The Ruach Project
E. Forrest Hein
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The Ruach Project

E. Forrest Hein
Xulon Press
248 pages
October 2001
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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There's no doubt that a hunger burns in the American reading masses for put-the-fear-of-God-into-you, Rapture-related, on-the-brink-of-the-Apocalypse fiction. The Remnant, the tenth installation in Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins' blockbuster fundamentalist Christian "Left Behind" series, was the Number Three hottest selling item on just two days after its release. A week and a half earlier, the series was featured on the cover and inside Time magazine in conjunction with a piece on the cultural fascination with the End Times.

Curled Up With a Good BookThat's exactly the vein E. Forrest Hein taps in his first novel, The Ruach Project, if to somewhat less effect than LaHaye and Jenkins.  Whatever Hein's debut might lack, however, it's certainly not startling plot developments. It begins with a bang - or, more precisely, the sound of a rushing wind. Heard 'round the world, the sound's source is a mystery to all, but it is definitely the harbinger of disaster in late January of 2008. Millions of people, mostly children younger than eight years old, disappear - literally - without a trace. It's an occurrence that almost overshadows the devastating earthquakes and firestorms leaving northern California an unsalvageable wasteland, or the incredible turn of events halfway across the globe, where the Chinese army has taken over a neighboring parcel of the former Soviet Union.

The shocking concurrent events throw the White House administration into a flurry of damage assessment and control. Already slipping out of favor with American voters, President John Barry is hard-pressed to meet the overwhelming challenges of his office and begins the downward spiral into alcoholic escape. The FBI and his advisors, Cabinet and speechwriters step up, searching for the truth of what's happening to the world and finding a surprising and world-altering answer that is at least a marriage of science and religion, if not an acquiescence of science to religion.

The Ruach Project is open-ended, leaving room for its planned sequel, The Tribulation Clock. If Hein can clean up the editorial miscues like the unnecessary capitalizations, misused words, and clunky instances of exposition cluttering the clarity of his first time up at the fiction plate, he'll find he's on track.

© 2002 by Sharon Schulz-Elsing for Curled Up With a Good Book

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