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The Destroyer is Unleashed
By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

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Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed

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Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed
Large Print Edition
The Left Behind Series - Book 5
By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Thorndike Press, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7862-2907-1
Genre: Mystery - Suspense

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - October 11, 2001

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins's Left Behind Series chronicles the events surrounding the 'End Time'. They do this by following the adventures of a central group of characters, known collectively as the Tribulation Force, and their main oppressor, Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist, and his cronies. 'The End Times' is a term used to denote the Christian belief that, at some point, Christ will 'rapture his church'. This means that suddenly, all the innocents in the world, and all those who truly believe in him, will be suddenly whisked up to heaven. This is what occurred in the first book in this series. Those that were left behind after the rapture are the focus of these stories.

According to Christian prophecies, shortly after the rapture, there will commence seven years of tribulations that are suppose to encourage those that were left behind to become real Christians. Those that do, and who manage to survive the seven years of tribulations will get to see Christ establish a 1,000 year reign of peace over the earth. As the series has progressed, each volume has served to explain the various prophecies associated with the 'End Times'. In addition, each volume has seen our stalwart band of heroes having to face the various tribulations that have come so far. In this, the fifth book in the series, the Tribulation Force gains new members, while others meet their deaths. The constant fluctuation in the Tribulation Force's membership helps to add a sense of drama to the otherwise pedantic first half of Apollyon.

As the story opens, the Tribulation Force is once again jet setting to Israel in order to attend a mass meeting of the 144,000 'witnesses', former Jews who are now proselytizing Christians, and their converts. This meeting is primarily used to delineate the author's theories on the various prophesies in the New Testament. In this volume, Hattie Durham, Nicolae's former girlfriend, once again becomes a central figure in the story.

Hattie, who is carrying Carpathia's baby, has been poisoned at his orders. The Tribulation Force rescues her from the clutches of the Global Community and brings her to their safe house where she is nursed by Dr. Floyd, the only African-American in the story to have, as yet, a prominent role as a member of the Tribulation Force. Despite his efforts, Hattie loses the baby, but he does manage to save Hattie's life. While Hattie's pregnancy does not have a good outcome, Chloe's pregnancy is proceeding quite well. Chloe, the daughter of Rayford Steele, and the wife of Buck Cameron, has been instrumental in developing a buying co-op so that the Christian's will be able to buy and sell in the future, when only those who follow the Antichrist will be able to do so legally.

Although still an unbeliever, the Tribulation Force treats Hattie as one of their own, hoping against hope that they can convert her before it is too late. Along the way, Hattie is able to help Rayford Steele, one of the leaders of the Tribulation Force, discern if his wife Amanda had been true to her faith, or if she had been a spy for Carpathia. As with the other books, Carpathia tries, whenever he is given a chance, to kill the various members of the Tribulation Force. When members of the Force show up in Israel, they, predictably, end up running for their lives with Global Community Forces close on their heels.

Unlike the volumes that proceeded it, Apollyon is a bit slow going at first, but the story greatly picks up when the authors get back to the tribulations. In this volume, those that were left behind, get to see a third of the sun go out. Not long after, the Earth is bounded with meteors, which causes massive, thick clouds of dust to form. But this is not the least of the afflictions that LaHaye and Jenkins describe. In this volume, a swarm of locust appears. Unlike the other tribulations which afflicted believers and nonbelievers alike, this time only nonbelievers are attacked. They are bitten and tormented by the locus. These are not normal locust, in actuality they are demons led by Apollyon, the chief of the demons. Once they bite a nonbelieiver, that individual set upon a course of suffering that last for five months, during which time they cannot die - only suffer!

But worse is yet to come. As this volume ends, we learn that the next tribulation will see a third of the remaining population slaughtered. As the stakes are raised for those that are still alive, Apollyon gets increasing more suspenseful and interesting. This volume was defiantly not as exciting as the previous books in the series, but it was intriguing. It also serves to set up the story for the next volume, a volume which promises to be much more stimulating.

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