Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 2012
Reviewed by Josh Olds
QUICK HIT – This 3-in-1 hardcover of The Paradise Trilogy is a must for Dekker fans, containing Showdown, Saint, and Sinner. The trilogy is home to Marsuvees Black, Dekker’s most famous villain, and showcases an epic struggle against evil personified amidst a backdrop of redemption.
In 2004, Ted Dekker burst onto the CBA scene with the Circle Trilogy. Black, Red, and White retold redemptive history in a fresh way and gave Dekker the audience he needed in order to write The Paradise Trilogy. Before 2004, Dekker had been a successful author with a number of outstanding books under his belt (The Heaven Trilogy, The Caleb Books, Blink, and Thr3e), but Dekker wanted to dust off an old project he’d written before ever being published.
The novel was called Storytellers and, when it had originally been shopped around, was rejected by every publisher it was sent to for being too dark. You can read more about that in my individual review of Showdown. But finally, the project found a home at Thomas Nelson and, after publication in January 2006, made its way into the homes and hearts of thousands of readers. In the preface to this 3-in-1 volume, Dekker writes:
“I still remember the day I first conceived of Showdown, the first novel in the Paradise saga. Any story in which the power of words can reshape reality and become flesh to dwell among mortal beings is naturally irresistible to wordsmiths of my ilk. Emboldened by unrestrained creative energy, I sat down and breathed life into a character named Marsuvees Black, little knowing that his name would become a trademark for me; never guessing that fans would begin showing up at events dressed like Marsuvees, muttering by then the all too familiar words: “Wanna trip, Baby?”
Since the plots of the novels are discussed in their individual reviews (Showdown, Saint, Sinner), let me take some time to talk about the trilogy as a whole. Project Showdown was an experiment run by David Abraham in an attempt to create men and women of faith who were unadulterated by the outside world’s evil. Ostensibly, the experiment was to see if faith really could bring about the supernatural, but Abraham’s real purpose was to inculcate in the children the mature yet childlike faith that would allow them to believe that words could be made flesh.
In the Circle Series (Black, Red, White, Green), protagonist Thomas Hunter is transported into the future where he discovers all of history is written in the Books of History. There are also blank Books of History that allow those with the faith to believe the ability to write actual history. Words become flesh and live among us. Using that tendril, revealing that the Books ended up in this world, Dekker connects two of his most popular series. Dekker would go on to connect the Circle and Paradise in many more ways, including through a YA series (Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, Chaos, Lunatic, Eylon) and—my favorite for obvious reasons—The Blood Book.
The Paradise Trilogy can also stand alone. Although Showdown builds off of the premise of the Books of History, Saint and Sinner build from the story began in Showdown. Originally released between 2006–2008, the trilogy was a resounding success and resulted in even more exposure for Dekker. Now, about five years later, Thomas Nelson is repackaging Ted’s various series into single-volume works. The Circle Series has seen 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 editions, The Heaven Trilogy was released as a 3-in-1 last year, and a 4-in-1 of the Lost Books will be released in October. In a brilliant marketing strategy, these coincide with Dekker’s newest releases. The Paradise Trilogy was released around the same time as Mortal, while the Lost Books will release around the time of The Sanctuary. Excellent work on behalf of Thomas Nelson to get these older—yet by no means inferior—Dekker titles into the hands of new fans.
The Paradise Trilogy may have its highlights and low points, but on the whole it’s an entertaining and absolutely fun series that any fan of intense thrillers should check out.
Who makes the better Black: The Madman (Josh) or the Crazy Girl (Kelsie)? Vote below.
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