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Darkness #1

This Present Darkness

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"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.

This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer. Since its original publication more than 2.7 million copies have been sold. The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces.

376 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1986

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About the author

Frank E. Peretti

90 books3,291 followers
With more than 12 million novels in print, Frank Peretti is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon and has been called “America’s hottest Christian novelist.”

Peretti is a natural storyteller who, as a youngster in Seattle, regularly gathered the neighborhood children for animated storytelling sessions. After graduating from high school, he began playing banjo with a local bluegrass group. He and his wife were married in 1972, and Peretti soon moved from touring with a pop band to launching a modest Christian music ministry. Peretti later spent time studying English, screen writing and film at UCLA and then assisted his father in pastoring a small Assembly of God church. In 1983, he gave up his pastoring position and began taking construction jobs to make ends meet. While working at a local ski factory, he began writing This Present Darkness, the book that would catapult him into the public eye. After numerous rejections from publishers and a slow start in sales, word-of-mouth enthusiasm finally lifted This Present Darkness onto a tidal wave of interest in spiritual warfare. The book appeared on Bookstore Journal’s bestseller list every month for more than eight years. Peretti’s two spiritual warfare novels, This Present Darkness (1998) and Piercing the Darkness (1989), captivated readers, together selling more than 3.5 million copies. The Oath was awarded the 1996 Gold Medallion Award for best fiction.

For kids, Peretti wrote The Cooper Kids Adventure Series (Crossways and Tommy Nelson), which remains a best-selling series for children with sales exceeding 1 million copies. In August 2000, Peretti released the hilarious children’s audiocassette series titled Wild and Wacky Totally True Bible Stories, reprising his role as Mr. Henry, the offbeat substitute Sunday School teacher found in two Visual Bible for Kids videos.

Peretti released his first-ever non-fiction book, The Wounded Spirit in 2000, which quickly became a best-seller. The book addresses the pain of “wounded spirits” and was written as a result of painful childhood experiences.

Frank Peretti and his wife, Barbara Jean, live in the Western U.S. In spite of sudden fame and notoriety, Frank still lives a simple, well-rounded life that includes carpentry, banjo making, sculpturing, bicycling and hiking. He is also an avid pilot.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,371 reviews
Profile Image for Adam.
253 reviews204 followers
December 4, 2013
Besides the bad writing and the clichéd, predictable storytelling, the message of this book is really ugly. Tall, handsome angels are associated with Protestantism, and foul demons are associated with, well, everything else (e.g., New Age spirituality, Eastern religions, and any philosophy that does not place Christ at its center). Personally I think New Age philosophies, astrology, and crystal power are all pretty silly, but deliberately associating them with Satan is not only ridiculously simplistic, it's really hateful. Furthermore, the idea that taking a college-level class on Eastern religions might imperil one's immortal soul deliberately attacks the very notion of ecumenicism, not to mention the values of love and understanding. It's really depressing that this book is so popular with evangelical Christians, and that so many of them mindlessly accept Peretti's ideas about secular society and non-Christian religions. Also, the very notion of a "Christian horror novel" is almost as idiotic as "Christian porn." Christians should be able to read a novel by Stephen King, recognize that it is a made-up story, and then go back to getting their information about good and evil directly from the Bible, instead of fearfully rejecting anything not labelled "Christian," yet revel in all the B-grade, watered-down versions of mainstream media that are labelled Christian. Speaking of which, I'm not even sure if This Present Darkness can technically be called "Christian," since in it, Peretti has created his own bizarre cosmology nearly from whole cloth--one that ignores the very real notion of personal responsibility, since good and evil in this novel are solely the province of unseen angels and demons--which is why I honestly can't recommend this novel to anyone, Christian or non-Christian.
Profile Image for Annette.
752 reviews17 followers
December 8, 2008
I remember "This Present Darkness" with fondness from my early - mid teen years. While some may disdainfully complain that Peretti is nothing but a fantasy writer for Christians and that his works cause the easily influenced to see demons behind every tree, in my opinion he does the church a service by reminding us of the supernatural forces which actually *are* at work in our world and which many of us have done out best to forget in this "modern" era. Do they function exactly as Peretti describes? No, I am certain they don't. This is clearly fiction, and the author would not claim otherwise. And I don't envy the line he has to walk between theology and story telling, fearmongering and faith. Certainly there are going to be some slip-ups, and equally certainly no single group of Christians is going to agree exactly where they are. :) But there are undeniably some good principles behind the action, and a darned good story to boot. I still recommend "This Present Darkness" and its sequel "Piercing the Darkness" to anyone looking for a good read and perhaps an eye-opening glimpse into the spiritual forces beyond our ordinary perception.
Profile Image for Brian Hodges.
212 reviews52 followers
May 8, 2008
Christian fiction at its very best.

Peretti doesn't make the mistake that a lot of other Christian authors make. He doesn't ever stop telling his story to preach some valuable theological lesson. Rather he weaves it seamlessly into the narrative. The overarching theme of this book is "the power of prayer". But the story is straight out of a Stephen King novel. A small town is under attack from dark forces, both in this world and in the spiritual realm. The story is told from the points of view of humans and their angel protectors. Truly fascinating. Even if you think Christianity is a farce, this book still stands on its own.

I will also say that the sequel "Piercing the Darkness" wasn't nearly as good.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,316 followers
November 18, 2016
I read this some 15 years ago and still it resonates. A great depiction of good v. evil. Angels v. Demons. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,631 reviews57 followers
April 14, 2022
The book that started it all...

EDIT: I remember the first time I got my hands on this book; I was in college--I went to a community college, mind you--and my mom and I were "garage saling"--that is, going to garage sales, not having one--in a nearby city. Imagine how happy I was when I came across both this book and its sequel...and for super cheap, at that. Sure, I'd read Frank Peretti before; I'd had a blast with his Veritas Project duology, and even watched the Hangman's Curse flick. Not only that, but, I had read one or two of his Cooper Kids novels, and had even heard the audio version of Tilly. However, This Present Darkness was unlike any of those other works, and also was a game changer for Christian literature; though fiction in that genre had been around well before Mr. Peretti--take a look at the works of Grace Livingston Hill for an example--it hadn't really caught on until this book was published. Without it, we wouldn't have the works of great authors such as Ted Dekker, Bill Myers, or Robin Parrish. So, my reading diet--especially this month--owes a lot to this book.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,851 reviews16.4k followers
August 16, 2017
Written as a "Christian science fiction" or a Christian fantasy, this involved a behind the scenes war between angels and demons, taking place invisibly while Earthly struggles are taking place contiguously.

Obviously there is going to be a certain audience for this kind of fiction, but it was well written and entertaining.

Profile Image for Sharae.
2 reviews2 followers
April 27, 2012
Hands down, the most eye opening book I've ever read that actually changed my views and outlook at everyday happenstance in the world. I couldn't wait for the sequel but darn it. It just did not stack up to the first. Sure it's fiction but man..this particular fiction has become my fact by deliberate choice because for me there is no down side in doing so. The book is a sparkler. I passed it on to my husband, who couldn't put it down, then my son who also loved it and finally I convinced my non-reader daughter to buckle down and read it. She was not disappointed. If you're a christian, Frank Peretti pulls away the curtains and give a view of what "might" be going on in the day-to-day goings on of angels in the upper and lower realms. So enjoyable, so entertaining, so satisfying in the end. O man. can anyone come up with something to compare. I had high hopes for the "Left Behind" series that crashed and burn when I couldn't get past the first chapter of the first book. SO there it sits, on my shelf for treasured books only. To be re-read every few years until I die.
Profile Image for Eddy Wood.
6 reviews
September 2, 2008
This book was written in 1986, but I read it for the first time just recently. There are some things about the book that seem a bit dated now, but at the time I'm sure Frank Peretti was breaking new ground in a lot of ways.
This book was written at a time when the big enemy to the church seemed to be the occult, and it exercising influence in American daily life, and surreptitiously leading Christians astray; hence the main themes of the book.

What this book did that was unique in its time was give a full-on view of the spiritual warfare that happens all around us as we fight the “good fight”.

I found the human characters engaging with a lot of depth. They seemed, for the most part, totally unaware of the battles raging all around them.

It was very easy to root for the angelic characters, and I enjoyed seeing how Mr. Peretti described their militaristic tactics to win battles.

The demonic characters were a despicable bunch, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever; as one would expect. But, they also had tactics of their own, and somehow expected victory against God’s host.

This book reminded me of how temporal and fleeting this life of the flesh really is.
We must empower the ministering spirits that have been put in charge over us by praying and speaking words of authority in Christ.

I would encourage anyone, Christian or not, to read this book.

If you are looking for excellent Christian Fiction for young people, please try Vicki Silver Mysteries: “The Stolen Gem” and “Cruise Control” by Alissa Wood.
Profile Image for Oceana.
608 reviews770 followers
October 18, 2021
Where do I begin? This book is a new all time favourite.

It's not an easy book to read. It's intense. It's thought-provoking. It's eye-opening.
Depending on your beliefs and your experience, I could see this book being very triggering for some people. Witchcraft and possession are described in a lot of details, so brace yourself if that's a trigger.
I was greatly encouraged by this book. I have angels on my side because of Jesus! There is power in His name! There is power is prayer!
Besides the spiritual aspects (which was most of the book), I thought the conspiracy plot was fantastic. I liked the progression of the characters throughout the story, and I came to care about every one of them.
I have too many scenes to say which is my favourite one! I cried at so many points.
I couldn't put it down!
Check out my YouTube channel for my reading vlog I made for this book too! https://youtu.be/fiYdcSypkjU
Profile Image for Natalie Vellacott.
Author 9 books854 followers
December 2, 2019
Could be eye opening for the discerning believer.

Peretti is probably one of the best known Christian fantasy writers. One of the reasons is that he wrote these books in the 80's and there wasn't that much of this type of material around. His writing is pretty good and the plot does capture the imagination as long as you remember that it is fiction. Peretti's world of angels and demons lurking behind every corner is possible but not probable. Christians have different views on these issues.

This book is pretty dark and I would place a health warning on it especially for children. Details of seances, levitation, demon possession and other occultic practices occur throughout the book. Indeed, the whole premise is the battle between good and evil in the spirit world as the demons attempt to take over a town. Would you want your child watching The Exorcist? There really isn't much difference in terms of the graphic nature of the occultic power involved. I guess it's more real on screen but books can be pretty life-like as well.

I'm not sure how to rate this really as the first half of the book drew me in; this was the story aspect and the lives of the real characters in the town. The second half involved so many supernatural occurrences and spiritual warfare that it became a bit repetitive. The ending was definitely dragged out and predictable.

Jury's out. I'll try another of his books before making a final decision about this.

Profile Image for Sarah Booth.
391 reviews40 followers
October 2, 2020
I didn't realize that this book was based on Fundamentalist Christianity when I downloaded it from Audible.com. The story started out just like any science fiction fantasy book and then introduced a Christian component which I was perfectly fine with though I originally thought it was merely a basic good vs. evil type story. Being a C.S. Lewis fan (also of his Christian essays and books) I didn't have any problem with the book until it started to demonized and vilify "Eastern Mysticism". Now many religions and philosophies fall under that umbrella and while it was never specifically stated it insinuated that, among other religions that strive to do good, Buddhism is anti-Christian and even Satanic in nature which just isn't true. Part of the reason I believe that it was Buddhism that was being rebuked is: the importance of meditation, the reference to dragons (described as dragons but written as demons) (which mean a different thing in Buddhism than it does in Christianity) and several other practices I saw misinterpreted and maligned. The book portrayed these aspects in a very ugly light and was often out and out incorrect in what the Buddhist practice is about. Granted, Buddhism is non-theist religion, but it isn't anti-theist. There is a big difference. Western Buddhism often has no problem having God or Christ incorporated into its practices. The 2,500 year old view is to be compassionate to every living thing. There's also the Three Pure Precepts: to not create evil, to practice good, and to actualize good for others. Not very demonic in my book. Saving the environment and animals that God created hardly seems to me a heretical or blasphemous act.
The message about God and Christ would have been quite enlightening and influential if it weren't for the Eastern beliefs bashing which really turned me off from the book. If it weren't for that I would have given the book 4 stars **** As it was well written for fantasy writing, and had a decent adventurous story line.
It would have been very easy for them to be a quiet satanic cult under the guise of Christianity which they did cover, but it satanism that uses, always, Eastern 'Mysticism' or religion as its right arm. Again, I would have liked it had it not equated Eastern Religions with Satanism. One's failure to believe in God does not equate being evil. There are many who are moral and ethical who believe different things or incorporate different aspects into their beliefs. Hate is not what Jesus proposed but loving those who may not be awake in the manner in which you think they should.
Profile Image for Anton Styles.
1 review2 followers
June 12, 2013
I forgot all about this book until it popped up on Goodreads... I read it almost 10 years ago, as a sensitive, emotionally-wounded teenager, as I was being funneled through a fundamentalist religious conversion.

Basically, this book introduced a paranoid neurosis into my awareness of self-in-the-world. "The world" (read:everything except for fundamentalist warfare-obsessed Christianity) is painted as basically evil, and all well-meaning people who aren't Christians are actually playthings of demonic spirits from the Dark Side.

If that view of things seems OK to you, it might be nice to think about your social relationships—how close are you to people with diverse beliefs? Do all those close to you reflect the same philosophy of self, God, and humanity, that you share?

I was taught to be extremely wary of non-Christians, basically to only interact with them in service of the Ulterior Motive (to convert them to OUR way). After a few years, I started to feel like this attitude was generating more heat than light. I got to know a bunch of "spiritual" people—yes, spiritual in the "vague" or "new-age" way. I thought a bunch of what they thought was silly and strange, and I still do, but I realized that they're actually beautiful people, and the whole teaching that had been drilled into me every week for years—that Satan and his Army of Angry Creatures were clamouring at the door of every heart—came to look like the childish, cartoonish caricature that it is. I started to actually *relate* to people. It was like walking into air and suddenly realizing that I'd been in hazy fog for years.

This story-book would have been ok as a D-grade horror novel, but as an actual spiritual teaching? It's like believing that the Orcs of Mordor will come to eat you if you don't depend on Frodo.

In the final analysis, I think this book added nothing but silly, superstitious complication to my spirituality.

(I should add that with greater literacy, the narrative itself is awkwardly awful — it probably should only be read for comedic value)
Profile Image for Hope.
112 reviews55 followers
November 29, 2010
How do I review a book like this? I asked myself this question many times as I got further and further in, close and closer to the end.
How can I write a review worthy of this novel?

Now we must pause, and we must reflect…
What made it so good?
How can you even explain what made it so good?

There are no normal, straightforward words that can convey what this book really is. So I’ll go into descriptive/comparative mode now…

This book is dark, it’s frightening, maybe even slightly gritty. Kind of gave me that creepy feeling that The Screwtape Letters successfully conveyed, but it wasn’t stifling because it wasn’t told exclusively from a demon’s perspective.

This novel is sort of, I guess, like walking down a long black tunnel all by yourself, alone and afraid, and then suddenly hearing a friend’s voice. Or, more appropriately, it’s like when you’re driving home in a storm, the sky so dark that it feels like nighttime, and suddenly the sunlight starts seeping through the clouds, and the rain stops.

You feel safer, and you don’t really know why.

I once read a quote in another book that said, “You live through the night, knowing dawn is coming.” And I guess that’s sort of how this book felt.

And see? I’m banging my head against a wall because I just didn’t get that right at all. It’s impossible to review this book well. It just is.

I think the overall message of this book is that we need to pray more. I know I don’t pray enough. I’m a Christian, and this is a very Christian book…and as I read it, I felt like this is real. We can’t see it, certainly, but we can feel it. And that’s the point of this book. We’re not dealing with flesh and blood, we’re dealing with the world rulers of this present darkness…
The spiritual goes along with the physical. You can’t really separate the two, they’re inexplicably connected in ways that we’ll never fully know. This book gives you a glimpse of that, and it’s unbelievably creepy.

Aside from the beautiful Christian themes (yes, beautiful), this story is gripping. Remember it’s a mystery/thriller and do yourself the favor of not peeking ahead! As you read, a certain amount of “WHAT THE HECK?!” dread will be building up inside of you. It’s ominous because you’re absolutely certain that there’s going to be a train wreck but you’re not exactly sure how it’s going to come about, or if it will even happen at all in the end. I’m not going to tell you.

I always feel, after I write a review, that I didn’t write it very well. Or that I did a terrible job of conveying the meaning of the story. But honestly, this is probably the best I can do.

When I read the last sentence and closed the book, I smiled to myself.
For once, I had nothing to say right after finishing a story…
I was speechless.

This novel is about angels and demons, good and evil. It’s about miracles. It’s about spiritual and physical struggles. It’s about redemption.

…It’s about finding the light when you’d been lost in the darkness.

And I can’t recommend it more.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews559 followers
February 19, 2012
I must honestly admit first and foremost that this is a book I read many years ago and as such I cannot offer properly any views about the quality of writing. That is except to admit while not the worst nor the greatest quality of writing Peretti is in my eyes a powerful story teller (although I must admit in my view his Monster is in some aspects more powerful) and for what he (I believe aimed to do his work is fine).

This Present Darkness is in many ways a thriller but I do not believe that the thriller elements are the main focus of this novel. Instead I believe it is the Christian message that Peretti aims to transmit through his work. After all this is a Christian novel tackling the spiritual world.

This Present Darkness focuses on showing how demonic influence affects the physical world through branching its story into two narratives. The first addresses the issue of what is happening in the physical world. The second reveals the background influence of angels and demons as they guide human beings in order to continue spiritual warfare.

It is the spiritual aspect of this book that I love on the whole however. Because the Bible from my point of view is quite clear on the fact that angels and demons do influence our world in many ways. The power of prayer is revealed in various ways in this book and the power of Jesus name is also revealed.

I disagree with some ideas that this book makes Jesus name into just a magic word because I personally think that too few Christians understand the power in that name and that this book attempts to reveal the power. I also disagree with the complaints I've read about how Peretti aligns New Age mysticism and the demonic realm as it seems pretty clear to me how such things match up. Peretti I believe attempts to show what is stated in Matthew 12:30 which is that “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." (NIV) An idea which applies to spiritual things such as the New Age Mysticism. What Peretti attempts to show I believe is that such things open avenues into which evil demonic forces can work and as such it's best not to have anything to do with them.

On the whole I believe Frank Peretti does an excellent job of making more real those aspects of the Bible particularly mentioned in Daniel and Revelations. Of course I do disagree with some of his ideas but on the whole I don't believe his book was meant to be fully accurate but rather present a depiction and insight into the ways in which the unknown spiritual real affects the mundane. Take the book as you like that is my opinion and mine alone you don't have to agree or disagree.
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,698 reviews172 followers
October 14, 2020
Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Howard Books
Language: English
388 pages

If you are a Christian who believes that the Bible is the word of God, then believing in demons intellectually is easy. Believing in their physical presence in the world is harder. If you have been trained in logic, skepticism, science and a general dismissing of superstition, believing in the physical presence of demons in this world is even harder. In this novel Peretti hits the reader in the face with demons and their existence and power in the physical world. A well written, chilling read.
Profile Image for Vicki.
468 reviews11 followers
May 28, 2011
I read this book decades ago and it had a really significant impact on me at the time. Though I was definitely a person of faith, the idea of spiritual warfare going on all about us in this modern day was very foreign to my understanding of how God works in world events today. Frank Peretti's fictional story of the community of Ashton was an enjoyable read back then, but it really challenged my thinking.

I have just re-read it because, surprise, it is our current book club selection. I was foggy enough on the details that it was almost like reading a new book, but the story line came back to me quickly and I didn't have to struggle with whether or not I believed it was likely that angels and demons might be interested or involved in how human issues might be resolved.

The premise of the novel is that a college community has become a place of interest to the Universal Consciousness Society, a New Age/Eastern Mysticism group which actually has built a significant membership among the respectable members of the community. The members keep their relationship a secret from the community, as well as the unsavory and questionable business practices they employ to take control of both the college and the community.

The story begins as two spiritual warriors appear in the community to observe and assist the humans who will eventually rise up to thwart the powerful group before it is too late. Peretti moves from the perspective of the angelic warriors to the powerful and ruthless community members to the young minister who feels called by God to intercede for this community through prayer and to the newspaper editor and the news reporter who begin to uncover the seedy goings on around them.

It doesn't take long to realize that the Universal Consciousness Society is a front group for demons who are intent of spreading their earthly kingdom from a power base in this quiet little community. And, though angelic warriors are involved, there is no foregone conclusion that Good will overpower Evil. In fact Evil is so powerful that even the angels know they can't win until a power shift occurs and that will only happen if people who are believers start to pray earnestly for intervention.

This is an exciting saga that moves quickly and dramatically through several skirmishes between good and evil, climaxing in a great spiritual battle scene before the final outcome for this little community is known. Lots of scripture, lots of great examples of prayer warriors in action as well as spiritual awakenings on the part of several of the key characters. It's a good story. I liked it even more the second time around.
Profile Image for Louize.
424 reviews43 followers
May 12, 2011
I have recently reread Daniel’s story from the Bible. Allow me to say that Daniel was my favorite Bible character when I was growing up. He was a prayerful man who did not bent to any pagan rule, even if it meant being fed to the lions on a pit. He was a man miraculously saved by an angel. He was guided by God, not only to see visions but interpret them as well. His book was, for me, the first evidence there was of spiritual warfare. Although angels appeared many times in the Bible, their battles were never mentioned as it was in Daniel’s vision (v.10:13). Beyond what the Scriptures revealed regarding the spiritual warfare is mere conjecture.
“There, kneeling in earnest prayer, his head resting on the hard wooden bench, and his hands clenched with fervency, was a young man, very young, the blond man thought at first: young and vulnerable. It all showed in his countenance, now the very picture of pain, grief, and love. His lips moved without sound as names, petition, and praises poured forth with passion and tears.”

Like Daniel, Frank E. Peretti’s main character Hank Busche is a prayerful man, a pastor, protected by angels and chosen to fulfill a mission for the small college town of Ashton. He faced discouragements every day, including a sexual scandal to stain his character. But Hank, and his wife Mary, knows that there is a stronger force gripping their small church and town; which can only be defeated through God’s intervention.

The Strongman’s cloud of demons is looming towards Ashton. Victory will be theirs to claim through the global tyrant Alexander Kaseph, owner of Omni Corporations. Possessing demons have wormed into the lives of the townspeople and started ejecting possible threats to their sinister plan. But Hank Busche and Marshall Hogan, editor of Ashton Clarion, are the two biggest threats of them all.
"I'm sorry, we cannot allow any more demons into the church this morning."

God has equal plans for Ashton. The captain of the hosts, Tal, was sent to derail the enemy’s plan. One by one, the angels came and strengthened as more and more “Remanants” started praying and praising God.

This Present Darkness is a very engaging fantasy. It has the charisma that drew me into the lives and battles of the characters. I cannot help but root for the heroes of the story. It was greatly entertaining to read some of the angels’ punk and swag. The good blend of intense action, drama, mystery and humor have to be mentioned, too.

I have to commend Peretti for giving “the Power of Prayer” great emphasis. Let us be reminded, though, that our prayer life is far more effective through the knowledge of God’s Word and solemn worship. The Bible is the most powerful text book I’ve ever known. Confronted with evil influences, teachings or temptations, we fight with the truth – the Living Word of God. Needless to say, for me, Peretti’s mystical approach of admonishing demons is rather off. Believing and living according to God’s Word is the best way in keeping the enemy away.

Furthermore, prayer and worship brings us into the presence of God. Prayer is an open communication that empowers and comforts us. Contrary to the book’s suggestion, our prayers do not empower angels. Not once was it ever mentioned in the Scriptures. It is God who empowers them according to their purpose; the same thing may be said with us.

Please, understand that it is not my intention to discourage anyone from reading this book. It is a well-written and captivating story. I just wanted to point out that this is a fantasy based on the creative conjectures of a best-selling author.
Profile Image for Gary .
200 reviews183 followers
August 19, 2017
I forgot I had read this. I thought it was good, but in the context of the 90s when the New Age movement was booming and conservative Christianity was looking for a response. Peretti put all of it in a Christian context and showed us an invisible world behind the scenes that although fiction, became reality for many people.
3 reviews7 followers
February 9, 2017
I had to read this book for school and it is one of the worst books I have ever read.

The plot was ignorant and unbelievable, the characters were boring, and I felt like I was being preached to the entire time. None of this should come as a surprise considering it is a Christian novel with an agenda of course. I especially found it absurd that the villains would be controlled by demons while engaging in Eastern meditation and preaching unity and self-awareness.

I understand that this book was supposed to be about the power of prayer or something like that, but it seemed to me that it was more about the evils of New Age religions and philosophy. I could have looked past this if the story was at all interesting or engaging, but at one point I almost fell asleep while trying to get through this book. It is that dull.

Profile Image for Kristen Overton.
10 reviews2 followers
May 8, 2008
Back when I was into Christian Literature, I really loved this author. I've moved past a lot of Christian Authors, persay, but Frank Peretti will always have my heart. He's very witty and well spoken (and a ham if you've heard him speak in public). This book was written with a lot of creativity and enlightenment, and though I've moved past a lot of the 'spiritual warefare' movement that ripped through the bible belt in the 90's, this book is still one of the most riveting I've ever read.

It's flat out scary at times.
Profile Image for Joseph Lewis.
Author 9 books111 followers
July 25, 2013
Yes, its over stylized with unrealistically gentle depictions of evil, but its the grand-daddy of them all and deserves its five stars.
13 reviews
January 22, 2009
I read this book twice, about a decade apart, and would read it again. Since I have an open mind about religion I could read it as a story and not as a religious philosophy. My dad didn't like the book because he didn't agree with the religious views in the book, but I saw them as background for the characters.

Anyway, the book is about the basic fight between angels and demons, but you see it from the angels' and demons' perspective, as well as from the humans' perspective that they are protecting/controlling. I found it a very interesting read both times.
Profile Image for Andrea.
59 reviews10 followers
June 21, 2012
This book annoyed me in so many ways. There were multiple typographical errors. The characters all began sentences with "Aw". Not every sentence, but enough to be really irksome. THe idea behind this book is interesting but the characters were so unbelievable. The Christians were either fanatical or really evil in disguise. Everything that happens is attributed to either demons or angels. It was just too much. I did finish the book and I have to say at least the pace did pick up about halfway through. Still, not worth a lot of time.
Profile Image for Lisa (Harmonybites).
1,834 reviews326 followers
June 23, 2011
This gets as high a rating as it does because I have to acknowledge it does have its merits when contrasted to the books in the genre I've read, even if this is emphatically not a book for me. I tried this because I'm working through a list of recommended reading, "The Ultimate Reading List" and decided not to skip the "Inspirational Fiction" section of Christian fiction despite not being a believer. After all, I do love CS Lewis, so I thought there might be one gem on the list. This did well in presenting a community, that of small town Ashton, in displaying a sense of humor, and gets points for imagination.

In this novel, dark forces are gathering in the town--a battle of good and evil, with two chosen humans, the young pastor Henry Busch and the weary, cynical publisher of the small town newspaper, Marshall Hogan. Demons hover over both trying to break them or at least wear them down--demons with names like Complacency, Deception, Lawlessness and Jealousy. Also gathering are an Angelic host, but they need "prayer cover" from believers to have the strength to defeat the evil.

What kills this novel for me is what Peretti sets as his forces of darkness. The Reverend Olive Young is one of those personifications of evil--because, after all, he cares about "saving the whales" and his congregation is described as "different, liberal, even bizarre." But the most venom goes into the descriptions of Professor Langstrat, a woman who actually teaches her psychology students to ask difficult philosophical questions of ontology and metaphysics, but worst of all, promotes such New Age ideas as goddess worship.

Sorry--I've known too many wonderful people who consider themselves part of the New Age movement or even Pagans--kind, compassionate honest and wise, to put up with this bigoted demonization of them for the purposes of fiction.
114 reviews3 followers
Shelved as 'checked'
June 11, 2016
My boyfriend gave me this, and it had me on the floor laughing. I never actually read any of it past the cover blurb, but the idea of a nefarious new age plot to enslave the world struck me as hilarious, considering the things I knew about Wicca from my adolescent 'I wanna be a witch' phase. It involves a lot of gardening and smelly candles, from what I remember. Watching lunar cycles, I guess. 'Dancing about without your drawers on', as Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax says. Even now, I'm having trouble coming up with a dastardly plot involving these actions. The closest I can get is public indecency.

Perhaps Buddhism is a bigger den of evil, though if you're like Tofu Roshi, the hyperoxygenation caused by endless deep breaths in meditation would leave you unable to tie your own shoelaces, much less stage an evil world takeover. Best to stick with tending the compost.

Ah! Compost! Of course! The common denominator of all those terrible new age religions. Possibly the Eastern ones too, though I'm not terribly familiar with them, beyond the great Tofu Roshi. I'm sure some awful plot involving compost is the answer.

Perhaps the Terrible New Agers (inc.) planned to hoard all the world's compost, leaving the Good People without fertilizer unless they left the True Path. Shame this doesn't take the nitrogen based stuff common today into account, but I'll just pretend the New Agers didn't know about it, since they're uneducated hippies. Then the Devout Hero saves the day by bringing chemical fertilizer to the small farms held in the evil clutches of the Terrible New Agers, thus ending their dependence on compost and ruining the Terrible New Agers Dastardly Plot.

Am I close? No?

Well, drat.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,804 followers
October 1, 2009
I might prefer to give this a 3.5 stars. It's very much a youth book and told that way but it's very readable for older readers. I liked this book and it made its point while remaining a good and readable story.
Profile Image for Jill Williamson.
Author 55 books1,427 followers
June 11, 2009
Review by Jill Williamson

Bernice Krueger, reporter for the Ashton Chronicle, finds herself in jail after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She came to Ashton to investigate the supposed suicide of her sister. Now, she and her boss, Marshall Hogan, start investigating some strange occurrences in town.

Hank Busche is a small town pastor who is trying to keep his argumentative congregation from falling apart. Little does he know, there are dark forces in town that are set on seeing him fail. As demons characters carry out their assignments, Marshall and Hank become more determined to discover the truth. But can two men fight a host of demons they cannot see? And why is the host of heaven standing around and watching? Aren’t they going to do anything to stop this evil plot from taking over the town?

Wow. This book has changed the way I think of angels and demons. There are many references in the Bible that lead me to believe there is a spiritual war going on around us that we can’t see. But never have I read anything to give me such a clear picture of how that might look. In Daniel 10, Daniel has a vision of an angel coming to speak to him. The angel says in verses 12-14, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

This has always amazed me. That God told this angel to come and talk to Daniel, but the angel got held up fighting some demon over in Persia. In the Bible, angels are sometimes referred to as princes. I believe this angel was talking about how he was fighting with the prince of the Persian kingdom, who was a fallen angel, or demon, since he was resisting one of the host of heaven. It’s this idea that Peretti builds his story around. The idea that there are angels and demons waging war around us in a dimension that we cannot see. They can see us, but we can’t see them. And in Peretti’s story, the demons want to rule Ashton and the angels are there to make sure God’s plan prevails.

This Present Darkness is an awesome story. Marshall, Bernice, and Hank slowly stumble onto the truth and have to work together to save Ashton. I love how Peretti showed the angels as mighty warriors interacting with one another. I also loved how Peretti showed the power of prayer. I kept rooting for the characters to pray, already! This book was thrilling, scary, amazing, and brilliant. I can’t say enough wonderful things about it. Everyone should read this book at least once in their life, if not over and over again.

Profile Image for Peter Ibsen.
22 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2009
Damn, It was a long day that involved my spend over 100$ on my truck, so to relax I got a pizza and went to the library to find a good horror novel. They were closing early and this looked somewhat promising. I did not realize it was a christian propaganda book untill halfway through. Damnit. It does get a couple stars for being page-turnery. But once you realize what the message is (new-age, mystasism, eastern religion, meditation, humanism... is SATAN IN THE FLESH) and notice that the author wont write vulgarities or nasty words, and every problem is solved in prayer, its gets to be a drag. And I am ok with a religious themed book, but this was pure propaganda. Which sucks all the more because once I figured that out I knew that it would end with God winning. boooooooooring.

p.s. does anyone know any good horror novels. I don't have a TV or Computer so i need cheesy novels for my mindless entertainment.
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