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The Illuminati by Larry Burkett
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The Illuminati

by Larry Burkett

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This, weirdly, was one of the formative books of my elementary-school years. No, it's not a young adult book. I was just a weird kid.

The year was 1992. I was nine years old, and two months into fifth grade. My parents had just moved us to a new house, which meant a new school, and the kids in my class were about to spend three days taking a standardized test-- the same standardized test I had taken a couple of weeks before at my old school. The new school obviously thought it would be dandy if I would consent just to take the test again, but I refused. So for three days, I sat in the principal's office and read while my classmates clutched No. 2 pencils and stared at row after row of scantron bubbles.

Don't ask why I wasn't allowed to stay home instead of sitting in the principal's office, because I have no idea. But in those days, I didn't really care where I was sitting as long as I was allowed to read. Yes, I say "allowed" to read, because I read so much that my mother would occasionally tear the book out of my hands in exasperation, hoping to jolt me into participating in conversation at the dinner table. The woman who cut my hair when I was growing up told me later that she was always terrified that my hair would come out noticeably crooked, because I insisted on having my head bent down toward my book during my haircuts.

Back to the story. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, hanging out in the school administrative offices at age 9 with a book approximately the size of my head. But this book blew me away. I was riveted. Fascinated. It was, now that I think about it, probably my very first step into a dystopian future. I remember astonishing levels of detail, twenty years later, down to the year, make, and model of the car that figures into one of the escape scenes. (A 1993 Chevy Caprice, if you care, which you don't, because it is the epitome of trivial detail. Still, as a kid I loved the idea of a capricious car, which is probably why I remember it.)

This is the book that first taught me the word "tsunami," a word that no one else around me learned until 2004. This is the book that first caused me to think about how credit cards and debit cards could be used to track someone's movements. This is the book that first sent me fumbling in my pocket for a dollar bill, to examine for myself the weird eyeball on top of a pyramid that was pictured there. Finally, this is the book that is probably at the root of my tendency to develop mild crushes on computer nerds.

So twenty years later, I tip my hat to Larry Burkett. Thanks for writing a book that captivated me completely. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
I thought this book was thought-provoking and realistic, delving into the real-life possibilities and technical aspects of what might be 'the tibulation.' I thought it was both intelligent and frightening, and reminds the readers that what once happened to the Jews before the holocaust could someday happen to the Christians. ( )
  BeckahRah | Jul 7, 2010 |
It is interesting that in the author's acknowledgments he said that his sincere desire was to make "good, non-offensive fiction" available to the public, considering this novel is neither good nor non-offensive.

Let's start with the offensive part since that was the first thing I noticed. This book is fundamentalist, conservative, anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-ACLU Christian propaganda. I have no problem with Christian fiction and read quite a bit of it, but I do not take kindly to the ACLU, homosexuals, or pro-choice people being clearly aligned on the side of evil. Case in point - when the head of the "NCLU" (the fictional stand in for the ACLU) is promoted to attourney general, the pastor main character says something like, "now I REALLY know we are fighting against the side of evil." People protesting for gay rights are frequently described as trouble makers of various sorts, and their symbol is an upside down cross, as an anti-Christian symbol.

As for the writing and plot, there was a lot to be desired. I enjoy a good thriller, especially one of the conspiracy theory persuasion, which is why I picked up this book in the first place. This one was not good. The plot was set in the author's future and our past - written in 1991, takes place in 2001. However, there was a lot of historical information to fill in (from 1991 to 2001), so many of the events in the book took place in the past. Those parts were dry and disjointed. There are also so many characters. Instead of a few main characters or a small ensemble, there were far too many characters. They were always getting killed or carted off somewhere and it became very hard to keep track of them all. Sometimes they would pop back into the story, but sometimes they would pop back into the story 100's of pages later so I couldn't remember exactly who they were. The dialog was terrible. I had to laugh sometimes. And some lines were extremely cheesy - for example, "Randy left the cabin feeling like he had just received the Nobel Peace Price - only from the Lord."

By the last third or so of the book, I realized that it was just a big preachy bit of propaganda. Aside from the whole "gays are bad" aspect, it just got really preachy at the end. And this coming from a Christian! But I suppose since I support gay marriage and don't think abortion is necessarily murder, maybe the author thinks I need to still be saved. Ugh. ( )
3 vote stacyinthecity | Feb 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0840776853, Paperback)

The year is 2001 and the world is on the brink of economic collapse as the Illuminati, a deadly secret organization, succeeds in placing one of its people in the office of the presidency of the United States, thus gaining control of world events.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

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