I started reading Andy Andrews’ The Final Summit many times but I couldn’t just get past the feeling that something was off even as early as the first chapter. David Ponder, the character who was first introduced in Andrews’ previous book The Traveler’s Gift, had a meeting with archangel Gabriel and other prominent historical figures to find out the “two words” that will save mankind and reset it to its original course.
Now this is really tricky. When an author uses Biblical characters in their story, readers who happened to read their Bibles have some sort of expectations about those characters. And when those characters turned out differently from Biblical sources, the story is already ruined for them. Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) somehow managed to pull it off when he put Mechizedek in the path of the boy Santiago; Robin Parrish (Relentless) wasn’t so lucky with his modern day Lucifer.
I wish Andrews didn’t include Archangel Gabriel. By doing so, he only invited lots of questions he didn’t have the time to answer. I know this is fiction and this is not the time to ask for systematic theology behind the story but Andrews started it. He is the one who opened a wide, gaping hole in his narrative.
Why would God leave the fate of the entire humanity in David Ponder’s leadership? And why would the fate of the world be reduced to a mind game? We’re talking about billions of people here, not this morning paper’s crossword puzzle. In Christian context, this is not how it works simply because that job is not for humans. Saving humanity and resetting mankind to its original course is the job of Jesus Christ.
And why was Gabriel the arbiter of this ad hoc council? Why not Peter, or Pope John Paul, or anyone human?
The list of questions could go on but the point is that maybe it was better if Andrews didn’t touch the Bible. I could swallow fiction, no problem, but if you attach it to my basic Christian beliefs and twist it a little, I wouldn’t be too happy with your story. Call me unreasonable but I just don’t want to mix them up in my head.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. This review is also be posted at Amazon.com.