The Ninth Generation by indie author John L. Owens is a novelization of the Biblical story of the first few generations of man after the fall in the Garden of Eden and before the flood. Owens has taken a brief section of the book of Genesis and brought it to life with pictures of what life might have been like in that period. The book opens with Methuselah leading his family through difficult times in which Nephilim are stealing the daughters of men and demanding grain shipments to feed their voracious appetites.
Here’s the official blurb:
Before the birth of Noah, in a land of primordial beauty…an unusual darkness descends… and daughters begin to disappear. Angelic watchers transgress sacred boundaries and unleash a race of half-human giants – the Nephilim. Within a tree village, Methuselah’s family suffers tragedy, and a son – the ninth from Adam – rises up. Vengeance turns to wisdom as Enoch prepares Lameck to be a conqueror. An unlikely ally joins him on the desperate journey which threatens to end at a river temple with Leviathan, but a tunnel takes them to a mysterious island with its own terror…and the palace of the gods. Lameck discovers Lucifer’s plan but escape is blocked and time is running out. All future hope rests in the ancient truth, inscribed on a tablet still missing…the survival of the human race and all creation.
The Ninth Generation is undoubtedly a Christian book and makes no apology to that effect. Nor should it. In the book, Owens has successfully captured the feeling of a full relationship with God. For example, here is one quote from the book:
Stretching his hands upon the earth floor, he groaned deeply. There were times when no words could express his thoughts and emotions. But he knew that his Maker, the One with absolute knowledge of him, was able to understand and interpret. Enoch’s cries were never ignored and an indescribable sense of love and peace would often flood his being. He had the inner assurance that Holy God, the Almighty Creator of the universe and Father of his soul was not only listening but present and waiting to respond.
Some of my favorite lines convey one main theme of the book–the sinful nature of man and God’s judgement:
“Were the angels to blame for leaving their given domain, or man for believing and following a lie?” Enoch considered the question but concluded that all had fallen. All were equally guilty and no one had escaped the effects.
While the dialog in the beginning of the book was a bit stilted at times, this mostly disappeared somewhere near the middle of the book and I found the book flowed well from that point on.
Owens has graciously granted an interview, as follows:
As best as I can calculate, the year for the novel was 3,017 B.C., the same year that Enoch vanished. A lot of mystery surrounds the record of this epic period – involving angels, giants, leviathan, and people of great age. I suppose the project started with a desire to imagine the fascinating pre-flood earth, and to explore the mystery of Genesis 6 – those references to the Nephilim – what it was like living at that time. The protagonist turned out to be Noah’s father, Lameck, whose name means “conqueror”, and his mentor, his own grandfather, Enoch – the one who walked with God. Teaching at a high-school and having a teenage son had given me a heart for communicating critical spiritual truths in a way that would be fast moving and entertaining – a unique adventure. But it had to be far more. The Ninth Generation: Conquering the Giants was a project not just initiated, but executed through prayer. This was vital for the foundational truths to be woven into the story. It also helped to have the encouragement of friends and a family business that allowed the creative time necessary for such a book.
I see you and your family served as missionaries in the former USSR as well as pastors in the United States. How did these experiences affect the writing of The Ninth Generation?
There were things I had studied about faith and God’s provision within the Bible, but until we left our world behind and stepped onto the plane with our infant son headed to Latvia (and two years later moved to Moscow), they were only theoretical truths. I discovered that surrender and availability brings understanding of God’s will – a necessary key to writing from the heart. Such experiences definitely helped me later to envision what my characters felt when facing dangers and disappointments, and the ageless pathways employed by people of faith. Russians are by nature more intense and aggressive than most cultures, which translates into highly-charged worship among the converted – it was a fresh and vital experience. They were so expressive of their love that they even brought flowers in sub-zero winter. Discovering our worldwide family in Christ was invaluable.
I also see you mentioned your father was a wordsmith. What kind of influence did he have on your writing?
The memory of my father seated with a behemoth dictionary at his side was enough to remind me to carefully choose the right word. His poetic gift, disciplined work ethic and sense of humor probably continue to influence me more than I realize.
Who are your favorite authors and how have they affected your writing?
Frank Peretti played a most significant part in showing me how spiritual warfare can effectively work within a novel. Another was Dr. Henry M. Morris in his exposition of Genesis from a scientific perspective. Others are Randy Alcorn, Joel Rosenberg and Victor Hugo (Les Miserables).
Are you working on any new projects or ministries?
The Ninth Generation embraces an ancient people and an epic period bracketed by creation and the flood, not the sort of book that starts a series. It was one of a kind. At this time I have no plans for another but that’s not to say it won’t happen. I love to write and am experimenting with articles on various online sites. I see it all as ministry.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?
I would enjoy any comments or questions, even if it involves a controversial area of Biblical interpretation. In my research for the novel, I gleaned as much as I could first from the Old and New Testaments, then also delved into the Books of Enoch and a few other apocryphal works in an attempt to better understand the antediluvian age and the mysterious references to the Nephilim. Although the story is classified as fiction, I believe that it might well have happened.
How can readers find you on the web and order a copy of The Ninth Generation?
The website for the novel is www.TheNinthGeneration.com. There is more information with some helpful links for previewing and purchasing, readers’ reviews, and contact information on that site. The novel is available through the publisher, Xulon Press, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, and any local bookstore with online connections.
My thanks to John Owens for providing me a PDF for review.