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Gideon's Torch Special Limited Edition

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This book is packed with graphic, behind-the-scenes details formed by Charles Colson's actual experience. Colson and long-time collaborator Ellen Vaughn have created a riveting page turner that, with its astounding ring of truth, will hold readers transfixed until the shocking conclusion.


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This book is packed with graphic, behind-the-scenes details formed by Charles Colson's actual experience. Colson and long-time collaborator Ellen Vaughn have created a riveting page turner that, with its astounding ring of truth, will hold readers transfixed until the shocking conclusion.

30 review for Gideon's Torch Special Limited Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zachary McIntire

    Having very much enjoyed Chuck Colson's non-fiction (Born Again, Life Sentence), I thought I would give his fiction a try, when I found this book on a "free" table at church. I wouldn't say I was exactly disappointed, but I wasn't thrilled either. First, what I liked: I found the book well-written, engaging, and (mostly) clean. The best parts were those that made use of the author's experience in Washington, and in the prison system. Those portions felt very realistic, and I got the impression t Having very much enjoyed Chuck Colson's non-fiction (Born Again, Life Sentence), I thought I would give his fiction a try, when I found this book on a "free" table at church. I wouldn't say I was exactly disappointed, but I wasn't thrilled either. First, what I liked: I found the book well-written, engaging, and (mostly) clean. The best parts were those that made use of the author's experience in Washington, and in the prison system. Those portions felt very realistic, and I got the impression that, from Colson's perspective, both those places are about equally dark and corrupt. The story, as a whole, was fairly believable, with Christian themes and apologetics woven throughout, rather than tacked on, as with some Christian novels. What really took this down to a three-star read, for me, was the overall negativity of the book. In over 550 pages, pretty much the only good thing that happens is that (view spoiler)[one main character finally comes to Christ (hide spoiler)] , but even that happens "off-camera," so to speak. Every other major plot line ends disappointingly or depressingly, literally to the very last page. It's a matter of taste, of course, but I prefer fiction with more "light," to balance the dark parts. Also, I should mention that I didn't really find the author's basic premise believable. (view spoiler)[The author imagines a pro-abortion Republican government, using the crime spike that was a major concern in the mid-nineties, to crack down on the pro-life movement. (hide spoiler)] This probably made more sense in the social/political climate of the time, but it hardly seems plausible today. Nevertheless, it is an interesting window into the thinking of Christians in the 90's, an era that I grew up in, but without much political awareness until the 2000 election. Overall, I would say I enjoyed the book, and I would give it 3-1/2 stars. Content: Graphic description of an abortion (view spoiler)[being shown on TV (hide spoiler)] , war violence, some sexual references (but nothing graphic), a few mild expletives. Overall, mature themes - definitely an adults-only read, in my opinion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    Written by two evangelical authors, this book is in many ways a gold standard for political fiction from a Christian perspective. (Though Colson's name is listed more prominently, Vaughn's stronger background in fiction --Colson hadn't previously written any-- leads one to guess that she's responsible for much of the purely literary merit here, with him supplying insider insight into the working of the White House, official Washington, and the legal profession; it was a fruitful collaboration.) Written by two evangelical authors, this book is in many ways a gold standard for political fiction from a Christian perspective. (Though Colson's name is listed more prominently, Vaughn's stronger background in fiction --Colson hadn't previously written any-- leads one to guess that she's responsible for much of the purely literary merit here, with him supplying insider insight into the working of the White House, official Washington, and the legal profession; it was a fruitful collaboration.) Like, for instance, Parker Hudson in The President (which I reviewed earlier), the authors make their various characters on both sides of the fence believeable and human, with nobody demonized; and their messages emerge naturally from the interactions of the characters and the events of the story, rather than being preached in tract form. But unlike Hudson, they have a vastly more realistic understanding of the actual possibilities of our current political culture (and its limitations --there aren't any apocalyptic or earth-shaking results here, for good or ill), and no theocratic agenda as such; for the heroes, classical morality informs political behavior, but doesn't dictate legal establishment of Christianity. Also unlike Hudson, the authors here concentrate on one topic --State- tolerated abortion-- viewed from the perspective of the political/legal system and the activists seeking an end to the killing. Set in the (from a 1995 perspective) near future, it begins with the election of a pro-legalized-abortion New England Republican governor as President --a scenario that's not unrealistic, especially facilitated as it is here by a party split; the GOP rank and file tend to be pro-life as a matter of principle, but the party insiders do not. Early in his term, the shooting of an abortionist galvanizes the administration into a broad policy of treating the entire prolife movement as criminal suspects; while increasing frustration and despair nudges some members of a Christian group of activists on the issue towards more radical means of protest. (Indeed, the rightness/wrongness of illegal or violent protest against abortion is probably as strong a thematic concern in the book as the rightness/wrongness of "legalized" abortion itself.) Abortion has been compared, as an issue, to slavery. This book is not the Uncle Tom's Cabin of the former issue, and not only because (unlike Stowe's book) the book trade effectively ghettoized it in a market where only Christians read it. Stowe treated slavery as a grim reality of daily life for the people affected by it, rather than at one remove as an "issue" for the politicians of that day to deal with. The less direct treatment here reduces (slightly) the possibility of polarizing reader emotional reaction; but it also makes it harder to grasp the up-close and personal reality of the "issue." (Francine Rivers' Atonement Child --which I haven't read, but want to-- which focuses on a raped and pregnant college student, is probably a more Stowe-like treatment of the subject.) But this is still a very serious, credible and moving work of thought-provoking fiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    Enjoyed it but I thought it ended poorly. Was confusing at the very end. Didn't seem to tie to any of the prior book. Disappointing ending.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Castro

    Garbage. Right wing propaganda. Better used as toilet paper.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Listened to as an Audio Tape. Very disappointing ending. I normally love a Charles Colson book, this one just was a bit boring.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    Was this book interesting? Yes, 5 stars. Was this book enjoyable? Not really, 2 stars. Was this book realistic? Yeah, I trust the author--5 stars. Was this a good book? Eh, take the average of the above, and maybe you'll get the answer. In short, this was a complicated book. This is not a book that you sit down and read, because you want a good story. And yet, for many people, this probably is an important book to read. It's a warning. The plot concerns the government and abortion. The first thing on Was this book interesting? Yes, 5 stars. Was this book enjoyable? Not really, 2 stars. Was this book realistic? Yeah, I trust the author--5 stars. Was this a good book? Eh, take the average of the above, and maybe you'll get the answer. In short, this was a complicated book. This is not a book that you sit down and read, because you want a good story. And yet, for many people, this probably is an important book to read. It's a warning. The plot concerns the government and abortion. The first thing one must realize is that no one can trust the government. It doesn't matter what they say, it doesn't matter to what political party they belong, you probably can't trust people who have power. (Look, President Trump was right--there is a swamp, and there has been for a very long time) Although nothing in the plot actually happened, I can certainly see something like it occurring, if the body of Christ doesn't stand up against the evil of abortion. The situations the characters found themselves in--especially Daniel Seaton--were definitely hard, no doubt about that. That's why it's best never to get in those situations in the first place. The setting was the weirdest part. The book was written kind of a long time ago--I think 1995?--and set in the then-future. (Either late 1990's, or early 2000's, in my opinion, but it was never stated) That makes it the now-past. Now that that's the past, we know there was never a President Whitney Griswold, or a bombing of a regeneration center. (Also, there might not even be references to the World Trade Center bombing, because who remembers that anymore?) Basically, it was difficult to wrap my mind around the timing of these events that could have happened in the past, but thankfully our nation isn't quite that bad ... yet. And the characters ... talk about realistic. And depressing. Senator Langer was probably about as realistic as they come--I was hoping he'd make the right decision, but who can blame him for caving? President Griswold was probably exactly like every soft politician with his own agenda, and he certainly didn't act like a Republican. Bernie O'Keefe, at first, was just an annoying drunk without a conscience, but as his character developed, I just felt bad for him. His depressing story just wanted me to throw the book across the room. (view spoiler)[ I officially hate suicide now. Not that I didn't before, but ... (hide spoiler)] Just because you grew up Catholic, doesn't mean you're a Christian. Okay? Please tell everyone that. The interesting thing about these characters was that there was no clear protagonist, except for maybe Daniel. The story was told from a lot of different perspectives, (it could probably be called head-hopping) and the back of the book tells Emily Gineen's story. So maybe Emily was a half-protagonist; she was about the only good thing that happened in the entire book, anyway. Although I'm not sure she could actually be the protagonist, because of her stance on abortion. (And I don't think she ever changed her mind on that ...?) Honestly, I liked Lance, and I didn't mind Alex. But they were such in the gray area, and I don't even know if they were supposed to be likable. Like I said above, I hope we never to to a point where we find ourselves in a situation in where Alex, Lance, and Daniel found themselves. The content is not for the faint of heart, either. There was a pretty detailed description of an abortion procedure, and it sickened me. I guess hard-hearted pro-abortionists wouldn't be affected, but it was pretty gruesome. There was also a tiny bit of language. (Spoken by the president, ironically. Many times President Griswold sounded very unprofessional.) So, overall, this book is enlightening, providing insight into government workings. It's also a warning to the church. This is not, however, and enjoyable read with a nice, happy ending. Far from it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Despite the 1995 copyright, Colson and Vaughan have written a frighteningly accurate Beltway novel of a degenerate society focused on safety and security rather than freedom. The leaders want power, the people want entertainment more than responsibility, so each side gets its wish. A building is bombed by one side whose idealism and anger outruns its sense. The other side obsessively cracks down on challenges to its shaky sand-based authority. One leader throws in the towel because of an old sha Despite the 1995 copyright, Colson and Vaughan have written a frighteningly accurate Beltway novel of a degenerate society focused on safety and security rather than freedom. The leaders want power, the people want entertainment more than responsibility, so each side gets its wish. A building is bombed by one side whose idealism and anger outruns its sense. The other side obsessively cracks down on challenges to its shaky sand-based authority. One leader throws in the towel because of an old shame. Another leader pays the ultimate price for principle, while a third runs mad. The characters and the situations seem very real.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    Not nearly as good as "Born Again."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bill H

    Sad commentary of politics and suppression of different viewpoints.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Robinson

    Intriguing book, and just as relevant today as when it was published. Great read, with lots of insight and inspiration.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Ruthie

    I didn't have high hopes for this book, expecting (for some unknown reason) a rather corny version of a Tom Clancy. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover it instead to be an excellent novel that managed to avoid every pitfall I had imagined! Gideon's Torch is a fictional political drama, focussed on the highest echalons of American politics and law - though inclusive of other characters, particularly the church leaders and members who are against abortion. The primary author is Charles Col I didn't have high hopes for this book, expecting (for some unknown reason) a rather corny version of a Tom Clancy. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover it instead to be an excellent novel that managed to avoid every pitfall I had imagined! Gideon's Torch is a fictional political drama, focussed on the highest echalons of American politics and law - though inclusive of other characters, particularly the church leaders and members who are against abortion. The primary author is Charles Colson, who's pedigree is pretty impressive (see Wikipedia if, like me, you are a little young and non-American to know who he is). His indepth understanding of the reality comes across in well integrated storylines. However, he manages to avoid being too 'dry' and doesn't feel compelled to explain everything in long minute detail - a true art in my opinion. The characters are considerately constructed and believable. The emotions of a wide-range of personalities are captured and vividly portrayed - on every side of the issues considered. The only strand that appears a little stretched is the raving president, who seems to have very little grasp on reality - but then again, I've never known any American Presidents! I would also like to think the public as a whole not to be quite so ignorant, but am probably being a little naive. We follow a group of pro-lifers, who stand against the increasing level of abortion. Though standing for non-violence, elements of the group become disatisfied with their inability to impact on the government's plans for foetal research. We see their plans through both their eyes, and the consequences through the US government individuals. The morals in this book are outstanding, and there are some great sections showing how without Absolute Truth, the law becomes a variable with no true meaning. Yet this is accomplished by the usual preaching. I would be more than happy to recommend this book. It would be very welcome to Christians, but can easily be read by anyone of any background (though those with very liberal values may find its conclusions offensive, even though their beliefs are well-portrayed). I would definitely pick up another of his fiction books, and would also be intrigued to read autobiographical or non-fiction works of his.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kayle

    Starting this book, I thought I knew what the main theme was going to be: abortion. While abortion was very prominent, it was more like a lens through which to view the real theme; namely, how callous the American people have become to the idea of any absolute moral guidelines. Pro-life activists Alex and Daniel Seaton struggle with how to increase awareness of the true nature of abortion without resorting to violence. When their nonviolent methods are met with anger over disruptance of the peace Starting this book, I thought I knew what the main theme was going to be: abortion. While abortion was very prominent, it was more like a lens through which to view the real theme; namely, how callous the American people have become to the idea of any absolute moral guidelines. Pro-life activists Alex and Daniel Seaton struggle with how to increase awareness of the true nature of abortion without resorting to violence. When their nonviolent methods are met with anger over disruptance of the peaceful American life instead of the desired outcome, Alex secretly makes plans to bomb a newly built abotion clinic. This book sets out to make the reader think long and hard about the rights given to us in our constitution and what will happen when people no longer believe in moral absolutes. The characters were all flawed and none of them planned on being bad guys. This book did a great job of showing the difference that worldview makes in not just a person's life, but in society as a whole.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lyndi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I can tell already at around 60 pgs into, that this isnt going to be a fluffy, easy read. And it is one that I am going to have to pay attention and not be able to skim through. Subject matter is way deeper than my last few books have been. Willing to stick it out though, as I see it has received excellant ratings from others. I enjoyed the authors writing style, but I had a hard time knowing which characters to like, it seemed like you just got to know a character, then it switched you to a diff I can tell already at around 60 pgs into, that this isnt going to be a fluffy, easy read. And it is one that I am going to have to pay attention and not be able to skim through. Subject matter is way deeper than my last few books have been. Willing to stick it out though, as I see it has received excellant ratings from others. I enjoyed the authors writing style, but I had a hard time knowing which characters to like, it seemed like you just got to know a character, then it switched you to a different one. By the time you got back to the original one you forgot again! That could be old age though. Too many characters. I still dont relate to any of them other than the poor Pastor Seaton that was killed off. I liked the book, just wouldnt want to stick it out again (re-read). This was over 500 pages. And they are left with a whack job for a president.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brice

    It could be a good book, but the plot was too weak in points. The characters in the book were all quite one-dimensional. I hated the ending. The major themes were pounded over and over again. The overarching message of the themes were that ONLY widespread morality would save the nation (a naíve view at best--at worst, designed to discourage most from any sort of action to influence the laws and decisions of the nation). Definitely not up to the modern standards of Grisham or Clancy (although, it It could be a good book, but the plot was too weak in points. The characters in the book were all quite one-dimensional. I hated the ending. The major themes were pounded over and over again. The overarching message of the themes were that ONLY widespread morality would save the nation (a naíve view at best--at worst, designed to discourage most from any sort of action to influence the laws and decisions of the nation). Definitely not up to the modern standards of Grisham or Clancy (although, it was obvious that it was mimicking the style of Clancy). I got to the end and wondered why I wasted several hours reading the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine

    I enjoy espionage books, and to read one by Charles Colson is so fitting. It indeed has a ring of truth in this fictional book considering who Charles Colson and his personal experiences. loved it!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    This was a fantastic book. I read it long ago and felt like I had a Law Degree afterwards, but I've read so much now that I don't if I would feel that way today. Anyway, a great story and I believe it is the only fictional work by Chuck Colson (of the Watergate scandle). I highly recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Good book - had some of the ethical dilemma/issues that I like. Especially good to read during this time of year - the upcoming presidential election. Reminded me of the need to pray for our government leaders more often!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    This was a first novel by the authors. I bought it at a conference and had it signed by Ellen Vaughn. I thought they did a great job. It was a murder mystery that kept you guessing right up to the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Greg Snyder

    This book was about Pro-Life and Anti-Choice.. It is fiction and shows a US President with an agenda for the anti-choice people.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Perhaps a '4'. I like his non-fiction much better, but I am glad to have read this also

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Bluefield

    Fiction; but has insiders perspective of how Washington reacts to major problems.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Greg Chandler

    I am quite certain I read this book nearly twenty years ago. But I would nearly swear it was being written today. Rest easy, Mr. Colson. Your words and work live on.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brett Minor

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chioma Umunna

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Whelan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charmaine Prince

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  30. 4 out of 5

    Candie

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