In The Valley of the Dry Bones, Jerry B. Jenkins overlays the ancient End Times prophecies of Ezekiel onto the landscape of modern California. After a 17-year drought, multiple earthquakes, and uncontrollable wildfires, the state is desolate. The United States President declares the state uninhabitable and irreparable, directing California’s 39 million citizens to relocate. From the air, California looks like a vast abandoned sand box, but to a few groups of people, it’s their home. With less than 1% of the population remaining in California at their own risk, the holdouts encounter a clash of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and politics that pits friend against friend with the future of California at stake.
Jerry Bruce Jenkins is an American novelist and biographer. He is best known as co-author of the Left Behind series of books with Tim LaHaye. Jenkins has written over 150 books, including romance novels, mysteries, and children’s adventures, as well as non-fiction. His works usually feature evangelical Christians as protagonists.
A drought-stricken and desolated California is the setting of Jerry Jenkins latest novel, The Valley of The Dry Bones. This book, with a Mad Max-esque feel to it, is an interesting look at what the church faces when on mission with a moving God. To me it is less apocalyptic and more an allegory for God’s people. An interesting read, this one will suck you in from the opening pages.
Zeke is an elder of a small band of believers who chose to stay in California after just about everyone else has pulled out. Declared off-limits by the US government, the holdouts minister to those who chose not to leave or didn’t really have any choice — indigenous peoples, the poor and the helpless. Facing extreme temperatures and a hostile environment, they have created a wonder of technology that not only sustains them, but provides a base to bring water and the Word to a thirsty land.
Although not as developed as I would have liked them, the varied cast of characters that Jenkins has created are flawed and very real — these are not perfect Christians. The once liked-minded group is beset by pride, arrogance and betrayal. The hostility from opponents to their mission serves to further stress those determined to live according to God’s direction. In this, the fictional group is not that much different from any church or organization. As with any group, when the focus is taken off of God, the ministry struggles and stumbles. Using an end-of-times framework, the author shows the urgency of God’s message for a thirsty land and brings it home to the reader. As one reviewer stated, this book was written for the church, a church that has become complacent in its mission and ministry. The characters spend a great deal of time in earnest prayer and in turn listening for God to speak — another great lesson! The plot of The Valley of The Dry Bones is inventive and interesting, but it is the message that will linger.
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(Thanks to Worthy Publishing for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)