Nostalgia Review: The Circle: Black, Red, White, Green

Welcome to part 2 of three in our Nostalgia Review mini-series, where we discuss books that I read as a teenager or younger man that shaped or influenced me as a person and as a writer. If you would like to jump back to the beginning, check out last week’s write-up on Redwall. This week, I want to introduce you to The Circle by Ted Dekker. 

For Christian fantasy readers of a certain age, Ted Dekker is our Stephen King. He writes truly gut-churning tales of horror with a faith-based slant. For those inclined to run for the hills at that revelation, hear me out. Allegory falls on a spectrum. Much like the way CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia is more blatantly didactic than JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, most find that Frank Peretti (Christian thriller author prolific from the 80’s – early 00’s) more transparent than Dekker. If you did not know that Dekker was writing allegory (that word is too strong, but will have to do for now) you could easily miss it. I’ll let him speak for himself on that front –

“Some say I’m secretly  a Catholic Priest, and yes, I have a novel titled the Priest’s Graveyard. Some say I write religious fiction. Really? From the beginning my novels have always been suspicious of and challenged religion, particularly American Christianity as such. Some say I must be a raging liberal, others that I must be a right wing nut, although I’ve never spoken a word on politics.”

The Circle Series is a surreal young adult fantasy that dives deep into the question: What does it mean to sacrifice? 

The Basics: 

Title: The Circle: Black, Red, White, Green
Author: Ted Dekker
Genre: YA Modern Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2004

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

When Thomas Hunter is awake, he lives in our world, running from a dogmatic secret government organization with mysterious aims, while also struggling to survive a global pandemic. When he falls asleep in our reality, he wakes in a supernatural parallel dimension, where hungry beasts stalk the shadows and men lose their humanity to a terrifying blight. In the world of dreams, humanity scrapes out a meager living in an endless desert… but must wash their entire body every day to fend off the supernatural blight. 

As the two tales unravel in the waking world and the world of dreams, the two conflicts reflect one another and intertwine as the dual mysteries converge.

Why this book might be for you:

These books have it all: Adventure. Romance. Suspense. Philosophy. I am not a big re-reader. I have not read these books in almost 20 years, and they still give me a warm fuzzy when I remember certain scenes. 

Why this book might not be for you: 

First, as mentioned above, these are YA novels. Your mileage may vary. If an underlying thread of philosophy does not butter your bread, this may not be the series for you. 

Where can you find more?

Check out, as always, his Amazon author page. You can find an interesting profile at the New Netherland Institute, or hop directly to his personal web site

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