By Ted Dekker
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Over the past decade, Ted Dekker has made a name for himself by writing two kinds of stories: fantasy and psychological thrillers. But no matter which genre he has written in, one constant has remained. Dekker loves exploring battles between good and evil, life and death, hope and despair. In Dekker’s latest novel, he tackles a slightly different type of story, but that eternal conflict is still at the heart of this story.
In Immanuel’s Veins, Toma and his brother-in-arms Alec have been dispatchedto Moldavia by their Empress, Catherine the Great, to protect a countess and her two daughters, Lucine and Natasha. Dekker quickly establishes that Toma is a faithful, duty-bound soldier who would never do anything other than what he was ordered to do, while the countess and her daughters are free spirits who embrace life. These traits immediately appeal to Alec, who has quite a fondness for all the pleasures life has to offer.
On the road to Moldavia, Alec and Toma encounter a strange old man who warns them of impending danger. Toma dismisses the warnings as nothing more than the ramblings of a crazy old man. But before long, he discovers the man knew more than Toma could ever imagine.
I won’t go into any more detail about the plot to avoid spoiling it for those who haven’t read it yet. But I will say that Dekker takes a well-known and quite frankly over-used archetype and adds his own unique twist to the traditional story. In the end, what appears to be just a suspenseful tale of the battle over a woman turns into a tale of redemption and sacrificial love. It’s a great allegory for the love Jesus showed for the world when he died on the cross.
There were some complaints that this story was too sensual or dark to be classified as Christian fiction. As with most of Dekker’s work, he uses the battle between good and evil – a battle which at times goes to dark places. However, that does not make the story unsuitable for any adult to read. If you go into this story with an open mind, you can’t help but be moved by the imagery and the reminder of what Jesus did 2,000 years ago.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “Immanuel’s Veins” a 4.