Friday, April 21, 2006

The Oath- Book Review

The Oath
Author- Frank Peretti
Release Date- 2003

An ancient sin. An ancient oath. A town with a deadly secret...

After reading Nightmare Academy and Monster, I became a big fan of Frank Peretti, one of today's leading Christian-fiction authors. I was a little disappointed with This Present Darkness, but The Oath is really an excellent novel.

Nature photographer, Cliff Benson, is found brutally killed after going on a camping expedition with his wife near the town of Hyde River. With very little evidence to work with, the local sheriff department closes the case, ruling that a rogue bear had been the culprit. Steve Benson, wildlife biologist and brother of the victim, is not satisfied with the sheriff's conclusion. He teams up with one of the local deputies, Tracy Ellis, and tries to find out what really happened. It seems that for the last several decades, dozens of mysterious deaths have occurred. The oddest thing is that the townsfolk of Hyde River, don't care at all what happened or is happening. In fact, the town tries to cover up these deaths, by removing any evidence of the attacks.

Steve Benson is repeatedly warned by the local sheriff office, to back off and go home. But the memories of his brother push him forward. He ends up unlocking a deadly secret that had been formed when the town was established over 200 years ago. It was back then, that the oath had been signed in blood and the terrifying predator had been unleashed.

"If This Be Sin, Let Sin Be Served"

The Oath was very suspenseful, and frightening at times. It was very well-written and carried a powerful message about sin and human bondage to it. Sin is a predator that when welcomed into the heart, grows stronger and stronger. The only way to stop sin's rule is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Warning: Even though The Oath is a Christian-fiction novel, the story does take place in a VERY wicked town. The people are wicked and their actions are very sinful. Hyde River contains a lot of murder (some rather gruesome), drinking, and immoral behavior. None of this is graphic in any way, but keep in mind that the characters in the book (even the main characters) are not saved.

Rating: Ages 15+

38 Comments:

  • Great review/post MVB!!!!! I love The Oath and Monster!!! The Oath truly has a great message!

    By Blogger Matt A., at 1:30 PM  

  • Matt, have you ever read The Visitation? That's the one I'm reading now...

    By Blogger MVB, at 1:50 PM  

  • Yep. Thought it was great too! :)

    By Blogger Matt A., at 2:27 PM  

  • Visitation was one of my favorites...excellent review, though!

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 2:35 PM  

  • Ooh! I want to read it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:55 PM  

  • That anonymous was me, the page hadn't loaded right.

    By Anonymous Vevy, at 2:56 PM  

  • MVB, Peretti is awesome! My mom got me his latest book, House (co-written by Ted Dekker - another amazing author) this Sunday and I finished it within 6 hours. It's pretty good, though I think Monster might be a little better.

    (As a side note, I've tried emailing you once or twice but didn't get a response, could you drop me an email? Thanks! jake@RegenerateOurCulture.com)

    By Anonymous Jake Smith, at 6:02 PM  

  • Interesting stuff!

    For some reason, I have no real interest in novels and that sort of thing... plus the last time I read novels was before I was saved. So, in light of that, I cannot speak from personal experience. What I would like to know though, is perhaps quite a strange thing: How is your spiritual tone after reading novels, and particularly this book?

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 6:38 PM  

  • The Oath is, in my opinion, Peretti's best. But, the new book, House, which was written with Ted Dekker is even better, I think. I reviewed it in my blog recently.

    By Blogger Prince Myshkin, at 7:27 PM  

  • My dad read that book, and really liked it. I started to read it, but didn't get very far.

    Peretti is a very good author. Nightmare Acadamy was great! Have you read the other one in that series?

    I got about half-way through the Visitation, but no further. "Even though The Oath is a Christian-fiction novel, the story does take place in a VERY wicked town. The people are wicked and their actions are very sinful. Hyde River contains a lot of murder (some rather gruesome), drinking, and immoral behavior." That is why I stopped reading it, actually... the Visitation has a lot of that in it.

    If you haven't read Ted Dekker, yet, Zach, I highly, highly, highly reccomend him! You should check out Black, Red, and White- they were awesome, though a little strange at first. Dekker is one of my favorite authors! I think I'm going to read House soon...

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 7:49 PM  

  • My mom made my brother read The Oath when he was 10! He said it gave him nightmares but I'd be interested to read it now!

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 8:06 PM  

  • WOOOHOOO! Frank Peretti rocks! I've read most of his books, but havn't had time to read The Oath. Another great author I would suggest is Tedd Dekker. I especially suggest his books: Three, Black, Red, and White. By the way, great review!

    By Blogger untamed, at 8:23 PM  

  • David P, what exactly do you mean by "spiritual tone"? The book was great (especially from a Christian point of view). The themes of salvation and God's mercy/atonement were awesome...

    Lindsey, I keep looking for Ted Dekker's books, but I can only find the audio tapes. Wow, the Visitation was that bad? Most people who read it, loved it...

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    By Blogger MVB, at 8:34 PM  

  • Well, you've got to find them! :) Keep looking! (You might try Amazon.com or going online at your library and checking it out from another library)

    Since I haven't read The Oath, I can't say if The Visitation had more immorality, drunkenness, etc.- it might have had less. I think it kind of depends on the person- these aren't "child friendly" books by far, so they have certain content that some people will think is unsuitable. For "adult" books like this, my parents and I help make the decision as to whether or not I should be reading it... I know that a lot of people really liked The Visitation, and I'm not saying it's a bad book- doon't get me wrong. I just know that, for me, I didn't think I should finish reading it. Does that kind of make sense?

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 9:40 PM  

  • I think it does. The Oath is much worse that The Visitation. They aren't really kid-friendly, but yeah, I don't have a prob with the Visitation, but everyone has different things they will or will not read. :)

    By Blogger Matt A., at 10:00 PM  

  • Yeah, that's why it is so surprising that Kaitlin's brother read The Oath at the age of 10!

    And I totally understand, Lindsey.

    By Blogger MVB, at 10:46 PM  

  • I liked the Oath but I think your disclaimer might not be quite strong enough. This is definitely a book for older readers.

    There was lots of adultery etc. and while not graphic the thought patterns etc. were discussed pretty thouroughly.

    By Blogger Rabenstrange, at 1:55 AM  

  • I read Peretti's two books "the hangman's curse" and "nightmare academy", and I really liked those; and then I read "monster" and was VERY disappointed! there was pretty much no moral point throughout the whole book, and the big, smelly hairy creatures? What was with that?

    After reading that book, my opinion of Peretti kind of went down.

    By Blogger thepatriot15, at 9:34 AM  

  • What? Perreti co wrote a book with Dekker??? I gotta read that...

    I love Dekker's books, at least the beginnings. The endings never feel right. BTW, Blink is better then Black, Red or White

    And the last time I read a Perreti book was when I was 9. I should try him again.

    By Blogger Palm boy, at 9:42 AM  

  • Jennifer,

    Your comment makes me curious. In your opinion, do all books have to have a moral point to it to be worth reading?

    Aside from that, I believe the point to Monster was to subtley show some of the flaws of evolution.

    Palm Boy,

    I agree, I always leave Dekker's books thinking something was missing or expecting more or something. It doesn't seem to be enough to keep me away though. He's still one of my favorite authors!

    Black, Red and White are my favorite books by Dekker while Blink always struck me as book for a younger audience. Don't get me wrong, it is a great book, it just didn't have the same feel as most of his others to me.

    By Anonymous Jake Smith, at 10:22 AM  

  • I know you can't always tell a book by its cover, but to tell the truth--I don't think I would check out a book that had the titles and covers that these do. I have to take your word that they are Christian, but how can I tell on my own? Being a Christian book should go a little deeper than the fact that it is by a Christian author. If they are immoral, frightening, and without Christian characters--Where does Christ come in? I understand that you all have read the books, and I haven’t, so perhaps you know something I don't,-- but none of your reviews are convincing me that I need to read “The Oath” or any other books by Peretti.

    By Blogger Elizabeth Ellen Moore, at 11:29 AM  

  • Elizabeth, you can tell that the books are Christian-fiction by reading the back of the covers or the Introduction chapter.

    The book begins:

    "Sin is the monster we love to deny.

    It can stalk us, bite a slice out of our lives, return again and bite again, and even as we bleed and hobble, we prefer to believe nothing has happened. That makes sin the perfect monster, a man-eater that blinds and numbs its victims, convincing them that nothing is wrong and there is no need to flee, and then consumes them at leisure.

    We've all been assailed by this beast, sometimes face-to-face, but all too often from a direction we aren't prepared to defend, and it's only in recognizing the beast for what it is that we can hope to escape at all. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and empowered to overcome sin, but opening the door and tossing the beast kitchen scraps of our character is no way to drive it off. Toying with an animal that is actually toying with us is a sure way to lose part of ourselves.

    I was watching it happen to some friends of mine the year I began writing The Oath. As the rest of us just kept praising the Lord, loving one another, smiling, and trying not to be judgmental, some really good people walked stupidly, blindly into the jaws of sin. The tooth marks still show today, in ruined marriages and soiled ministries. The rest of us should have said something.

    In The Oath, I tried to say something through a vicious drama. I gave sin a form, and identifiable embodiment hellbent to consume the hero. I chose an obscure, remote setting because sin shies from examination just as vermin flee from the light, and in this place, there are no rules. Denial is easy, and sin is protected. The consequences of course, play out just as they do in so many real lives; we've all seen friends, relatives, and fellow believers dragged out the door by a pet that got too big to control. Some have managed to come back, bleeding and bruised, hopefully healing and wiser. Some have never come back at all. And some of us have been there.

    The Oath is a story we've all had a part in, to one degree or another. And years later, it still cries out the same warning God gave Cain: "Sin is crouching at the door, and it wants you, but you must overcome it."

    -Frank E. Peretti


    That is the perfect description of the book.

    Now to your other questions. First of all, the BOOK is not immoral. Some of the characters' actions are immoral.

    In the beginning of the book there are only two Christian characters. By the end of the book, the main character is converted. Steve Benson starts out as an atheist, but by the end of this drama, he realizes that there is a God. He realizes his need for salvation, etc...

    I'm sorry my review didn't convince you to read the books. But the author had to show the wickedness of the town, before he could show Christ's redemptive power. Once again, the sin wasn't graphic, but it is still there.

    By Blogger MVB, at 12:04 PM  

  • Amen Zach! This book is not immoral, some of the people's acts are, but it really gives a great representation of sin.

    By Blogger Matt A., at 2:27 PM  

  • Just for all of you who are actually concerned about my brother, even if only a smidgen, he turned out okay 7 years after he read The Oath! But from all of the comments, I don't know if I want to read it anymore.....

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 8:48 PM  

  • David P, what exactly do you mean by "spiritual tone"? The book was great (especially from a Christian point of view). The themes of salvation and God's mercy/atonement were awesome...

    Perhaps the better way to ask the question is this: Do you find your spirit dulled after reading any part of the book? Does the book promote all your thoughts to be taken captive by Christ?

    Just another question regarding this: How do you feel about reading Christian fiction when there are, to be honest, far more profitable books written by Puritans and the like? In fact, there are so many of these books that they could fill hundreds, if not thousands of shelves, and provide reading for an entire lifetime. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the book is not profitable, but is it more profitable than books by J. C. Ryle, for example?

    Dear brother, I'm not asking these questions to make you feel foolish - just to hopefully put to rest any unnecessary skeptecism that I have - or to hopefully exhort you to a state of greater holiness :)

    Happy greetings,
    David :)

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 2:01 PM  

  • The Visitation is now available on DVD!

    David P:

    Peretti's works teach spiritual, moral, and practical lessons that are blatantly biblical. He does have a tendency to do this through extremes - but that's something about our own natures: we learn quickly in exteme situations. The beauty of Peretti's work is that while I may forget the plot or characters of the book (I only vaguely remember those in the Oath, et al.), the point of the book stays with me.

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 3:41 PM  

  • David Peyton: Do you find your spirit dulled after reading any part of the book? Does the book promote all your thoughts to be taken captive by Christ?

    No, I came away after reading the book thinking about how terrible sin is. I was moved by what a great gift, God bestowed upon us when He sent His only Son to die.

    How do you feel about reading Christian fiction when there are, to be honest, far more profitable books written by Puritans and the like?

    Well, the books are profitable in different ways. Ryle's books teach... Peretti's books bring a message by telling a story. Sometimes, the latter way is more effective. :)

    By Blogger MVB, at 5:53 PM  

  • but we do have to be careful not to let our mind get seared when reading these kinds of books. Especially if the wickedness portrayed is bombarding you through out the book. "Finally brethren whateverthings are true, what ever things are noble, what ever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy meditate on these things.Phil.4:8, Paul also tells usin Romans 16:19" to be wise in what is good and simple concerning evil." This being said, Mark 7:15-23 says, There is nothig that enters a man from the outside which can defile a man. Those things which come out of him those are the things that defile a man. .....Out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adultries, fornications ,murders ,thefts,covetousness,wickedness, deceir lewdness, an evil eye, blasphamy,pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from with in and defile a man ."

    Yet if it causes you to stumble forsake it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 PM  

  • Its

    Just

    A

    Book

    Reading it won't cost you your salvation, whatever damage it may inflict can be repaired.

    By Blogger Palm boy, at 9:40 AM  

  • The book DOES contain beauty. It contains the beauty of salvation, the beauty of God's gift to man, and the freedom from sin! The warning I put up was a small one to the younger readers of this blog. :) The book is wonderful- before we can see God's gift of salvation, we must note the sin of man.

    If the book was evil,defiled, or filthy I:

    A) Would not have read it.

    B) Would not be recommending it.

    By Blogger MVB, at 9:52 AM  

  • Its

    Just

    A

    Book

    Reading it won't cost you your salvation, whatever damage it may inflict can be repaired.


    If it's initial damage can be avoided, then shouldn't it? Your argument comes dangerously close to saying that we can sin so that grace can abound. It may be just a book... but we must never forget that our God is a God of whom it was said:

    “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habbakuk 1:13)

    The only reason I am exhorting in this situation is because of what we are told in Hebrews 3:

    But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

    Be careful, dear Brother, before giving what seems like disgruntled responses.

    Warm blessings :)

    Dave

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 11:14 AM  

  • mvb, I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood my comments. I was first just repeating the caution of David Peyton, in taking care what we read. but in my third quotation I was not saying that the book was evil, defiled or filthy . I was supporting your decision to read it because things from out side us do not defile us( Mark 7:15- 23)
    I think some times Frank Peretti can get some what graphic and hence my caution from Romans 16:19 to be wise concerning what is good and simple concerning what is evil." I meant the evil that he describes/illustrates in the books ( sin )not the book in and of itself. The last caution was just a confirmation of what Lindsey said in meaning ( if I understood her comments correctly) that if we get in to a book and find that some of the things in it might cause us to stumble in our Christian walk. we should stop reading it or forsake it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM  

  • Ok, Anonymous, I understand what you mean. :)

    By Blogger MVB, at 5:20 PM  

  • I've never read any of Frank Peretti's books, but after your review, Zach, I really want to. :)

    By Blogger Sara, at 4:00 PM  

  • Ah, the great debate of to be in the world but not of the world. For some, this book may cause them to stumble yet for others it may cause them to distinguish evil and God's beauty. What I do in these situations is to determine the theme and the author's reputation. This goes for music, movies, and anything else. If the band is known for distasteful music, then I would not even consider listening to it, etc. At the same time, we don't want to put ourselves in a bubble either.

    By Blogger Mercy Now, at 10:07 PM  

  • Just for clarification, I wasn't really talking about the book making me stumble in my walk with the Lord... it was simply that my parents were concerned about how explicit some of the content would be, especially regarding the immorality. I think they want me to be a little older before reading it... Besides, I'm under Zach's age limit- he said 15 and up, and I'm only 14! ;)

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 12:50 AM  

  • Mercy Now,

    Please would you kindly explain what you mean by putting ourselves in a bubble?

    Is it with regard to becoming isolationists? Not associating with people of the world?
    If that's the case - I certainly agree with you! We need to associate.

    I don't see how not reading a book or watching a movie or not listening to a band causes you to become an isolationist. The Puritans did that - and more strictly than most - but look at their effect on the world.

    I hope I'm not blatantly off track :D

    Dave

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 5:00 PM  

  • I kind of forgot about this comment section for a bit...

    Jake;

    I definitely think a book is more worth reading when it has a moral point to it; especially a point based on Christian beliefs. In the end, I just don't think "Monster" was as good as his two children's books... by the end of the book, I was just tired of reading about smelly, unrealistic, hairy creatures!

    (I also think it went on for a bit too long. And maybe it was that I skimmed over the end of it, but the whole hunt thing seemed to last forever...)

    By Blogger thepatriot15, at 1:58 PM  

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