Title: Green: Book Zero: The Beginning and the End
Author: Ted Dekker
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called…Green.
But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest.
Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath.
But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter’s cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all.
Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to GREEN. Book Zero.”
Thoughts: This was the final selection for the INSPYs for speculative fiction and is the novel that eventually one. The brilliance of Green lies in its premise. It begins and ends the series, making it either the first or last novel to read in the Circle series. While it may seem initially confusing, it actually works quite well, as it either sets the stage for future stories or sums up previous stories very well.
That which made it brilliant also gave it a rather interesting message. In fact, from this idea of a circle, one could conclude that mankind is doomed to repeat its same mistakes over and over again. When talking about faith, this is not necessarily the most hopeful message, but it does reiterate the importance of free will.
Even more important, the idea of faith elements being physical becomes a key point in the story. Ironically, even with being able to physically see, hear, touch, and taste certain aspects of Elyon, Hunter’s group still struggles to believe wholeheartedly in His goodness. If they struggle, even after physical manifestations of Elyon’s love and benevolence, what does that mean for modern-day humanity? If seeing and believing is not enough, then how does one truly believe?
As is to be expected in any novel that is the beginning of a series, there are many unanswered questions. Because Green is also the end of the series, the reader only catches glimpses of those answers, which can be frustrating at times. Also, because it is setting up the rest of the series, much of the novel is spent in the future, creating this new world and introducing us to characters that play key roles in the events to come. This makes it more difficult to understand at times than a typical science fiction novel. Still, there is plenty of food for thought about the possibilities behind those questions and hinted-at answers, allowing the reader to contemplate the ideas behind Mr. Dekker’s novel.
While not my favorite novel of the five, Green did make me curious how the story circles around as it does. I remain unconvinced that this idea of life as one big never-ending circle is the most positive message one could hope to learn. It was a welcome change from the more technology-based novels in the speculative fiction category, and the fact that Mr. Dekker was able to make the idea of a circle in a literary series work so well makes it a stand-out novel for the category.