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The Assignment
by Mark Andrew Olsen

Category: Fiction / Fantasy
400 pages; ISBN: 076422817X

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Assignment
Mark Andrew Olsen
Bethany House, July 2004, $12.99, 400 pp.
ISBN 076422817X

Lazarus experienced the beauty of Heaven only to be brought back to life by Jesus to act as the Catacon, “the restrainer of destruction” who will be taken away just before the end of time”. His primary role is to send the destroyer back to hell but every time he comes close, his enemy’s minions bury him for decades at a time.

The priests of the Order of St. Lazare spend decades trying to find him. When they do, Lazarus sees a world more technologically advanced but with the same old hatreds. The 2000-year-old man is tired and wants to go home for he no longer believes that the destroyer can be defeated. Nora, a Harvard graduate student, is almost kidnapped by members of Hamas and a Roman Catholic priest. Lazarus saves her and disappears but Nora tracks him down in Paris where she learns the truth about her long-living relative. The destroyer knowing Lazarus is loose, sets in motion a series of events that bring the world to the edge of war and Lazarus vows to fight him one more time.

Told from the viewpoints of many different characters including Lazarus, one can understand why immortality is as much a curse as it is a blessing. There is no sense of Divinity about the protagonist but he is a catalyst that sets events in motion the ongoing battle of good and evil. Surprisingly, this is not a preachy or apostatizing story but reads more like an urban fantasy in which the powers of good and evil fight for supremacy. Mark Andrew Olson is a talent comparable to Frank Peretti and Jerry Jenkins.

Harriet Klausner


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