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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Friday, 6 October 2017

A New Beginning by Nate Allen


A new beginning? With the Credit Chip, anything is possible! Buried in debt? Erase it! Terrible credit score? Start over! In trouble with the law, now weighed down by a felony charge? POOF! There it goes… 

Ken Cardiff only wants to see his older brother get better. He can only hope the Credit Chip can help, but he can’t escape the chill settling on his spine. Since his brother got the Chip two days before, something in him has changed. 

Kyle Cardiff is lured in by the promise of a new beginning but he doesn’t know the cost. Only twenty-two years old and already more than familiar with the inside of a jail cell, he will do anything for just one more chance.

Rosy Matthews knows what the Credit Chip is. Trying to convince Ken, her Ken, that it’s the mark of the beast has brought more scoffs than anything else. She hopes it isn’t too late for Kyle, but she knows that it already is. 

When President Francis Abraham Pummel was only six years old, he should have died. But, the day he should have died was the day he lived. Now forty-two years old and approaching his second year in office, he has a plan to bring real change to anyone who will listen.

The Guru's Review:

I received this as a pre-release copy for review. It is also the first introduction to this author's writing. I must I am impressed. He writes well and definitely, knows how to engage his readers. 

I highlighted this novella in a recent Author/Novel Spotlight so was very pleased to receive this as an advanced reader's copy for review.

It is very refreshing to read a story in this genre, eschatological fiction, where the author has a different take on end times and notably the mark of the beast. It is a breath of fresh air from the popular but controversial series, Left Behind by LaHaye and Jenkins. It is more conceivable that receiving the mark as in this short story, microchip and tattoo has more connected to it than just the presence of these two physical manifestations. This can be the first difference to the Left Behind series. But I am not going to compare the latter to this new series by Allen. 

I read a few months ago another novel where the mark of the beast had something else attached to it that would make the recipient bound spiritually to the Antichrist and the spirit behind this, just as there is in this novella. The only difference is that in A New Beginning, it is a spiritual possession whereas, in the other novel, The Third Strand, another strand of DNA is added that not only rids the body of disease but enhances human performance thus changes the way we were created therefore God cannot claim us as His and we are therefore spiritually and physically bond to Satan.

Allen has created a fast-paced, engaging and enthralling story. Centred around two families and the President of the United States, these three plots arcs run together and intersect over this mark of the beast technology and the spiritual bondage that is behind it orchestrated by Satan who is manipulating and deceiving mankind through President Pummel.

Intertwined through this is the spiritual background of the two families, the Cardiffs and the Matthews. The Cardiffs are atheist while the Matthews are Christian. A love triangle between Rosy Matthews and Ken and Kyle Cardiff ends in jealousy and bitterness between Ken and Kyle. Kyle is bitter and angry about being compared unfavourably to younger brother Ken by his parents and this is even further compounded when Rosy rejects him over Ken. This leads to drug abuse and a jail sentence after falling in with the wrong crowd. Kyle is given the tattoo and microchip as promised from this new technology to erase his past mistakes and record. Kyle then begins to experience demon possession after the insertion of this microchip.

Allen then develops the plot arcs showing how the witness and prayer from Rosy concerning Ken and this technology influences Ken to consider the spiritual implications as outlined in Revelation and that the Bible is true as well as Jesus' claims as Saviour. Allen shows how the effects of demon possession/oppression lead Kyle to murder and further spiritual bondage all due to the microchip and the demonic power attached to it.

Allen is very good at the spiritual aspects. I loved the way he showed the different stages of growth and spiritual gifts the Matthews sisters of Rosy, Lily and Willow have with Jesus. Intertwined in this is how their mother, Melissa has struggled to cope with the grief of her deceased husband years before and how this has affected the relationship with her daughters and the spiritual effect this has had on them. With the murder of Rosy, Allen shows how Jesus is our Healer, Comforter, Restorer, appearing and speaking truth and encouragement to Willow, Lily and Mellisa in their grief over Rosy's death. Although Allen did not depict Jesus appearing to Ken, he did show how the veracity of the Word of God (Bible) is alive to those who seek Him and the seeds of faith are being watered and cultivated by His Word. 

Allen depicts the demonic aspects well. While the instances are not as prolific as other novels in this genre, Allen has depicted them mainly through the gift of spiritual sight that Lily has where she is able to see the spiritual entities/demons having their effect on the characters or he shows them affecting the character such as with President Pummel where his demonic oppression leading to possession starts from age 6 when he sustained a life-threatening accident but survived due to the influence of these spirits.  

I could not put this short story down and read it in one sitting over a few hours. Very enjoyable and impressive start to this series. I am hooked and look forward to this series unfolding. Allen describes this series as 
Think of TV seasons. Each tells a singular story, provides a climax, and sets up the arcs to come. I will be releasing A New Beginning in parts or "seasons". Once the story is done, I will release the entirety as a book. I wouldn't do this for any other story but no other story I am working on is as timely or spiritually relevant as this.
Allen is successful in living up to his claims here of this short story being timely and relevant as he states. It is daily accounts in the news of the move towards one world government, one world religion, attacks on Christians and Christianity, eradicating this from levels of society, a cashless society and implantable microchips for financial transactions and control. So based on this, it is easy to see why Allen considers it timely and spiritually relevant to show the spiritual and biblical worldview that is behind these events and to alert both Christians and non-Christians alike of the dangers of the anti-God sentiment and spiritual deception that is behind all this.  

The progression of President Pummel to being demonically oppressed to total possession and deceived into believing he is a god is well done and with the inclusion of the Revelation 13:1-3 account of this Antichrist suffering a fatal wound and then being resurrected adds to the credibility of Allen's plot arc and then deceiving the masses into believing that God has returned to them. 

Allen leaves the reader with a few major plot arcs unresolved and on the proverbial cliffhanger. The anticipation is high at this stage for the next instalment. It had better come fast, that is all I can say!

I consider that Allen is on a winner with this series. It is not only entertaining but uplifting to one's faith. It also gives some important insights into eschatology and the spiritual deception that is upon us now and that is only to get worse as Jesus' return is very close.

Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 4/5 

Overall Rating 4.8/5 Stars

A New Beginning can be purchased on Smashwords and Amazon (below). 

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