This sprawling tale of good vs. evil spans millennia, from God’s creation of the “First Earth” to the year 2093, when Lucifer prepares to bring about Armageddon. The story begins with the Archangel Uriel digging up the Ring of Solomon, which had been buried since 927 B.C., in preparation for the End of Days. From there, we learn that the world in 2093 is governed almost entirely by Sharia Law, and that Islam was established by Lucifer, who came to the Prophet Muhammad in disguise, planning a long game that would eventually lead to mankind’s destruction. Then, an army regiment flushing out Islamic extremists in Wind Cave, Wyoming comes upon a cavern with a mysterious door. As they are investigating, they are confronted by a giant red dragon called Shukalem. Meanwhile, in in the Pacific Northwest, a girl called Krissa and her dog, Pasha the Tibetan Terrier, set about on a major mission of their own.
Author Michael E. Doren’s world-building is commendable, as it draws heavily from the Bible (which he seems to have researched assiduously) but also features wonderful and imaginative creations all his own. There is no shortage of action and excitement, and the novel’s plot is as intricate as a George R.R. Martin novel, with lots of moving parts that come together in near-perfect synchronicity (though like Martin, Doren populates his world a little too densely). Biblical theorists will enjoy the intellectual aspects of HANDS OF THE SON, which are primarily transmitted through the work and dialogue of linguist and archaeologist Sam Weisman, who has his own quietly heroic role to play in this righteous drama. All of the characters are interesting and well-drawn, including the non-human ones.
Some readers may find fault, though, in the ideological premise around which the entire plot revolves—that Islam is a religion founded by Satan with the intention of destroying the world. For example, the narrator explains that “The Peace Movement, with its media and celebrity mouthpieces, praised Islam’s ‘peaceful’ ways and effectively numbed the masses’ minds,” and that this somehow led to the worldwide institution of Sharia law. This may be viewed as a rather unpleasant way of judging the religion of 1.8 billion people. Also, readers should keep in mind that this is the first book in a series, and as such, ends on something of a cliffhanger.
HANDS OF THE SON is an action-packed and imaginative epic about the end of the world that blends fantasy with Christian theology to superlative effect.
~Lisa Butts for IndieReader