GC guards traversed the length of it, telling people that the resurrected potentate would have to leave the courtyard when he had finished greeting those who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    David detoured from his route to Medical Services to hear the response of the crowd. They did not move, did not disperse. The guards, their bullhorned messages ignored, finally stopped to listen. David, looking puzzled, pulled up behind one of the jeeps, and a guard shrugged as if as dumbfounded as Director Hassid. The guard with the loudspeaker said, "Suit yourselves, but this is an exercise in futility."

    "We have another idea!" shouted a man with a Hispanic accent.

    "I'm listening," the guard said, as the crowd near him quieted.

    "We will worship the statue!" he said, and hundreds in line cheered.

    "What did he say? What did he say?" The question raced down the line in both directions.

    "Did not Supreme Commander Fortunato say we should do that?" the man said.

    "Where are you from, my friend?" the guard asked, admiration in his voice.

    "Méjico!" the man shouted in his native tongue, and many with him exulted.

    "You have the heart of the toreador!" the guard said. "Let me check on it!"

    The news spread as the guard settled in his seat and talked into his phone. Suddenly he stood and gave the man a thumbs-up. "You have been cleared to worship the image of His Excellency, the risen potentate!"

    The crowd cheered.

    "In fact, your leaders consider it a capital idea!"

    The crowd sang and chanted, edging closer and closer to the courtyard.

    "Please maintain order!" the guard urged. "It will be more than an hour before you will be allowed in. But you will get your wish!"

    David shook his head as he executed a huge U-turn and headed to the courtyard. People along the way called out to him. "Is it true? May we at least worship the statue?"

    David ignored most of them, but when clusters moved in front of his speeding cart, he was forced to brake before slipping around them. Occasionally he nodded, to their delight. They ran to get in a line that already stretched more than a quarter mile. Would this day ever end?

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

One

It was midafternoon in New Babylon, and David Hassid was frantic. Annie was nowhere in sight and he had heard nothing from her, yet he could barely turn his eyes from the gigantic screens in the palace courtyard. The image of the indefatigable Nicolae Carpathia, freshly risen from three days dead, filled the screen and crackled with energy. David believed if he was within reach of the man he could be electrocuted by some demonic charge.

With the disappearance of his love fighting for his attention, David found himself drawn past the jumbo monitors and the guards and the crowds to the edge of the bier that had just hours before displayed the quite dead body of the king of the world.

Should David be able to see evidence that the man was now indwelt by Satan himself? The body, the hair, the complexion, the look were the same. But an intensity, an air of restlessness and alertness flowed from the eyes. Though he smiled and talked softly, it was as if Nicolae could barely contain the monster within. Controlled fury, violence delayed, revenge in abeyance played at the muscles in his neck and shoulders. David half expected him to burst from his suit and then from his very skin, exposed to the world as the repulsive serpent he was.

David's attention was diverted briefly by someone next to Carpathia, and when he glanced back at the still ruggedly handsome face, he was not prepared to have caught the eye of the enemy of his soul. Nicolae knew him, of course, but the look, though it contained recognition, did not carry the usual acceptance and encouragement David was used to. That very welcoming gaze had always unnerved him, yet he preferred it over this. For this was a transparent gaze that seemed to pass through David, which nearly moved him to step forward and confess his treachery and that of every comrade in the Tribulation Force.

David reminded himself that not even Satan himself was omniscient, yet he found it difficult to accept that these eyes were not those of one who knew his every secret. He wanted to run but he dared not, and he was grateful when Nicolae turned back to the task at hand: his role as the object of the world's worship.

David hurried back to his post, but someone had appropriated his golf cart, and he found himself peeved to where he wanted to pull rank. He flipped open his phone, had trouble finding his voice, but finally barked at the motor-pool supervisor, "I had better have a vehicle delivered within one hundred and twenty seconds or someone is going to find his—"

"An electric cart, sir?" the man said, his accent making David guess he was an Aussie.

"Of course!"

"They're scarce here, Director, but—"

"They must be, because someone absconded with mine!"

"But I was going to say that I would be happy to lend you mine, under the circumstances."

"The circumstances?"

"The resurrection, of course! Tell you the truth, Director Hassid, I'd love to get in line myself."

"Just bring—"

"You think I could do that, sir? I mean if I were in uniform? I know they've turned away civilians not inside the courtyard, and they're none too happy, but as an employee—"

"I don't know! I need a cart and I need it now!"

"Would you drive me to the venue before you go wherever it is you have to g—"

"Yes! Now hurry!"

"Are you thrilled or what, Director?"

"What?"

The man spoke slowly, condescendingly. "A-bout-the-res-ur-rec-tion!"

"Are you in your vehicle?" David demanded.

"Yes, sir."

"That's what I'm thrilled about."

The man was still talking when David hung up on him and called crowd control. "I'm looking for Annie Christopher," he said.

"Sector?"

"Five-three."

"Sector 53 has been cleared, Director. She may have been reassigned or relieved."

"If she were reassigned, you'd have it, no?"

"Checking."

The motor-pool chief appeared in his cart, beaming. David boarded, phone still to his ear. "Gonna see god," the man said.

"Yeah," David said. "Just a minute."

"Can you believe it? He's got to be god. Who else can he be? Saw it with my own two eyes, well, on TV anyway. Raised from the dead. I saw him dead, I know that. If I see him in person, there'll be no doubt now, will there? Eh?"

David nodded, sticking a finger in his free ear.

"I say no doubt, eh?"

"No doubt!" David shouted. "Now give me a minute!"

"Where we goin', sport?"

David craned his neck to look at the man, incredulous that he was still speaking.

"I say, where we going? Am I dropping you or you dropping me?"

"I'm dropping you! Go where you want and get out!"

"Sor-ry!"

This wasn't how David normally treated people, even ignorant ones. But he had to hear whether Annie had been reassigned, and where. "Nothing," the crowd-control dispatcher on the phone told him.

"Relieved then?" he said, relieved himself.

"Likely. Nothing in our system on her."

David thought of calling Medical Services but scolded himself for overreacting.

Motor-pool man deftly picked his way through the massive, dispersing crowd. At least most were dispersing. They looked shocked. Some were angry. They had waited hours to see the body, and now that Carpathia had arisen, they were not going to be able to see him, all because of where they happened to be in the throng.

"This is as close as I hope to get in this thing then," the man said, skidding to a stop so abruptly that David had to catch himself. "You'll bring it back round then, eh, sir?"

"Of course," David said, trying to gather himself to at least thank the man. As he slid into the driver's seat he said, "Been back to Australia since the reorganizing?"

The man furrowed his brow and pointed at David, as if to reprimand him. "Man of your station ought to be able to tell the difference between an Aussie and a New Zealander."

"My mistake," David said. "Thanks for the wheels."

As he pulled away the man shouted, "'Course we're all proud citizens of the United Pacific States now anyway!"

David tried to avoid eye contact with the many disgruntled mourners turned celebrants who tried to flag him, not for rides but for information. At times he was forced to brake to keep from running someone down, and the request was always the same. In one distinct accent or another, everyone wanted the same thing. "Any way we can still get in to see His Excellency?"

"Can't help you," David said. "Move along, please. Official business."

"Not fair! Wait all night and half the day in the blistering sun, and for what?"

But others danced in the streets, making up songs and chants about Carpathia, their new god. David glanced again at the monstrous monitors where Carpathia was shown briefly touching hands as the last several thousand were herded through. To David's left, guards fought to block hopefuls from sneaking into the courtyard. "Line's closed!" they shouted over and over.

On the screen, pilgrims swooned as they neared the bier, graced by Nicolae in his glory. Many crumbled from merely getting near him, waxing catatonic. Guards held them up to keep them moving, but when His Excellency himself spoke quietly to them and touched them, some passed out, deadweights in the guards' arms.

Over Nicolae's cooing—"Good to see you. Thank you for coming. Bless you. Bless you."—David heard Leon Fortunato: "Worship your king," he said soothingly. "Bow before his majesty. Worship the Lord Nicolae, your god."

Dissonance came from the guards stuck with the responsibility of moving the mass of quivering, jellied humanity, catching them as they collapsed in ecstasy. "Ridiculous!" they grumbled to each other, live mikes sending the cacophony of Fortunato, Carpathia, and the complainers to the ends of the PA system. "Keep moving. Come on now! There you go! Stand up! Move it along!"

David finally reached sector 53, which was, as he had been told, deserted. The crowd-control gates had toppled, and the giant number placard had been trampled. David sat there, forearms resting on the cart's steering wheel. He shoved his uniform cap back on his head and felt the sting of the sun's UV rays. His hands looked like lobsters, and he knew he'd pay for his hours in the sun. But he could not find shade again until he found Annie.

As crowds shuffled through and then around what had been her sector, David squinted at the ground, the asphalt shimmering. Besides the ice cream and candy wrappers and drink cups that lay motionless in the windless heat was what appeared to be residue of medical supplies. He was about to step from the cart for a closer look when an elderly couple climbed aboard and asked to be driven to the airport shuttle area.

"This is not a people mover," he said absently, having enough presence to remove the keys before leaving the vehicle.

"How rude!" the woman said.

"Come on," the man said.

David marched to sector 53 and knelt, the heat sapping his energy. In the shadows of hundreds walking by, he examined the plastic empties of bandages, gauze, ointment, even tubing. Someone had been ministered to here. It didn't have to have been Annie. It could have been anyone. Still, he had to know. He made his way back to the cart, every seat but his now full.

"Unless you need to go to Medical Services," he said, punching the number into his phone, "you're in the wrong cart."

————————————————————————————————————————

In Chicago Rayford Steele found the Strong Building's ninth floor enough of a bonanza that he was able to push from his mind misgivings about Albie. The truth about his dark, little Middle Eastern friend would be tested soon enough. Albie was to ferry a fighter jet from Palwaukee to Kankakee, where Rayford would later pick him up in a Global Community helicopter.

Besides discovering a room full of the latest desktop and minicomputers—still in their original packaging—Rayford found a small private sleeping room adjacent to a massive executive office. It was outfitted like a luxurious hotel room, and he rushed from floor to floor to find the same next to at least four offices on every level.

"We have more amenities than we ever dreamed," he told the exhausted Tribulation Force. "Until we can blacken the windows, we'll have to get some of the beds into the corridors near the elevators where they can't be seen from the outside."

"I thought no one ever came near here," Chloe said, Kenny sleeping in her lap and Buck dozing with his head on her shoulder.

"Never know what satellite imaging shows," Rayford said. "We could be sleeping soundly while GC Security and Intelligence forces snap our pictures from the stratosphere."

"Let me get these two to bed somewhere," she said, "before I collapse."

"I've moved furniture in my day," Leah said, slowly rising. "Where are these beds and where do we put them?"

"I wish I could help," Chaim said through clenched teeth, his jaw still wired shut.

Rayford stopped him with a gesture. "If you're staying with us, sir, you answer to me. We need you and Buck as healthy as you can be."

"And I need you alert for study," Tsion said. "You made me cram for enough exams. Now you're in for the crash course of your life."

Rayford, Chloe, Leah, and Tsion spent half an hour moving beds up the elevator to makeshift quarters in an inner corridor on the twenty-fifth floor. By the time Rayford gingerly boarded the chopper balanced precariously on what served as the new roof of the tower, everyone was asleep save Tsion. The rabbi seemed to gain a second wind, and Rayford wasn't sure why.

Rayford left the instrument panel lights off and, of course, the outside lights. He fired up the rotors but waited to lift off until his eyes had adjusted to the darkness. The copter had but ten feet of clearance on each side. Little was trickier—especially to a fixed-wing expert like Rayford—than the shifting currents inside what amounted to a cavernous smokestack. Rayford had seen choppers crash in wide-open spaces after merely hovering too long in one place. Mac McCullum had tried to explain the physics of it, but Rayford had not listened closely enough to grasp it. Something about the rotors sucking up air from beneath the craft, leaving it no buoyancy. By the time the pilot realized he was dropping through dead air of his own making, he had destroyed the equipment and often killed all on board.

Rayford needed sleep as much as any of his charges, but he had to go get Albie. There was more to that too, of course. He could have called his friend and told him to lie low till the following evening. But Albie was new to the country and would have to fend for himself outside or bluff his way into a hotel. With what had happened in New Babylon, who knew how long he could pull off his ruse?.

Anyway, Rayford had to know whether Albie was with him or agin him, as his father used to say. He had been thrilled to see the mark of the believer on Albie's forehead, but much of what the man had done in the predawn hours confused Rayford and made him wonder. A wily, streetwise man like Albie—one who had provided so much at high risk to himself—would be the worst kind of opponent. Rayford worried that he had unwittingly led the Tribulation Force into the lair of the enemy.

As the chopper rumbled through the shaft at the top of the tower, Rayford held his breath. He had carefully set the craft as close to the middle of the space as he could, allowing him to use one corner for his guide as he rose. If he kept the whirring blades equidistant from the walls in the one corner, he should be centered until free of the building.

How vulnerable and conspicuous could a man feel? He imagined David Hassid having miscalculated, trusting old information, not realizing that the GC itself knew Chicago was safe—not off-limits due to radiation. Rayford himself had overheard Carpathia say he had not used radiation on the city, at least initially. He wondered if the GC had planted such information just to lure in the insurgents and have them where they wanted them—in one place for easy dispatch.

With his helicopter free of the tower, Rayford still dared not engage the lights. He would stay low, hopefully beneath radar. He wanted to be invisible to satellite surveillance photography as well, but heat sensing had been so refined that the dark whirlybird would glow orange on a monitor.

A chill ran up his back as he let his imagination run. Was he being followed by a half dozen craft just like his own? He wouldn't hear or see them. They could have waited nearby, even on the ground. How would he know?

Since when did he manufacture trouble? There was enough real danger without concocting more.

Rayford set the instrument panel lights at their lowest level and quickly saw he was off course. It was an easy fix, but so much for trusting his brain, even in a ship like this. Mac had once told him that piloting a helicopter was to flying a 747 as riding a bike was to driving a sport utility vehicle. From that Rayford assumed that he would do more work by the seat of his pants than by marrying himself to the instrument panel. But neither had he planned on flying blind over a deserted megalopolis in wee-hour blackness. He had to get to Kankakee, pick up Albie, and get back to the tower before sunup. He had not a minute to spare. The last thing he wanted was to be seen over a restricted area in broad daylight. Detected in the dead of night was one thing. He would take his chances, trust his instincts. But there would be no hiding under the sun, and he would die before he would lead anyone to the new safe house.

————————————————————————————————————————

In New Babylon frustrated supplicants had formed a new line, several thousand long, outside the Global Community Palace. GC guards traversed the length of it, telling people that the resurrected potentate would have to leave the courtyard when he had finished greeting those who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

David detoured from his route to Medical Services to hear the response of the crowd. They did not move, did not disperse. The guards, their bullhorned messages ignored, finally stopped to listen. David, looking puzzled, pulled up behind one of the jeeps, and a guard shrugged as if as dumbfounded as Director Hassid. The guard with the loudspeaker said, "Suit yourselves, but this is an exercise in futility."

"We have another idea!" shouted a man with a Hispanic accent.

"I'm listening," the guard said, as the crowd near him quieted.

"We will worship the statue!" he said, and hundreds in line cheered.

"What did he say? What did he say?" The question raced down the line in both directions.

"Did not Supreme Commander Fortunato say we should do that?" the man said.

"Where are you from, my friend?" the guard asked, admiration in his voice.

"Méjico!" the man shouted in his native tongue, and many with him exulted.

"You have the heart of the toreador!" the guard said. "Let me check on it!"

The news spread as the guard settled in his seat and talked into his phone. Suddenly he stood and gave the man a thumbs-up. "You have been cleared to worship the image of His Excellency, the risen potentate!"

The crowd cheered.

"In fact, your leaders consider it a capital idea!"

The crowd sang and chanted, edging closer and closer to the courtyard.

"Please maintain order!" the guard urged. "It will be more than an hour before you will be allowed in. But you will get your wish!"

David shook his head as he executed a huge U-turn and headed to the courtyard. People along the way called out to him. "Is it true? May we at least worship the statue?"

David ignored most of them, but when clusters moved in front of his speeding cart, he was forced to brake before slipping around them. Occasionally he nodded, to their delight. They ran to get in a line that already stretched more than a quarter mile. Would this day ever end?

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Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 224 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Make A Decision - Which Way To Die: Beheading Or Eternally?

    Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in their book "The Mark" Book Eight in the Left Behind series published by Tyndale House Publishers tells us The Beast Rules the World.

    The Bible Book of Revelation tells us, "telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:14-17 NKJV)

    Nicolae, the antichrist, had previously been assassinated but was brought back to life by the devil himself. Nicolae is tightening his grip over the planet erecting statues of himself and demanding that people worship it. He also demands that the people receive a mark that will allow them to do business. Once a person has received the mark they are aligned with the devil and will be going to hell when he is finally sent there. Without this mark a person cannot go anywhere without being questioned, detained and eventually led to the guillotine. "The Mark" leads the reader to the moment where they would have to make a decision on what direction they would take, receive the mark and have no hope of Heaven or not receive it and possibly face the guillotine. It is enough to chill the blood and the scenes in this book will affect you emotionally.

    Dr. LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins provide a fictional background for the real events that the final book of The Bible, Revelation, speak about: the end times. The Biblical accuracy in"The Markt" is flawless and the story is a page turning thriller. There are wonderful themes: salvation, faith in what you cannot see and who is in charge despite appearances to the contrary. I do not recommend starting this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down. Mr. Jenkins is an excellent writer and knows how to twist your nerve endings as he tightens the suspense. I am looking forward to book nine in this series.

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I own this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Exciting Series

    Despite a brief introductory summary at the beginning of each of the books in the Left Behind series, it is not the same as reading each previous book. The Mark as a continuation was excellent. Personally, I am not an avid reader... this fiction series is captivating and keeps the reader eager to find out what will happen next. The plot is biblical, so it keeps the reader interested in continuing to the next of the series. The Mark was, if not better, as good as its 7 prior books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2006

    Good Book

    The book was Ok. At times there are parts that are confusing but I'm glad I spent my money on it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2004

    The Mark- Decisions...

    This book, even though fiction, really grips you and you don't want to put it down until you're finished!! Fantastic Book!! I am a believer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2003

    The Mark: Which one will you take?

    The Mark is great compaired to the Indwelling. I like the Indwelling just not one of my favorites. The Mark has some tragety in it with people being maytered. But I liked it so well I couldn't put it down but by the tim you are reading this I should be on Armgeddon. They take for ever to post these so I changed my review of several books just because I did'n think I would get put on so if you read other reviews I did only Pay attention to the first one I did on that book. Which Mark will you take?: The Beast, or The Seal of God. I have read books 1-9 and I'm on #10 . Go Get These Books you might even get saved if your a non-christian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2003

    LEAVES YOU HUNGRY FOR MORE....

    I have never read a series of books, let alone 1 book that has intreged me as much as these books do. The authors are genius. They incorporate good fiction with suttle teachings from the Bible. Everytime I read one of there books, I feel that much closer to the purpose the writers are trying to accomplish. It has been an enjoyable way for me to learn God's message. I haven't met a person yet who has not just been glued to these books as I have. Hats off guys!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2002

    Not in Years have I read a book so riveting

    If you have studied the Biblical endtimes or not, this will give clerity to the concept, put in novel-style, it's a pleasure to learn of these prophetic facts. I became engrossed in the believable lives of the charactors in the story. I Want more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2002

    Outstanding!

    These books just keep getting better and better! Almost the best one yet!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2001

    If you love LEFT BEHIND...

    If you love LEFT BEHIND, let me suggest you check out THE CHRIST CLONE TRILOGY by James BeauSeigneur. TCCT is another great series on the end times but it is written from a completely different point of view. The Antichrist character is totally believeable and you will find yourself cheering for him despite yourself. Only when you get to the third book in the series does everything become clear. The books are IN HIS IMAGE, BIRTH OF AN AGE, and ACTS OF GOD.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2001

    understanding God word

    I read all the books of the left behind series and I have a better understanding of Revelations, can't wait for book 9.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2001

    OUTSTANDING

    These books are very captivating. Once you read any one of the series, it will be very hard not to run out and get the rest. Each book leaves you wanting more and more.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2001

    The turning Point

    I felt that this book lays the foundation for the other books to follow in this series. The saints are now facing survival in a society that restricts buying and selling without the mark. I have to say that I do not want to live in that period of history. I thought it was interesting how the guillotines were refered to as 'loyalty inforcement facillators'. all in all a good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2001

    *Truly Left A Mark*

    They just keep getting better! Where is # 9? These books helped me to better understand the Bible. (Revelations) I can't beleive how many people I know or meet that are reading these books and have the same opinion as myself. Liatti

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2001

    Book of Revelations Clarified

    I have read all eight in three weeks. As I finish one I pick up the next and continue uninterupted. The authors have put the writings of John in perspective. Finally, a new genre in the field of literature. Cannot wait for the next in the series. I know at some point the story will have to end, and I am not looking forward to seeing an end to this series. Just wish it could go on. It has been food for my soul.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2001

    My Review

    I think all the Left Behind books are great. They help to see the Bible coming true. This helps people to realize and understand one of the most difficult books of the Bible, while also telling a great story about survival.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2001

    Good, Very good

    In all the Left Behind series this is the most climactic book of them all. If you think the violence in the other books was bad, wait until you read this! The prison scene was especially riveting. Nicolae Carpathia is at his worst, being indwelt, and employs guillitines to enforce the taking of the mark. If you take the mark, you live. If not....This is a very good book. The only thing wrong with this series is the wait in between books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2001

    The Story Just Gets Better

    In the story we can see that in some of the books that it tends to get a little boring at times. In this newest edition it continues the story at a faster pace it would seem. Keeping you at the edge of your seat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2001

    Wonderful Christian Reading

    This book, the eighth in the series, starts right where the Indwelling left off. Continuing with the story of those left behind, this book has many twists and turns and excitement packed into the 400 pages. It is definitely a page turner- I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2001

    Fantastic Series

    I have listened to The Mark in audio form. It is almost too real when listening to it on my car radio driving to and from work. At times I break out in a sweat at what I am hearing almost as though it was a news account of the happenings. It is very well done! I can't wait for the next volume to become available!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2001

    Drama and Action Packed 'The Mark'

    Personally, I am not a Christian and I do not study the Bible. So I was taken by surprise when one day at work, on break, I seen the Left Behind book and leafed through it. I was hooked. I have read every book in the series and have my collection of these books. This book 'The Mark' has to be my favorite to date. It was action packed. It pulled at my heart strings. It made me laugh. It made me smile. I have become so attached to the characters in these books that I can feel the pain, happiness, and grief they go through. This book is truely a wonderful, inspiring book.. along with the rest of the series. If you are not hooked, pick up Left Behind, and you will not be able to get enough of it... whether you are Christian or not. I am now fasinated with the Bible and am in the process of self-study.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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