Left Behind - Book Series
Left Behind is a book series that's been out for a while (first published in 1995, re: ) and I guess I either missed it or was never interested when it came out back then. I just by chance was introduced to it by a friend and co-worker. Left Behind - A Novel Of The Earth's Last Days
Now just as a warning, the books are very religious. A very basic synopsis is this: God raptures the Earth taking all the believers and the story starts from there. Now, I won't consider myself religious at all. I'm pretty much agnostic and remain so. However, the books (12 books in general, with additional add-ons, spin-offs and such) much a compelling argument for why you should believe. My personal views remain unaffected after reading the first two books (Left Behind and Tribulation Force ), and saw it as just an interesting story.
This is going to be a general review, because I encourage anyone who has an extra few hours and a library card to give the books a shot. As I described above, the first book is entitled Left Behind and starts with an airline pilot named, Rayford Steele, flying a commercial flight from New York to London. During the flight a discovery is made; nearly half of the passengers on the flight are gone. Not just gone, but missing entirely. What makes it odder, is all their wordly possessions have been left on their seats; i.e. clothes, jewelry, even fillings and hearing aids and they can't be found anywhere. The flight is in the middle of the Atlantic when this happens and I guess back in 1995 this was a deadzone for radio commercials. So Rayford is left to figure out what's going on and the story ensues!
At this point we're introduced to characters Cameron 'Buck' Williams , an editor for a large magazine and Haddie Durham , the lead flight attendant on the flight piloted by Rayford . I don't want to give away too much, but the first book is very intriguing (even for an agnostic). This first book only takes place over perhaps several weeks and progresses extremely quickly (especially for a book 400+ pages).
The way the book has been written it's predictable what the plot and story is going to be, but in a good way. The plot is obvious, however, there is more emphasis on character development then on the actual plot really going forward (which is why it's so long yet only covers several weeks of time in the story line). For me, I found this fun. I was more worried about the individual characters and their development, than the actual plot.
However, the first book Left Behind kind of ends abruptly. I'd imagine that would be hugely irritating if you had gotten the book back in 1995 and had to wait a full year before the second book came out. However, since the series is well over a decade old, as soon as I finished the first book I hopped right onto the next book, Tribulation Force .
In the second book, Tribulation Force , the story gets much more detailed and the characters are further studied, detailed and built upon. I don't want to give away too much, since it may ruin the first book (Left Behind) for you, however, the main characters from the first book are intertwined even more and you begin to see where the series truly is going. The second book introduced several additional characters, that I presume continue on in the series while also eliminating a few characters from the first book.
Now, I've only read Left Behind and Tribulation Force so far, so I can only guess were the series is going, however, from what I've read I've enjoyed it so far! The books can get overly religious (which I think is Tim Lahaye's point) but it's quite easy to ignore and to look at in a purely fictional or pseudo-fictional light (the books are supposedly based on bible passages and teachings, however I didn't take the time to actually check any of that. For all I know they could be quoting from the Koran. Doesn't affect the story though.).
Anyways, I think I have rambled on enough to suggest you try this series out. You can get the books nearly anywhere. At last count, at least 65 million copies of the series have been sold. So a friend may even let you borrow the book, or you can pick up a copy at the library or you can even buy the books online for really cheap used (I've provided the links to Amazon for the first ten books below).