Saint by Ted Dekker


Saint

Dekker has written some of the best Christian novels in the last few years. Strangely though, he seems to be going more esoteric and confusing in his books. For example, check out his Circle trilogy. (Disclaimer: I’m not responsible if you neglect your daily duties or lose sleep after becoming engrossed in these books….) Later, Dekker moved into books exploring various other subjects such as the value of prayer in Blink and a discussion on the three part nature of humans in Three. More recently in Showdown, Dekker attempted to expand on a portion of the Circle trilogy. Showdown was a confusing treatise on love. Saint appears to be the sequel though that wasn’t clear. In fact, it wasn’t until I searched on Ted Dekker at Amazon, that I realized it was the sequel. Strange. Saint did reference Showdown but not in a manner that indicated that it was a true sequel. It would appear that quite a few of his books are now built on the foundation of the Circle trilogy.

Anyway, what I didn’t like about Showdown was that Dekker was obviously trying to have an important discussion with the reader but I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say about love. Without that understanding, the story didn’t make a lot of sense. Saint did a much better job of storytelling until the very end when the story delved deeply into the materials of Showdown. Then things fell apart. In my opinion anyway.

Saint is about a man being trained as a super elite assassin. Part of his training involves mental discipline. This training revolves around the re-creation of his personality and memories. Consequently, he has no idea whether his current memory set is real or fake. Another assassin seeks for a reason to kill Saint.

After his training is complete, Saint receives his last training mission/first real mission: kill the president of the United States.

At this point, Dekker begins to study an intriguing idea: If a Christian’s mind is wiped and reprogrammed to be a killer, is it possible for the Christian nature to reassert itself; can a Christian stop being a Christian if his mind is reprogrammed? Intriguing idea.

Of course the absolute dumbest part of the book is the character’s reconnection with his “Christian nature.” He stands around in the desert yelling “I Believe!” What does he believe? No idea.

This reveals the problem with some of Dekker’s works: he tries to preach, but then neuters the message to be unoffensive. The result for me: confusion. Just be explicit and tell me what you are trying to say. At least that is how it appears to me. If someone knows otherwise, preferably from Dekker, I’d love to hear about it. All I know is that I find some of these books confusing.

Overall, Saint is worth reading. Showdown could be skipped in my opinion, but if you MUST read Showdown, then at least read the Circle trilogy first. For that matter read the Circle trilogy anyway.

Have you read any of Dekker’s books? What are your opinions of them? I personally enjoy have enjoyed his earlier books myself.

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2 thoughts on “Saint by Ted Dekker

  1. So… is this a series? It sounds like you would need to
    read the Circle to know what’s happening in the rest.

    Great review, I agree with your point about Saint in the desert.
    Saying “I believe” doesn’t really help us know what he is supposed
    to be believing.
    This book intrigues me, I think I shall borrow it when I am done
    with another book I am reading.

  2. Series? The Circle was a trilogy consisting of Black, Red, & White. There were some “books of history” in the Circle that had power. These books became the foundation of the “Paradise Series.” I was not aware of the “Paradise” series. The books aren’t labeled as book 1, book 2 etc….

    If you write in the books, your writing comes to life…. Its a cool idea, I just struggle with the implementation. Either way, you won’t go wrong by reading the Circle at least.

    One cool thing about Dekker’s writing is his use of pacing. In high action, the books tend to have short clipped sentences that have a rhythm that goes along with the action. When the pace slows, the sentences lengthen and turn more into prose. Very cool.

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