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The Apocalypse Door [Hardcover]

James D. Macdonald
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 9 2002
Peter Crossman is a man with a mission . . . and his boss is literally out of this world.

His world is a dangerous place . . . and it’s Peter Crossman’s job to protect it. Men of the cloth can only do so much. Against ancient evils, you need the ancient strength of faith. That’s where Peter Crossman, Knight Templar in modern America, comes in. Crossman’s world is yours and mine. Governments and businesses squabble, people go out for coffee, folks meet and fall in love, and the Red Sox will win the World Series when Hell freezes over. But that last just might happen if Crossman doesn’t get his latest assignment right.

The Apocalypse Door is a spy story with a truly unique twist. On a routine mission from his order to discover the whereabouts of some missing UN peacekeepers, Peter Crossman discovers a plot that points to the uncovering of a very unholy artifact. An object of such power that it might very well open a portal to damnation and beyond, bringing some unsavory people a whole lot of power . . . or bring about the destruction of the universe.

And with the unlooked-for aid of Sister Mary Magdalene of the Special Action Executive of the Poor Clares, Peter Crossman will begin a journey to try and track down just what is being unleashed in the world and try like hell to stop it . . . or maybe stopping Hell here on Earth is more like it.

But, fortunately, demonic magic isn’t the only source of Power in the world . . . and Peter Crossman’s power comes from Above.

The Apocalypse Door is a smart, funny, and sexy spy caper with a touch of the sacred from a very talented writer.

You like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Or want to be her?
Then The Apocalypse Door is for you. . . .

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A dash of medieval mystery adds zest to this inventive melange of hard-boiled thriller and speculative fantasy. The refreshingly original hero, Peter Crossman, is an Inner Temple soldier in the Knights Templar, an order of paramilitary priests that has existed covertly since its presumed dismantling in the 14th century. Although he's used to challenging missions, Peter's latest proves a doozy when a tip on the whereabouts of a missing U.N. peacekeeping team leads him to a warehouse in Newark and a crate of living mushrooms that appear to flinch at the sign of the cross. Peter and his partner Simon later stumble on the gruesomely mutilated bodies of their confederates and wind up in the hands of the Teutonic Knights, a heretical rival sect whose figurehead, a brazen talking effigy, is the otherworldly key to past and present intrigues that have bedeviled Peter and his order. The jolts and torques of the roller-coaster plot are completely unpredictable, but Macdonald sets them up credibly, with subtly deployed clues and skillful misdirection of the reader to supernatural explanations for crucial plot developments. The Knights Templar angle also gives events an interesting moral dimension and a distinctive focus for the development of Peter's character through the unique obligations it creates (such as having to give absolution to an assassin preparing to kill him in an early scene). Though other novels have blended mysticism, mystery and fantasy, few have done it as smartly or succinctly as this one.with his wife, Debra Doyle, under the pseudonym J.D. Macdonald.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When a UN peacekeeping force goes missing, agent Peter Crossman, a modern-day Knight Templar, must find it. Joined by Simon, his apprentice, and Maggie, a professional assassin and a member of the Order of Poor Claires, Crossman uncovers information leading to a diabolical scheme to open a gate to hell. The author, who co-writes the "Mageworlds" series with wife Debra Doyle, applies his bare-bones style to a fast-paced tale of supernatural intrigue featuring hard-as-nails heroes on a literal mission from God. A good choice for most libraries.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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When Dante Alighieri wrote his guided tour of Hell one of the stops was the infernal city of Dis: the home of Pandemonium, all of the demons. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Perhaps that is a universal axiom that all of us should not ignore. For example, I never think to consider exploring within the fantasy/thriller genre. I don't know why this is. I read other things; so many books, so little time, I guess.
After reading Apocalypse Door, I feel somewhat foolish, as though I've wasted time being so narrow in my previous reading choices. All I can say is, it was a fun ride, full of twists and turns and dotted with intriguing references that immediately made me desire to dig further.
Right off the bat, the premise of a Priest/Knight Templar/Covert Agent knocked me off axis. Throw in a Nun/Hit Person and I felt as though I'd been cast off into unknown territory without familiar signposts to guide me home. Although a working knowledge of the Book of Revelation gave me at least a leg up. From the first page I admit I felt a certain discomfort and yet I couldn't stop reading it. Consumed almost entirely in one lazy Sunday afternoon, I was forced, by circumstances, to stop just short of the last chapter. A week later, freed to resume, I finished up with absolutely no clue how the author would clean up the mess and satisfy my need for a clean wrap. By the last page I was not only no longer uncomfortable but I was compelled to do some research about the references to the Knights Templar so cleverly used by the author to weave his intricate story.
I have a good track record for visualizing certain works of fiction as screenplays. I've done it before, casually thinking to myself, "I'll see this one on the big screen one day."
This is one of those works. I've already cast the characters. I see Pierce Brosnan possibly Bruce Willis as the protag Peter Crossman and possibly Angelina Jolie as Sister Mary Magdalene.
Read it for yourself and tell me I'm wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Adventure May 3 2003
By A Customer
When I first saw this book on the shelves and saw that the hero was a monk, and he was teamed with a pretty nun, I put it back. It's become such a cliche in the last thirty years to throw together people who have a religious calling, have them lose faith (and their brains) before the unsurmountable power of sex.
Several friends told me I was dead wrong about this one--that the characters, and the story, are impossible to predict. I am so glad I listened!
This is a very well written story, the heroes are intelligent, funny, complex (Peter Crossman is especially complex, as you find out through the snips of his backstory)--and their religion is real. In these days when bashing Christianity scores easy PC points, this book was particularly refreshing, especially as there was no hint of moralizing or preaching. Yet the deep, very deep, moral underpinnings are there, glimmering hints of the numinous amid the splendid adventure.
If you like action, CIA skulduggery, aliens, supernatural lightning strikes into the mundane world of spies and thugs and heroes and heroines, told with style and humor--there were times I laughed out loud--then try this book.
I hope Mr. Macdonald intends to write more. The ending seemed open enough for Peter Crossman and Maggie, the nun with a gun, to strike once again against evil!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Innovative but confusing March 17 2003
Peter Crossman is one of the thirty and three holy knights for the Knights Templar, and he and his apprentice/partner, Simon, are trying to track down a missing U.N. team in a Newark warehouse. Instead of men, he finds mushrooms, and not just ordinary mushrooms. These little fungi flinch at his cross. Then a nun from Peter's past shows up behind his table in a bar, confessing she has come to kill him. Because he's a priest, he must accept her confession and he can tell no one afterward -- not even when he finds his contact dead outside, his face sliced off. And if that isn't enough trouble, soon he's got the CIA, some Teutonic Knights, more mushrooms, and a talking brass head to contend with. Even a holy knight might have some trouble with all that.
Although THE APOCALYPSE DOOR is supposed to be a fast paced thriller/fantasy combo, I found it only a skimpily plotted thriller/fantasy confusion. The chapters alternate between Peter Crossman in his present day role as a Knight and Peter Crossman back when he was Michael on a mission for the CIA. While the story from the past (set in a jungle with Michael looking for a missing man, only to be captured himself and tortured) moves along quickly and grabbed my interest, the present day action often lost me with twists and turns too poorly explained, characters with motivations I could not understand, and an immature writing style littered with cliches. The religious aspect is interesting (even to someone who knows little about Catholicism), but at times Peter's faith seemed more like something he used than actually believed. And as for the satire -- I am sure the author's intention was to poke fun of the CIA and kin, but he did so in a fashion I totally missed.
While THE APOCALYPSE DOOR is refreshingly different -- I can't help but want to like a book that throws the CIA and holy knights into the same mix -- it unfortunately doesn't deliver what it promises. Fantasy/thriller, yes. An intriguing story, no.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but illogical Dec 31 2002
Knight Templar Peter Crossman's task should be easy. Infiltrate a New Jersey warehouse, discover if missing U.N. peacekeepers are being held there, and report back to the Temple. Instead of peacekeepers, though, Crossman finds mushrooms that recoil from the cross, a beautiful assassin/nun, and hints that the end of time is at hand.
Author James D. Macdonald keeps the action moving, as Crossman and his sidekicks try to stay ahead of the CIA, the Teutonic Knights, and an alien race from another dimension. In a secondary story, Crossman's earlier, pre-priest, history is recalled. Macdonald's writing is slick and keeps the pages turning. I am concerned, however, about logic problems. Crossman's opponents are, presumably, not stupid. Yet they fail to take advantage of numerous opportunities to simply kill him and have him out of the way. Then there's the matter of the brass statue. Why did it call itself to Crossman's attention?
A story that postulates the continued secret existance of the long-banned Knights Templar, of the Teutonic Knights, and of assassin nuns can't be all bad and THE APOCALYPSE DOOR isn't. The character of Peter Crossman is nicely drawn and his faith feels genuine. I found his dilemma while taking an assassin/nun's confession to be especially moving.
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