Showdown (Paradise Series #1)

Showdown (Paradise Series #1)

by Ted Dekker


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Welcome to Paradise.

Epic battles of good and evil are happening all around us.

Today that battle comes to town with the sound of lone footsteps clacking down the blacktop on a hot, lazy summer afternoon. The black-cloaked man arrives in the sleepy town of Paradise and manages to become the talk of the town within the hour. Bearing the power to grant any unfulfilled dream, he is irresistible.

Seems like bliss . . . but is it?
Or is hell about to break loose in Paradise?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595546135
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Series: Books of History Chronicles Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 159,821
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories packed with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. He is the best-selling author of The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, and White), Blink of An Eye, Heaven’s Wager, When Heaven Weeps, and Thunder of Heaven and the co-author of Blessed Child and A Man Called Blessed. Raised in the jungles of Indonesia, Ted now lives in Texas with his wife and children.

Read an Excerpt


"HOW MANY children?" Marsuvees Black asked, examining his fingernails.

Strange behavior for a man interviewing for such a lofty position.

"Thirty-seven," David said. "And they may be only thirteen or fourteen years old, but I wouldn't call them children. They are students, yes, but most of them already have the intelligence of a postgraduate. Believe me, you've never met anyone like them."

Black settled back in the tall leather chair and pressed his thumbs and fingers together to form a triangle. He sighed. The monk from the Nevada desert was a strange one, to be sure. But David Abraham, director of the monastery's project, had to admit that genius was often accompanied by eccentric behavior.

"Thirty-seven special children who could one day change humanity's understanding of the world," Black said. "I think I could pull myself from my desert solitude for such a noble task. Wouldn't you agree? God knows I've been in solitude for three years now."

"You'll have to take that up with God," David said. "With or without you, our project will one day change the world. I can guarantee you that."

"Then why do you need me? You're aware of my"--he hesitated--"that I'm not exactly your typical monk."

"Naturally. I would say you're hardly a monk at all. You've spent a few years atoning for rather gratuitous sins, and for that I think you possess a unique appreciation for our struggle with evil."

"What makes you think I've beaten my demons?"

"Have you?"

"Do we ever?"

"Yes, we do," David said.

"If any man has truly beaten his demons, I have. But the struggle isn't over. There are new battles every day. I don't know why you need a conflicted man like me."

David thought a moment. "I don't need you. But God might. I think he does."

Black raised an eyebrow. "No one knows, you say? No one at all?"

"Only the few who must."

"And the project is sponsored by Harvard University?"

"That is correct."

David had spent months narrowing his search for the right teacher to fill the vacant post. Marsuvees Black brought certain risks, but the job was his if he chose to take the vow of secrecy and sequester himself in the Colorado mountains with them for the next four years.

The monk stared at his fingernail again. Scratched at it. A soft smile crossed his face.

"I'll let you know," he said.

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Showdown [With Headphones] 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Corban-Storm More than 1 year ago
"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
Ferris_Bueller-is-my-hero More than 1 year ago
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.
DominiqueVega More than 1 year ago
Although it was darker than I would have liked, I did enjoy this book. Dekker wrote very well!... There's a reason he's so highly acclaimed!!! This story itself had much intrigue and was very much a page turner. Since this is my first Dekker book, I'm not positive on how I feel about the whole series but I finished this one last night and bought Saint today. Knowing this isn't a girly story, I did miss the romance but was glad there were still parts that touched the heart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the first book by Dekkar that I read. I hurried to get another, expecting another absorbing story. This one is just too weird for me. Not intriguing in my opinion. Could be, but no likable characters. I want to read imaginative authors that can write something besides drugs, sex, ugly language, etc., but this one is just too offbeat to be interesting. After the first several chapters, I just couldn't finish it. I am still trying to talk myself into giving it another chance, but I don't look forward to forcing myself to read it!
bbnetman More than 1 year ago
Something about the cover gave me high hopes for this book. I bought this in hardback at the same time I bought "Comes A Horseman" (by Robert Liparulo and great book). I tried to get into Showdown, I tried really hard. It just was not meant to be. The book is boring and lacks any kind of feeling that you get when you are reading a good novel. The main villain is ok at first but eventual you are sitting there wishing he would just conquer all and end the story already. The children and the plot are just ridiculous. Oh, did I mention the slime? yeah, it has slime in it. I give myself credit for finishing it but at the same time it hurts to think I did and what a waste of time. but it happens. Some people that have reviewed this book actually liked it. A matter of taste. A taste for slime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
debs4jc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is Ted Dekker getting too bizarre and full of blood and gore? I really liked his earlier books but this one kind of threw me for a loop. Basically there is this town in an isolated part of Colorado called Paradise. A wierd dude shows up and starts claiming to be a prophet of some sort--a prophet who does some stage tricks and then somehow has the whole town convinced to let go of their inhibitions and give into their obsessions. So one townsperson is gorging herself on food--but that's mild compared to some of the others who are sharpening stakes to use as intruments and generally destroying the town or each other. Meanwhile there is this monastary of sorts outside of the town where there are these children who have been part of an experiment to see what happens to kids raised in a controlled environment with no contact from the outside world. One of the kids discovers some tunnels under the monastary filled with all sorts of disgusting things and also a library full of books. He is drawn to the forbiddeness of the tunnels and pretty soon has the entire school in a revolution against the teachers and order. Somehow these two are related, and many more bizarre things happen along the way.For me this book was filled with too much unexplained violence and some of the supernatural events that drove the plot along were too bizarre for me to stomach. So if you like that sort of thing give this one a try, but otherwise it may not be for you.
CoreyHolst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephen King at his best........Oh, Wait.... Ted Dekker, sorry Ted. It was strange, original, and deeply twisted. If you like Stephen King, you'll love Showdown. The goodreeads tag says Paradise #1, but don't let that disuade you, it still has an ending. It leaves room for more, but doesn't leave you dangling like some. Somethings I could see coming, others I could not, but I did enjoy that twisted sort of way.
Eskypades on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Showdown was a good read, albeit definitely not as good as the Dekker¿s Circle Trilogy. In my opinion, Dekker has a pretty good grasp on the art of allegory. In Showdown, you have the classic struggle of good versus evil, but Dekker has a way of mixing it up a little bit. The story centers around two locations mysteriously interwoven ¿ a town called Paradise (oddly enough) where a man named Marsuvees Black decidedly shakes things up quite a bit and a monastery in the mountains where a special project has been under way for the past 12 or so years. Half-way through the book, Dekker introduces a key element that anyone who has read the Circle Trilogy will recognize immediately. (As a side note, if you¿ve not read the Circle Trilogy, read them before you read Showdown.) In the end, there is an allegorical element of redemption and a very stirring portrayal of just a tiny bit of the agony that must have ripped the heavens when God willingly sacrificed his Son, Jesus.The other main take-away from this book that I had was the graphic (and rather disturbing, at times) depiction of the blackness of the sin nature. As the actions and thoughts of the townspeople rapidly degenerate, through the first half of the book it appears that they really have no control over what they do, but are seemingly under the power of a hallucinogen. However, it is later revealed that while there is some outside influence, all the choices made by the townspeople (even down to the seemingly untouchable minister!) are completely their own, and almost without exception everyone chooses the wrong, all the while thinking they have been ¿freed.¿ That¿s a pretty good description of the sin nature, in my opinion.
fingerpost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ted Dekker is obviously a fan of Stephen King. He writes like King, and that is a compliment. His style is imitative of King, but he imitates well. The story is a strange supernatural... almost horror... allegory of God giving his only begotten son to save us all. The religion doesn't really come into focus until the last 40 pages or so.
chocolattepi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, I found Showdown to be rather tedious. It switches back and forth between the town of Paradise, Colorado, and a Monastery. It took until the halfway point of the book for it to really get exciting for me. But when it did, it got exciting and engaging very quickly. The rather slow build-up was definitely worth it! I loved the constant battle between good and evil, and what was actually good? What was the definition? Was it really good, or was it evil? Or was evil really good if it lead to the discovery of love? I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to others. This was the first of Dekker's work that I read, but I will be reading more in the future.
enewt823 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am only about halfway through this long novel, however, I may not like it. I am a fan of Stephen King and the similiarities between Necessary Things and this novel are kind of obvious. From the cruel reverend's entry into the small town smoldering with unsavory feelings to the lone preteen who understands the stranger's true nature, the plot is carbon copy. I will finish the novel because I want to know if poor Johnny is able to defeat the evil reverend.
buzzkiss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just couldn't get into it, by page 50 I gave up.
Elizabeth.Wong98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Showdown is a project designed by the top students from Harvard who are now adults. The main goal of the project is to see if kids can keep from being contaminated with evil. It succeeds, but only for about 10 kids. The rest are on the dark side now, changing the world every second, literally. The kids have found the books of history, magical books that make into reality whatever you write. And now they are wrecking havoc on the town below them, Paradise. But one kid decided to change that. His name is Samuel. Samuel willingly goes down to Paradise, now a war zone, and stops the fighting by defeating Marsuvees Black, his arch enemy. But Samuel doesn't defeat him completely, leaving Black to wreak havoc somewhere else.This book was okay, but it wasn't as good as some of the other books in this series. It was confusing, and a little gross. One thing I liked though was the villain. The villain was awesome because he had all these powers and could bend people to his will. Overall, this book was okay, but I wouldn't read it again.
bibliophile1887 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Paradise, Coloarado. A small mountain town, population 450. Very little changes in Paradise. Almost nothing happens from day to day. One hot summer afternoon, a stranger appears in town. Marsuvees Black is a preacher and says he¿s been sent by God. It seems he can work miracles and the townspeople quickly fall under his spell. Then things start to happen. The clouds roll in and the town in isolated. No one is acting like they should. People are seeing things. The town is falling apart, and everyone believes that Black is the answer to their problems. Everyone except Johnny. Johnny sees Black for who he really is, and finds himself alone, trying to fight him. It¿s only when Johnny goes up into the mountains and finds the monestary that he discovers what is really happening. And that the only way to stop the evil is with the faith of a child and the love of a Father.Although Showdown is a good book, there were parts that I didn¿t like. Although I don¿t read Stephen King, I have heard that his books are all tied together. They all take place in the same universe and there are several that reference the people and actions in others. When your books are diverse as his are, that¿s an impressive feat. Ted Dekker does the exact same thing in Showdown. He directly references the two main characters from his Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, and White). In fact, this book explains a few (rather important) things that are not explained in the trilogy itself. He has created a very interesting story. It weaves throughout his books tying them together. But it¿s been done before, two years ago with Stephen King¿s The Dark Tower VIII could go on about a few other things I thought were weak (most of the townspeople are two dimensional), but I don¿t want to turn you off from this great book. It is definitely worth the read and once you do, you¿ll also have to pick up the Circle trilogy. They are equally gripping. Ted Dekker is a fine author. He writes Christian suspense well, and his books always leave you pondering some deep theological questions. Showdown tackles a big one. Can the pure faith of a child really move mountains? I¿ll leave the answer for you to figure out when you read the book!
tcarter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting idea underpinning the story, which I won't reveal as it would be a significant spoiler. Does leave you thinking about the nature of the battle between good and evil but as literature had a couple of failings for me. The main one was that I didn't really care about any of the characters. I suspect that this is because there are just too many of them. Compared to Peretti, whose themes are very similar, and also to Three by Dekker, which are focussed on a few characters, encouraging you to get more involved with them, the cast here is too wide.In summary, an interesting concept worked out fairly flatly, worth a read but not a classic.
nesum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taken as a thriller, this book is okay. It frequently drifts into silliness, and the plot over the top, though Dekker does keep your attention, and it's a reasonably fun read.Taken as a religious allegory, which (we see clearly by the end) it was clearly meant to be, it is a good illustration of the problems you have when you have a false understanding of the Gospel.We see, for example, just how impotent God is under a theology that exalts man's free will over God's free will. The God-figure of the book is utterly helpless against the rising tide of evil in this book -- he can only hope that things turn out okay.This is not the way God is. God is sovereign over all things. He does not sit back and hope for the best, but instead moves the earth by His hand to bring about His redemptive purpose.The real problem comes in the end, and it is mainly bcause Dekker has a false understanding of the atonement. I'll not give away the details, but in his understanding of the atonement (which seems to be simply "Love conquers all"), we really have quite a silly conclusion that only makes sense under specific and contrived circumstances.Dekker's understanding of the evil within all of us is pretty sound, so I wonder why he thinks that a little love can make up for all of that wickedness. God, in Dekker's world here, is a helpless old man who just wants to hug everyone, not a holy and righteous sovereign. Why does the massive amount of evil that is perpetrated in this book not worthy of justice?The true atonement answers this question. Jesus did not merely die to show us love (though that is certainly true), but to pay the price for our sin. He took the punishment we deserve upon Himself so that we could live. Those who repent and have faith in Him will find their just sentence served by Him.Some of Dekker's own comments about being a "post-Christian believer" prove rather clearly that he is not of the faith. We should pray for him, and pray that God reveals to him to truth of Christ's work on the cross.Luckily for Dekker, the true God is not one who merely sits back and hopes that all of us wicked people suddenly become good people and seek Him. God actively saves His children. We should pray that Dekker is amongst them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have several questions concerning the plot twists. If a mind altering substance is used, then can a experiment of good and evil be legitimate? Or, is evil, the mind altering substance?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brakeboy More than 1 year ago
Awesome Story! I like the characters and the plot. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book entertaining but pretty slow at a couple spots. I stuck it out and wasn't disappointed. The follow up books get better (Saint then Sinner).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.