Imagine having your world shaken to the point where you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. Imagine having to choose the wrong just so that you don’t have to acknowledge your mistake. Imagine having to control co-workers and the stories they pursue just so that your conscience can remain violated and your secret remain undiscovered. For some people, like Tina Lewis, this is reality although they would never admit this little fact to themselves—let alone to others.
Tina Lewis, a character in Frank E. Peretti’s Prophet, is a content manager at NewsSix, the news department of Channel 6. Falling in league with the devil, she tries to suppress a story that would weaken Governor Hiram Slater’s chances of re-election. But John Barrett Jr. is determined to have the truth come out. John Barrett lost his religious kook of a father in the fight for the truth and would lose his estranged son if he did not take a stand and see the Truth prevail. In the process he sees through Tina hearing her cries and those of the City, shares his deceased father’s pain, reconciles with God, accepts his destiny and sees justice served at a cost to the chagrin of Tina Lewis and associates.
Never before have I encountered a story that is so real and has such depth. Although Peretti doesn’t delve deep into a character’s history as Lionel Trilling in The Middle of the Journey or Netta Musket in A Daughter for Julia, he does an excellent job at characterisation, communicating the characters’ backstories and their growth on the various issues explored in the novel. One of those issues being abortion as well as the privacy laws that allow minors to have abortions without parental consent or knowledge and the malpractice the secrecy engenders.
Peretti goes into a lot of detail sometimes repeating scenes and cues in the newsroom that the reader was already familiar with. Peretti spent a great amount of time describing the layout of the room and how the other reporters in the room were editing their news packages before John Barrett entered the room to edit the story he was working on. That said, he described the workings of a news room set in 1991 very well. If you did know how news gathering, sifting and broadcasting worked, you’ll have a better idea after reading this book.
His details made the story real to me. The main characters were well-crafted, the plot gripping, the gospel presentation well done, and most definitely thought provoking. One thing he set out to achieve was to have his readers consider where they stand on the issues of abortion, human rights, their relationship with Jesus, and the masks they wear. The supernatural dimension of the book was a bonus and quite refreshing for someone drawn to the supernatural and well-versed in science fiction and fantasy. Peretti also made use of different points of view not restricting himself to only telling the story from John Barretts’ perspective. At critical moments he switches views or uses John’s prophetic gift to give the reader insight into the reactions or motivations of the characters involved in a particular scene.
Prophet is 575 pages long (excluding the front and back matter) and could most probably have been cut by 10 to 15 pages due to the amount of detail. The book was published in 1992 by Living Books, a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
If you are into the fantasy, science fiction, or religious fiction, get your hands on a copy of this book. Peretti presents both sides of the abortion issue and some insight into the influence the media has on our behaviour and the choices we make. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in learning more. And if you just want to take a break from your regular diet of (genre) fiction, read Prophet. It will make you think.