The Promise by Ted Dekker is a fictional story about Reuben, “a mute boy who was born and abandoned in the shadows of life.” Before Reuben’s mother dies, she gives him a shawl and promises him that one day a king would give him a voice. Through a variety of circumstances, Reuben eventually finds his way into a manger on that first Christmas night.
Ted Dekker is a gifted writer who has stepped outside of his normal forte of writing thrillers to bring us a sweet story of a little boy who has an amazing encounter with Christ in the manger. It’s a bold attempt for someone who writes in such a drastically different genre. For those who like the sweet-natured Christmas stories of Max Lucado, Dekker makes a capable transition into this genre, and fans will no doubt find themselves enjoying this story. Also, J. Countryman does another spectacular job of creating the images of this story with beautiful artwork and a very classic-looking format.
However, Dekker’s foray into sentimental Christmas fiction falls short. The story is a bit contrived and saccharine – even by Christmas standards. Much of the ground and sentiment that Dekker forages has been done before, which was a bit of a letdown for a gifted author known for putting a fresh spin on Christian fiction.
All in all, this book was quite a disappointment in light of Ted Dekker’s gift for writing engaging fiction. I’m sure this book will be quite popular with those looking for something sweet and spiritual around Christmastime. However, despite the good-natured intention and focus, the ground he covers has been done before and in a better way by Lucado in The Crippled Lamb and Jacob’s Gift. – Todd Burgett, Christian Book Previews.com
We know and love the Christmas story-light comes to dispel dark, purity comes to stomp corruption. It's beautiful. It's perfect proof of an eternal truth and light. . . . This is not the usual story. This is the tale of a mute boy who is born and abandoned in the shadows of life. He carries with him two things-his dead mother's shawl and her promise that someday he will find a king who will give him a voice. Like Reuben in The Promise, may you sing of Light, even when no one else can hear.