The Last Ark, penned by author Jack Sky, is a twelve-book apocalyptic series based on the Third Secret revealed by the Virgin Mary to the children at Fatima. The books are available as individual volumes or in three omnibus editions, each one containing four books. This review is for books I-IV.
The first book, The Vision, begins with a disturbing vision that comes to Marian Pope Petrus Romanus in the form of a dream. Once awake, he prays fervently for guidance. Through the protection and intersession of the Virgin Mary, he and his trusted team get the skilled workers and the funds they need to organize and build the refugee camps known collectively as “Mary's Ark” or, in short, “The Marks.”
While Pope Petrus Romanus and his crew are preparing to protect the refugees, an Anti John the Baptist called The General is working on a more sinister project. The General’s job is to pave the way for the Antichrist. He and his team of Exterminans, vicious demons disguised as humans, are supervising the construction of the Drozdov underground cities to protect the world’s ruling elite and their allies and for the stockpiling of nuclear missiles --- all with the goal of causing a global catastrophe that would lead to the reign of the Antichrist. As part of the “Plan” they are charged with implementing, they will assign a demon to each human subject so that the people could easily be enslaved for the benefit of the ruling class.
The saga continues with True Devotions, where the forces of evil continue to make arrangements for the fulfillment of prophecies by implementing a new world order with its man-made religion and doctrines. Meanwhile the Catholic Marians are rushing to establish the Marks worldwide before the appointed Blackout day as revealed to Pope Petrus Romanus.
In the third book, The Blackout, chaos reigns everywhere in the aftermath of nuclear-missile explosions. The Marks and the Drozdov underground cities are fully operational, and their leaders are receiving the survivors as planned. Worldwide, electronic devices are non-functional, except in Russia, the Operations Center for the Plan.
After the blackout, Russia arises as the world's savior with a ruling body comprised of the General with his six subordinate Exterminans, Russians militia, six Chinese oligarchs, and American and European elite.
As part of the Plan, Vatican City is fully annihilated while the Cardinals are in a secret conclave to replace Pope Petrus Romanus, who was accused of misconduct. After the proceedings against Pope Petrus are over, he and a trusted group of Cardinals leave the room. At a small chapel, they elect Pope Petrus II. After the election, they go to the Mark located outside Rome to wait for refugees. At a top of a mountain from which he could see Vatican City, Petrus I performs an exorcism. Afterward, he and his loyal and fervent group die as martyrs. That scene is based on the Third Secret revealed to the children of Fatima.
The omnibus edition concludes with The Consecration, in which the properly elected Pope Petrus II must fulfill Mary’s wish to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In order to succeed, the Marian Catholics will have to face the General and his evil forces, whose goal is to enslave the human race and prevent that consecration. However, the General himself is confronted with a series of unfortunate events that makes him reconsider his strategy --- they come about because now both Heaven and Hell are at war on Earth!
Shortly before concluding the story, the author will give the readers a glimpse of Hell, the orchestrated hierarchy and dominion of Heaven and Hell, and, as its culmination, the release of the Beast as prophesied in the Book of Revelations.
When I decide to review a book with theology and apocalyptic theme, I do some research to verify and discern truth from fiction. Although I am not an expert on theology, based on my research, I found the core basis for the story to be in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The author uses Pope Petrus I to relate what happened to Sister Lucia when she was ordered to reveal the Third Secret of Fatima and how the Church reacted to the message.
The story is captivating and full of Catholicism. Readers who are not Catholic but who enjoy this kind of book need to have an open mind in order to understand the story and its message. Names and numbers are chosen for their meaning and relevance to the story. For example: Pope Petrus refers to Saint Peter, the first pope, who was appointed by Jesus himself. The first four books of the series entail topics of interest today as well as reliable historical facts and events.
I found only two main issues that took some credibility away and made the story, at times, hard to follow. First, the use of military jargon was not always properly or immediately explained. Second, I found the explanation of quantum theology for children of ages 10 through 12 too complex for that age group. That discussion was extremely hard to follow. This book could have highly benefited from a glossary to explain all the jargon and abbreviations.
I highly recommend Jack Sky's apocalyptic series, The Last Ark, as an improved version of the Christian series, The Left Behind.
Although I've found myself souring a bit on science fiction lately, with my reading tastes driving me firmly back into the realms of epic fantasy, horror has always been my first love. It's what I remember reading first, and what has driven most of my own writing endeavors. So, while I hardly need an excuse to celebrate the genre, events like Women in Horror Month certainly do provide a convenient prompt for me to look beyond the towering review pile and into well-stocked TBR shelves that fill my e-reader and (quite literally) cover the house.
First up this month is Mercedes M. Yardley, and author with whom I was already familiar, but who I got to know a little better during a Ragnarok Publications Facebook party last month. We connected over fiction and music, and she was kind enough to send a copy of Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love my way.
Let me just say that this is some of the darkest stuff I've read in a long while. It's daring, original, and manages to accomplish what so many other authors and filmmakers have failed to do. It makes an antagonist of a victim and keeps her at the forefront of the entire novel, with nary a protagonist in sight. It's a risky move, and one that most stories cannot sustain, but Yardley weaves in enough backstory and character development to make her serial killers sympathetic leads. That's not to say they're necessarily likable or characters to whom we can relate, but she forces us to understand them and their motives.
This is a crime drama, a love story, and a tale of supernatural myth and magic. It's a book that operates on multiple levels, but which has no patience for easing the reader through unnecessary transitions. There's no one point at which it shifts from crime drama to love story, just as there's no single instance where Montessa shifts from victim to killer. As for the myth and the magic, it's there throughout, but so subtle and fantastic that you're never quite sure when you stopped questioning just much is supernatural and how much is allegory or illusion.
It's a seriously messed up world where a victim's love for her killer is more beautiful and pure than a father's love for his child, but that's precisely the world in which we live. When abuse and neglect are found where love should be, how inconceivable is it that love is found where it shouldn't? Yardley really plays with that idea, and uses it to explore who Montessa and Lulu really are, and how they came to be. It's a brutal, bloody, violent tale, full of sorrow and pain, but it's also one redeemed by the presence of love. A lot of people die, in a lot of brutal ways, and the fondness for the act of murder may be too much for some readers to take, but it's all connected.
I will admit, I kept seeing flashes from Natural Born Killers in my head as I read this, but Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love trades the satire and the sensationalism for sentiment and sincerity. This is a story not of spectacle, but of spirit, and that intimacy (along with Yardley's almost-poetic narrative) is what makes it work.