In The Final Hour, the 347-page fourth and final novel in the Homelander’s series, Andrew Klavan presents a compelling, honest, and decidedly masculine story of what confronting evil, living true to your beliefs, and emerging victorious looks like. The beginning of the novel feels as if you’ve stepped onto an airport walkway moving at ninety-miles-an-hour and you have to run just to stay on your feet. The book ends with a Reading Group Guide, giving the reader time to stop and catch his breath and ponder the truths described in the novel.
Though the book is understandable on its own it is worth the time to read the three novels prior to this one, The Last Thing I Remember, The Long Way Home, and The Truth of the Matter. The series tells the story of Charlie West, an all-American teenager who fell asleep one night and awoke strapped in a chair, the captive of radical Islamists seeking to destroy the western world and in particular, America. Reading the series entire is enjoyable first of all and secondly it is an education in how to write simply and well and create a truthful, encouraging story that is nearly impossible to put down once it’s begun.
The novel has no table of contents and its short chapters compel the reader to continue to the next chapter and then the next, and suddenly you’ve read the whole thing and it’s three o’clock on a work day morning. Description and dialogue use short almost choppy sentences that convey simplicity, honesty, and urgency.
The Final Hour is a story of the battle of good against evil, where good is clearly defined as a morally clean, upright American life well-lived, and evil is radical Islam which seeks above all else to destroy that which professes faith in God and country. To the enemy, Charlie West represents the Great Satan, and the story clearly favors America and her Christian-inspired culture. It is understood rather than overt that Charlie West’s Christian faith is the foundation for his behavior. His karate sensei, or teacher, Mike, is also a believer, though again the emphasis in this novel and throughout the series is not specifically Christian men, but the example of good men, living well and honestly, faithful to and willing to fight for their beliefs, their families, their communities, and their country.
The book is decidedly masculine and is an excellent example of honorable behavior for both young men and young women, and for those of us who are older as well. The passion for family and country is encouraging and uplifting. The clear distinction between right and wrong and good and evil is a refreshing alternative to the postmodern denial of objective truth we have forced upon us from the popular culture.
The only weakness of the novel is that the characters sound a lot alike, but this is a minor point and in no way detracts from a delightful, compelling novel where the good guys win and evil is, at least for the time being, defeated.
This book was given to me free of charge by booksneeze.com (Thomas Nelson Publishers) in exchange for an honest review.