The Apocalypse Door Hardcover – Nov 9 2002
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
After reading the first dozen pages, I was rather disappointed. I kept telling myself, "Oh, well, at least I bought it used," but even so I was tempted to bawl out the... Read morePublished on May 15 2003 by T Galazka
This novel is supposed to be a funny satire, but it reads, despite the humor, much like Kurtz's Adept novels or Reave's Hell on Earth or Zicree et al's Magic Time. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2002 by Arthur W Jordin