Artificial intelligence gone wrong — that’s the basis of this faith-based sci-fi thriller.
Abigail Caldwell, a missionary daughter raised in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, flees her home for the first time to get medical help for her dying village besieged by a strange disease. But helps comes too late and at the age of 34, she travels to the United States for the first time, only to find that Christianity is now a dead religion there. And yet, she feels it her calling to renew America’s faith in God.
Complicating matters is an artificial intelligence expert who has found a way to download the human brain into a silicon form, thus ensuring the person virtual immortality. The big question is whether a person loses their spirit when they lose their biological brain.
Historian Creighton Daniels finds himself pulled with Abby into a race of life or death when they begin to question the methods and goals of the men behind the artificial intelligence technology.
In The Last Christian, author David Gregory employs an interesting technique of presenting both first- and third-person points of view. While most first-person books I’ve read are told completely in that person’s voice, this book varies from that model. Instead, we get an interesting blend of a story told from a third-person point of view, with the exception of Creighton Daniels, whose story is told directly from his point of view.
This technique works well in The Last Christian, allowing the reader to see the story from the outside. Somehow, though, the author does a good job of letting us also see inside the mind of one of the major characters — and what a mind it is.
The Last Christian is unapologetically a Christian novel. Through its pages, the author spells out in no uncertain terms what one must do to be a true believer in Jesus Christ. In addition, a second aspect of the book’s Christian themes revolves around the need for those who are already believers to examine their own walk with God, to determine for themselves who is in charge of their faith. Does the Christian believe they must try to be the best Christian they can, to take up the responsibility to perform the best they can, to help God spread the gospel?
At first blush, this doesn’t sound wrong, but when this philosophy is held up against one that places God in charge (not the person, but God), it falls flat. I believe what the author is trying to say is: (1) all mankind is in need of a Savior, and (2) that Savior, Jesus Christ, wants to give us life, wants us to rest in him, to trust him to guide us rather than take that task upon ourselves. As Christ himself said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:30)
The Last Christian by David Gregory
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Date: May 2010
Paperback, 416 pages
List Price: $14.99
Fore more information, here is my Amazon affiliate link: The Last Christian
David Gregory’s Website: http://www.davidgregorybooks.com
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book for review purposes.
Note added 1/31/11: This contest is now closed. A winner has been chosen.