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This Present Darkness (Darkness Set, #1)
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This Present Darkness (Darkness #1)

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  73,664 Ratings  ·  1,573 Reviews
Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous plot to subjugate the townspeople—and eventually the entire human race. A riveting thriller, This Present Darkness offers a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare.
Paperback, 508 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Tyndale Momentum (first published 1986)
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Nita Tarr Hi Laura!

My spiritual warfare fiction book "Battle of Beings: War Child" is out this week. It follows the lives of three adventurous protagonists as…more
Hi Laura!

My spiritual warfare fiction book "Battle of Beings: War Child" is out this week. It follows the lives of three adventurous protagonists as angels and demons battle to influence them - under divine and satanic instruction respectively! It has the exact same theme as This Present Darkness.

You might very well enjoy it. Stay in touch - We will be offering the Kindle version for free on the day of release.(less)

Plus, never underestimate your local library. OverDrive offers local libraries ebooks for checkout. You make…more

Plus, never underestimate your local library. OverDrive offers local libraries ebooks for checkout. You make an account and then you add your local library, given you have a physical/digital card and you can borrow ebooks using OverDrive. :D(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 10, 2007 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: horror-fiction
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 simp ...more
Dec 08, 2008 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 descri ...more
Brian Hodges
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
Nov 12, 2016 Bibi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this some 15 years ago and still it resonates. A great depiction of good v. evil. Angels v. Demons. Highly recommend!
Eddy Wood
Sep 01, 2008 Eddy Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 giv
Apr 26, 2012 Sharae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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- ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

May 10, 2010 Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hope by: Hearsay, my curiosity, and Peretti's name on the cover.
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
Oct 07, 2011 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 27, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristen Overton
May 07, 2008 Kristen Overton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 fl
Dec 20, 2010 Louize rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 battle ...more
Sarah Booth
May 04, 2012 Sarah Booth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy Fundamentalist Christian Fantasy/Mystery books.
Recommended to Sarah by: but didn't warn me it was Fundamentalist Christian Literature that bashes Eastern Religions.
I didn't realize that this book was based on Fundamentalist Christianity when I downloaded it from 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 man ...more
Anton Styles
Jun 11, 2013 Anton Styles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cats, because they can't read and would just piss on it or something
Recommended to Anton by: Church
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 demo
Jan 22, 2009 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 protecti
Joseph Lewis
Jul 25, 2013 Joseph Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, its over stylized with unrealistically gentle depictions of evil, but its the grand-daddy of them all and deserves its five stars.
Lou Rocama
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 t ...more
Jul 05, 2010 x rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disliked
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 sup
Nov 13, 2012 Cassie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noone
I read this book when I was a preteen and have been dealing with symptoms of brainwash ever since. Of course it was not this book alone that was responsible for the inner conflicts I have had so much trouble kicking all these years but I know for certain that it contributed a great deal to them. I have not read it since but from what I remember, it basically brainwashes you into thinking that anything other than the specific type of Christianity it condones is in fact a lie of the Devil.. it bra ...more
Peter Ibsen
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 w ...more
Nov 15, 2010 Andrea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 th ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Donovan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, thriller
This is the first of 2 books that were given to me during a very difficult and painful part of my life. I am not one to read religious (particularly Christian) based books if it's not a horror but these were different. This Present Darkness is the first of the two that I have read and is simply the good versus evil story with a much more contemporary drive behind it. More important is the 'hope' that this book can inspire - particularly if you are having a hard time trying to come to terms with ...more
Jill Williamson
Jun 11, 2009 Jill Williamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 fai
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 22, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christian Fundamentalists Only--No Liberals Need Apply
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 ...more
Jul 15, 2009 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
Frank E. Peretti's book This Present Darkness is brilliant. This is my second time reading this book, and I am even more impressed than the first time that I had read it, which was many years ago. As I read through it, I realized that I didn't remember large parts of the story and was so glad to have decided to read it again.

The story centers around two principal characters, Hank Busche, a new pastor of a small church in a nondescript college town, and Marshall Hogan, recently transplanted publi
Matt Piechocinski
Okay ... I did what everyone told me to do:

1. Keep in mind that it's written from the viewpoint of the fundamental religious right.

2. At the height of the Reagan era.

and, I still almost couldn't finish it. I'll be the first to admit that I don't agree with Peretti's agenda, but I'll also say that I imagine that there's pleanty of "normal" Evangelicals, just as there are Republicans. But, Peretti, I hope is just blinded by his faith, and just not flat out retarded.

The Cons:

For some reason, I don'
Jul 08, 2017 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that started it all...
Jan 19, 2013 Books rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-2013
I remember reading this book for the first time many years ago as a teenager. Reading it again twenty years later as an adult, I find I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did when I read it for the first time at age twelve. What I believed as a teenager and what I experienced as an adult, gave me two different perspectives about this book. Both times I’ve enjoyed it for various reasons: the action, suspense, battle scenes, three dimensional characters, detailed writing, an imaginative plot, and ...more
Feb 12, 2010 Hilary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A common criticism of Peretti is that the writing isn't that great. It isn't wonderful, I'll grant you that, but it's certainly not intrusively bad. Another common criticism is the personification and representation of angels and demons, and that may depend on your personal theology. I'm not sure where my belief falls there, though I know those particular ones aren't real, but that's less important.

What is important, and unique about this book, to my mind, is the way it made spiritual warfare re
Apr 28, 2008 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book. I read it when I first became a christian and was having a hard time grasping/picturing spiritual warfare. One of my friends (now husband) suggessted that I read this book (as well as book 2) to get a visual image in my head of what could be going on in the spiritual world. It was an eye opener and really impressed upon me the need and power of prayer.

I've since read both books again. They are just that good..

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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 blueg
More about Frank E. Peretti...

Other Books in the Series

Darkness (2 books)
  • Piercing the Darkness (Darkness, #2)

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“I understand that sometimes the truth of God’s Word can become a divider, an irritation, a stone of stumbling. But that’s only because it remains unchanged, uncompromising, and steadfast. And what better reason could there be to build our lives on such an immovable foundation? To violate the Word of God is only to destroy ourselves, our joy, our peace, our happiness.” 8 likes
“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” 4 likes
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