Anne Perry,
Come Armageddon
(Ace, 2003)

Tathea is an immortal that has spent the last 500 years in Hirioth, located on the Island at the Edge of the World. When she finally leaves Hirioth, the end of the world will begin. Armed with a mysterious staff and the unopened Book of the Word of God, it will be her duty to find warriors of virtue to defeat Asmodeus and his legion of the damned. What Tathea must realize is that time is not on her side....

You might think Come Armageddon by Anne Perry is your basic end-of-the-world story. Well, in many ways it is. BUT, it's still entertaining! There are plenty of surprises and interesting insights into end-time attitudes. Perry manages to throw in a surprise or two, as well as an occasional touching moment.

Actually, Come Armageddon is a sequel to the 2002 novel Tathea. No worries about starting with the second book -- not having read the previous work, I didn't find that to be a hindrance to enjoying the latter. (Actually, I found some of the characters rather interesting and might check out Tathea some time.)

As I said before, the storyline is your apocalyptic yarn with a fantasy tendency. The soon-to-end world in this case is a pre-industrial version of Western Europe and Northern Africa. The events occurring in this world are properly epic and grand, but it does eventually result in a whittling down of the characters to a final battle. (Think of it as an NCAA bracket with the predictable final round being Tathea vs. Asmodeus.)

Fortunately, the plot is not the crux of the book; it is the transcendent qualities of the characters that solidify the novel. Perry has created characters with depth that are well fleshed and a joy to read. They are individuals with unique personalities, each earning the reader's sympathy for their plights. Perry uses each personality as a tool to explore particular facets of faith and human spirituality.

Whether it's a supposedly simple concept such as fear or something more complex like understanding the point of suffering for your faith, the concept serves a purpose in the plot while triggering a potential for discussion. That is exactly what makes this book successful. If you want a good fantasy story with plenty of action, this book will suffice. If you seek a deeper-reaching work of fiction bordering on introspective religious studies, then you've still got the right book. The depth is there if you want it. All you have to do is pick up Come Armageddon and see how deep you want to go.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 7 February 2004

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