Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CFBA Review: Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

Illuminating Fiction's Review:

Take a journey back to the year 1772, to Moldavia, where darkness lingers in a magnificent castle, ready to steal and devour.

Meet Toma Nicolescu, a proclaimed war hero loyal to duty and trusted warrior to the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. Sent by his empress, Toma travels to Moldavia with his friend in arms Alek Cardei. His mission is a simple one—protect the Cantemir family. When he arrives at the Cantemir estate, he soon realises his mission is not so simple. The Cantemir twins, Lucine and Natasha, are of renowned beauty and attract many suitors, some with questionable intentions. When the empress expresses her wish for Lucine to marry within Russian royalty to seal Moldavia’s allegiance to Russia, Toma battles his own growing desire for Lucine and his duty to the empress.

Matters become more desperate when Toma’s warnings to the Cantemirs regarding the Russian aristocrats residing at Castle Castile fall on death ears. The aristocrats’ boldness unnerves Toma, who finds their open expressions of lust unsettling. Then there is Vlad van Valerik, the charming and mysterious head of Castle Castile, whose authority is unquestionable among those who occupy his castle. When Vlad expresses his intention to court Lucine, Toma is forced to choose between love and duty.

Toma’s control begins to disintegrate around him as Alek and Natasha are drawn away by the aristocrats charm and promises of endless revelry. But beneath their beautiful outer shell lies a dark evil, which threatens to sweep across the land.

Can Toma stop the aristocrats before their evil spreads too far? Can he save his beloved Lucine from the clutches of Vlad? Will his love win above duty?

Immanuel’s Veins is typically Dekker, yet untypical at the same time. On one hand we have the usual good vs. evil, great symbolism, and again there are ties to his previous Circle Trilogy. However, Dekker has stretched himself this time by writing his protagonist in first person point of view. I liked this. It shows his growth at character development and certainly allowed the reader to get deep into Toma’s mind. I also loved the symbolism the story represented, Christ’s sacrificial love for his bride, the church, and the lengths evil will go to to steal His bride away.

What I didn’t like was the simplicity of the story. It was almost too simple for me, redeemed only in the last third when the action intensified. Much of the beginning of the novel centred around lust rather than love, which I’m sure was Dekker’s point. But even as the story progressed, I had a hard time accepting Toma’s feelings for Lucine as true love considering they had known each other barely a week. I also missed the usual Dekker twists and turns in a novel and found it to be the most predictable of his books.

It may not be your typical vampire story, but the elements are there. With vampire books, movies, and television shows populating secular media, it’s hardly surprising to see it approached via a Christian worldview, although Dekker certainly isn’t the first CBA author to tread the waters. I did find the biblical tie ins believable, another redeeming factor for the novel.

Although Immanuel’s Veins will appeal more to female readers, I am sure there will be a few like me who aren’t fans of romance novels and will be left a little disappointed and longing for a more meatier story. I liked it.

Publicity for the book states “This story is for everyone—but not everyone is for this story.” This is proven by a publisher in Holland refusing to publish the book, though I fail to see why myself. Although the book is sensual in many ways, there is nothing overtly sexual about it, and it is tame compared to Song of Solomon in the Bible.

Thomas Nelson, the books publisher, asks the question: What is sacrificial love?

To me, sacrificial love is putting your own life on the line for those you love, a selfless love which seeks to alleviate suffering of others, an agape love.

Please use the comment section here to share your view on sacrificial love.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Immanuel's Veins
Thomas Nelson (September 7, 2010)

Ted Dekker


Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Early in his career he wrote a number of spiritual thrillers and his novels were lumped in with ‘Christian Fiction’ a surprisingly large category. His later novels are a mix of mainstream novels such as Adam, Thr3e, Skin, Obsessed and BoneMan’s Daughters, and fantasy thrillers that metaphorically explore faith. Best known among these is his Circle Series: Green, Black, Red, White and The Paradise Books: Showdown, Saint, and Sinner.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the headhunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study philosophy and religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel, Heaven’s Wager, was published.

Now, Dekker’s novels had sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.


This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A torrid love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice.

Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover.

With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds.

Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow.

Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Immanuel's Veins, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

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