At the start of Forbidden, a thriller by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, everyone in the world is dead, and they don’t even know it. Years before, alchemists banished what they called “Chaos” – all human emotions except fear, the one emotion needed for those in power to maintain order. The main character, Rom, is given a vial of ancient blood that has the ability to restore emotion to five people. He and four others drink and rediscover what it means to feel – to love and hate, to become angry, joyful, and sorrowful. By drinking the blood, they unwittingly join a secret society of Keepers, sworn to protect the true history of Chaos and eventually restore all of humanity to life again. They have only days to do so before the evil, ambitious Saric will claim the throne, ruled by dark passions given to him by the alchemists’ serum. Rom is one of five people in the world who is truly alive, and he has to risk that life and the lives of those he loves to save the world.
Whereas Forbidden doesn’t have an explicit Christian message (at least in this book, the first in a series), it gives a Christian perspective on areas such as the difference between love and lust, the subtly of deception, and the existence of an immaterial aspect to human beings. In a world dominated by fear, the main characters learn the truth of 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Fans of Dekker’s Circle Trilogy will recognize his style of allegory, using the plot to imitate dimensions of the biblical story in a way that makes them feel new. The stiff, hollow worship of the Maker through the rituals of the Order is portrayed as distorted at best, or, at worst, a lie used for manipulation. True worship is seen in the reverent expectation of the Keepers who have sworn loyalty to a young boy chosen to save all of humanity.
Forbidden is a strange combination of thriller, science fiction, and fantasy, but all of the genres work well together, and the plot of the novel is instantly engaging and fast-paced. The styles of the two authors complement each other, creating a vivid, moving story. One of the book’s few weaknesses comes from its main premise: in a world populated by people with limited emotion (and a few people adjusting to strong, new rushes of emotion), it can be hard to connect with the characters. At the same time, the book does an excellent job of exploring the topic of what makes us human, and why emotions, good and bad, can be both beautiful and dangerous. The bloodshed in the book can be intense, but it is meant to emphasize the evil of violence in a world that supposedly outlawed all crime. The ending isn’t quite satisfactory, but because it is meant to lead into another book, it will make readers eager to read the rest of the series. – Amy Green, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love. But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed at terrible risk.
The first book in a thrilling series set in a desolate future, Forbidden begins a journey that continues with Mortal and will conclude with Soverign. From the combined pens of master storytellers Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, this tale of passionate love and dark desires peels back the layers of the heart for all who dare to take the journey.