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Daybell, "Martial Law: Volume 2 of 'Times of Trouble'" (reviewed by Jeffrey Needle) Options · View
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 6:36:16 AM

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Title: Martial Law: Volume 2 of "Times of Trouble"
Author: Chad Daybell
Publisher: Spring Creek Book Company
Genre: Fiction
Year Published: 2013
Number of Pages: 167
Binding: Trade paperback
ISBN13: 978-1-932898-99-6
Price: $14.95

Reviewed by Jeffrey Needle for the Association for Mormon Letters

Back in 2012, I reviewed the first volume in this series (found at http://forums.mormonletters.org/yaf_postst1306_Daybell-Evading-BabylonTimes-of-Turmoil-Book-One-reviewed-by-Jeffrey-Needle.aspx). I liked the first volume, and looked forward to the next installment.

When the author appeared at the recent LDS Booksellers expo, I was delighted. And yes, the next volume was available for readers to enjoy. I accepted a copy with high hopes for this continuing saga. I wasn't disappointed.

There are several centers of attention in this ongoing story. One revolves around the lives of two young people, Nathan Foster and his girl friend, Marie Shaw. Caught in a maelstrom of misery caused not just by natural disasters but by government intrusion and monitoring, Marie, who in volume one accepted an internship in Chicago, much to the distress of her parents and Nathan, is hiding from forces out to destroy her. Nathan sets out to find her and bring her home.

Another story line focuses on Marie's father, Aaron. He is working as something of a double agent -- he is employed by the government helping to monitor citizens' compliance with a federal order to have a chip implanted in the hand. But he's also reporting back to the Church, whose leadership has counselled its people to not accept the chip. Many LDS families have evacuated the Wasatch front to camps set up by the Church. Trouble? You bet!

Other characters populate this story, but the reader will, I think, be most interested in Nathan and Marie's quest to reach Nauvoo, where there is relative safety. On the way, they encounter all kinds of people, including a protestant gathering where they are welcomed warmly. Most interestingly, Nathan discovers the awesome powers of the priesthood as he is able to facilitate healings and, in one instance, a dramatic rescue.

Readers must be prepared to suspend their critical faculties before diving into any work of apocalyptic fiction. In order to fill out a story, authors must often present situations and characters which, when studied closely, raise more questions than they answer. For example, in the story, Nathan is able to use his priesthood powers to bring about some amazing miracles. One wonders why the accumulated priesthood powers in Salt Lake City were unable to prevent the city's destruction! In a recent visit to Temple Square, two very nice missionaries related to me and my guests a story about hurricane passing through the Salt Lake area. Suddenly, it parted in two, sparing Temple Square! Huh? Funny I hadn't heard that story before. If modern Mormons can keep a hurricane from leveling Temple Square, why couldn't the elders in this book keep Salt Lake from being razed?

Yeah, we ask these questions. It's a problem when reading books like this. What you want to do is just sit back, enjoy the story, and learn gospel principles from the story's characters. And Daybell does an exceptional job of bringing these to life in these stories. And make no mistake: books like this would be the poorer if they didn't include scenes that build faith and create a desire in the reader to become more involved, not just in Church and family, but in the wider world, where Christian influence is so badly needed.

One word, with a raised eyebrow. Daybell has chosen to include, at the close of the book, a chapter from a work by a Suzanne Freeman. I was unfamiliar with this author. She has written a book titled "The Spirit of Liberty" in which she claims to have met the Founding Fathers in the Spirit World. Daybell's excerpt from the book contains warnings and counsel from the Fathers, things they want us all to know. Generally, I'm a skeptic about such reports. And I remain skeptical that Freeman actually experienced these encounters. But I don't own her book. Perhaps we'll track it down and have one of our reviewers give it a read.

So now I wait another year to find out how the story ends up. I look forward to it. If you enjoy an uplifting and exciting gospel-based tale, these books will serve you very well. Enjoy!
Jeffrey Needle
Association for Mormon Letters
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