Green: The Circle-Book Zero
by Ted Dekker
Green by Ted Dekker is subtitled “The Circle – Book Zero – The Beginning and The End.” The book’s description say the reader can begin reading The Circle series with Green, or read it as the end of the series. Maybe it works to end the series, but it doesn’t work as the beginning book.
The opening prologue and chapters introduce a future world that has been brought back to an uncivilized state with bands of people roaming forest and deserts. The reader also meets the religious people and their enemies, along with the deity Elyon. The conflict between good and evil is set.
Suddenly though the scene, setting, characters, and story change. I muddled through some chapters that were set in the present wondering if a chapter from another book had been accidently bound in this hardcover. One character from the beginning is mentioned in this unconnected chapter. Just as quickly, the story goes back to the future.
Throughout the book, the reader is thrown back in time to what seems to be a different story with a few of the same characters. Although I was tempted to skip the present chapters, I keep reading them to try and tie this story line to the main futuristic apocalyptic story. Didn’t happen.
Unlike most series, Dekker doesn’t provide the reader with sufficient context to tie the whole story together. The reader has a few choices: Skip the chapters that don’t fit the current tale. Go buy and read the other three books of the series, which according to Dekker’s website begins with Black. Use the money on another book. I recommend the third option.
Had Dekker left out the pointless time travel, the future tale of good and evil would have been a good read. I guess the time travel is important if you’ve read the other three books of the series. In reading Green as the beginning of The Circle, there is no context for it.
The thin illusions to Biblical references are relevant only to readers who know what they mean. As a Christian I understand “drowning” in the red the lake. A non-Christian may not. I know from my study of the Bible that Elyon is Eloheim of the Old Testament. A causal reader may not.
Not having this knowledge doesn’t ruin the story. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was written vaguely to attract a Christian audience while being vague enough to not put off a general audience.
Admittedly this is the first Dekker novel I’ve read. I didn’t find the story or writing so compelling that I’d return for more. If another of his novels floats my way, I’ll skip it unless it is truly the first of a series.
Thomas Nelson Publishers