Black by Ted Dekker
BlackTom Hunter and his sister Kara now live in Denver. They were raised in the Phillipines until his chaplain father left his mother. Tom spent some time with her in New York after the divorce. Now he is in Denver – unfortunately the men from New York have found him. Black opens with Hunter ducking hit men and having his head hit by a bullet.
When Tom passes out, he awakens in a strange place – a black, dangerous forest. Denver seems like a dream. This place, with the menacing black bats, is not safe. Tom has to escape from the black forest with his life. Denver seems to be a dream to him. This place is frighteningly real. If he doesn’t escape, those bats will tear him apart.
When Tom passes out again in this new land, he awakes back in Denver. He gets back to the apartment before sleeping again. He goes back to the other land – Earth. When he describes Denver, he learns that Denver was part of the histories. The Earth had been decimated by a virus thousands of years ago – the Raison Strain. Tom has been healed from his bat-induced injuries but still needs rest. His sleep takes him back to Denver, and the future Earth is the dream. Which is real and which is the dream?
He explains his dreams to Kara as well as his predicament with the hit men. She, of course, doesn’t believe his dreams, but is convinced of the hit men by his head wound. Then events start occurring that make her wonder about her brother’s dreams – a new Raison Vaccine is being announced. That vaccine is the one that becomes the Raison Strain, according to Tom. Tom and Kara begin a wild journey trying to convince someone of the danger of the new vaccine. Unfortunately, the wrong people listen to and believe him.
Whenever Tom falls asleep in one reality, he awakes in the other. Soon the future Earth is also facing devastation. Tom appears to be the only person in either reality who may be able to affect the outcomes. But he is only one man. What can he do? His help and strength come from a place he cannot imagine – but will it be enough to save either world?
Black is a futuristic thriller that doesn’t stop – nor does it finish the story. It ends well enough for the reader to be satisfied with the current events. But both worlds are still in danger. Dark evil is trying to overtake both realities. The tale twists and turns – some of it can be predicted by an experienced reader of suspense novels, but most parts can’t. Dekker has created two worlds – Earth in 2010 and a futuristic (or is it historic?) Earth that has sharp divisions between good and evil until the evil is unleashed. The 2010 future is chillingly possible. The other future (history?) is a Garden of Eden without the downfall from the snake. That doesn’t keep the snakes away from it, though.
This fantasy novel has many dark parallels to the Narnia novels. The reader of the Narnia series will recognize the jumps between worlds, the lion, and other images that tend to be similar. Ted Dekker pulled me right into Black and didn’t let go. Now I’ll have to read the other two books in the trilogy, Red and White.