I remember This Present Darkness with fondness from my early mid teen years While some may disdainfully complain that Peretti is nothing but a fantasy writer for Christians and that his works cause the easily influenced to see demons behind every tree, in my opinion he does the church a service by reminding us of the supernatural forces which actually are at work in our world and which many of us have done out best to forget in this modern era Do they function exactly as Peretti describes No, I am certain they don t This is clearly fiction, and the author would not claim otherwise And I don t envy the line he has to walk between theology and story telling, fearmongering and faith Certainly there are going to be some slip ups, and equally certainly no single group of Christians is going to agree exactly where they are But there are undeniably some good principles behind the action, and a darned good story to boot I still recommend This Present Darkness and its sequel Piercing the Darkness to anyone looking for a good read and perhaps an eye opening glimpse into the spiritual forces beyond our ordinary perception. Written as a Christian science fiction or a Christian fantasy, this involved a behind the scenes war between angels and demons, taking place invisibly while Earthly struggles are taking place contiguously Obviously there is going to be a certain audience for this kind of fiction, but it was well written and entertaining. Christian fiction at its very best.Peretti doesn t make the mistake that a lot of other Christian authors make He doesn t ever stop telling his story to preach some valuable theological lesson Rather he weaves it seamlessly into the narrative The overarching theme of this book is the power of prayer But the story is straight out of a Stephen King novel A small town is under attack from dark forces, both in this world and in the spiritual realm The story is told from the points of view of humans and their angel protectors Truly fascinating Even if you think Christianity is a farce, this book still stands on its own.I will also say that the sequel Piercing the Darkness wasn t nearly as good. I read this some 15 years ago and still it resonates A great depiction of good v evil Angels v Demons Highly recommend For We Do Not Wrestle Against Flesh And Blood, But Against The Rulers, Against The Authorities, Against The Cosmic Powers Over This Present Darkness, Against The Spiritual Forces Of Evil In The Heavenly Places Ephesians Ashton Is Just A Typical Small Town But When A Skeptical Reporter And A Prayerful, Hardworking Pastor Begin To Investigate Mysterious Events, They Suddenly Find Themselves Caught Up In A Hideous New Age Plot To Enslave The Townspeople, And Eventually The Entire Human Race The Physical World Meets The Spiritual Realm As The Battle Rages Between Forces Of Good And EvilThis Present Darkness Is A Gripping Story That Brings Keen Insight Into Spiritual Warfare And The Necessity Of Prayer Since Its Original Publication Than Million Copies Have Been Sold The Companion Volume, Piercing The Darkness, Continues The Story Of The Battle Between Spiritual Forces Hands down, the most eye opening book I ve ever read that actually changed my views and outlook at everyday happenstance in the world I couldn t wait for the sequel but darn it It just did not stack up to the first Sure it s fiction but man..this particular fiction has become my fact by deliberate choice because for me there is no down side in doing so The book is a sparkler I passed it on to my husband, who couldn t put it down, then my son who also loved it and finally I convinced my non reader daughter to buckle down and read it She was not disappointed If you re a christian, Frank Peretti pulls away the curtains and give a view of what might be going on in the day to day goings on of angels in the upper and lower realms So enjoyable, so entertaining, so satisfying in the end O man can anyone come up with something to compare I had high hopes for the Left Behind series that crashed and burn when I couldn t get past the first chapter of the first book SO there it sits, on my shelf for treasured books only To be re read every few years until I die. This book was written in 1986, but I read it for the first time just recently There are some things about the book that seem a bit dated now, but at the time I m sure Frank Peretti was breaking new ground in a lot of ways.This book was written at a time when the big enemy to the church seemed to be the occult, and it exercising influence in American daily life, and surreptitiously leading Christians astray hence the main themes of the book.What this book did that was unique in its time was give a full on view of the spiritual warfare that happens all around us as we fight the good fight.I found the human characters engaging with a lot of depth They seemed, for the most part, totally unaware of the battles raging all around them.It was very easy to root for the angelic characters, and I enjoyed seeing how Mr Peretti described their militaristic tactics to win battles.The demonic characters were a despicable bunch, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever as one would expect But, they also had tactics of their own, and somehow expected victory against God s host.This book reminded me of how temporal and fleeting this life of the flesh really is.We must empower the ministering spirits that have been put in charge over us by praying and speaking words of authority in Christ I would encourage anyone, Christian or not, to read this book If you are looking for excellent Christian Fiction for young people, please try Vicki Silver Mysteries The Stolen Gem and Cruise Control by Alissa Wood. I didn t realize that this book was based on Fundamentalist Christianity when I downloaded it from Audible.com The story started out just like any science fiction fantasy book and then introduced a Christian component which I was perfectly fine with though I originally thought it was merely a basic good vs evil type story Being a C.S Lewis fan also of his Christian essays and books I didn t have any problem with the book until it started to demonized and vilify Eastern Mysticism Now many religions and philosophies fall under that umbrella and while it was never specifically stated it insinuated that, among other religions that strive to do good, Buddhism is anti Christian and even Satanic in nature which just isn t true Part of the reason I believe that it was Buddhism that was being rebuked is the importance of meditation, the reference to dragons described as dragons but written as demons which mean a different thing in Buddhism than it does in Christianity and several other practices I saw misinterpreted and maligned The book portrayed these aspects in a very ugly light and was often out and out incorrect in what the Buddhist practice is about Granted, Buddhism is non theist religion, but it isn t anti theist There is a big difference Western Buddhism often has no problem having od or Christ incorporated into its practices The 2,500 year old view is to be compassionate to every living thing There s also the Three Pure Precepts to not create evil, to practice good, and to actualize good for others Not very demonic in my book Saving the environment and animals that God created hardly seems to me a heretical or blasphemous act.The message about God and Christ would have been quite enlightening and influential if it weren t for the Eastern beliefs bashing which really turned me off from the book If it weren t for that I would have given the book 4 stars As it was well written for fantasy writing, and had a decent adventurous story line It would have been very easy for them to be a quiet satanic cult under the guise of Christianity which they did cover, but it satanism that uses, always, Eastern Mysticism or religion as its right arm Again, I would have liked it had it not equated Eastern Religions with Satanism One s failure to believe in God does not equate being evil There are many who are moral and ethical who believe different things or incorporate different aspects into their beliefs Hate is not what Jesus proposed but loving those who may not be awake in the manner in which you think they should. I must honestly admit first and foremost that this is a book I read many years ago and as such I cannot offer properly any views about the quality of writing That is except to admit while not the worst nor the greatest quality of writing Peretti is in my eyes a powerful story teller although I must admit in my view his Monster is in some aspects powerful and for what he I believe aimed to do his work is fine.This Present Darkness is in many ways a thriller but I do not believe that the thriller elements are the main focus of this novel Instead I believe it is the Christian message that Peretti aims to transmit through his work After all this is a Christian novel tackling the spiritual world.This Present Darkness focuses on showing how demonic influence affects the physical world through branching its story into two narratives The first addresses the issue of what is happening in the physical world The second reveals the background influence of angels and demons as they guide human beings in order to continue spiritual warfare.It is the spiritual aspect of this book that I love on the whole however Because the Bible from my point of view is quite clear on the fact that angels and demons do influence our world in many ways The power of prayer is revealed in various ways in this book and the power of Jesus name is also revealed I disagree with some ideas that this book makes Jesus name into just a magic word because I personally think that too few Christians understand the power in that name and that this book attempts to reveal the power I also disagree with the complaints I ve read about how Peretti aligns New Age mysticism and the demonic realm as it seems pretty clear to me how such things match up Peretti I believe attempts to show what is stated in Matthew 12 30 which is that He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters NIV An idea which applies to spiritual things such as the New Age Mysticism What Peretti attempts to show I believe is that such things open avenues into which evil demonic forces can work and as such it s best not to have anything to do with them.On the whole I believe Frank Peretti does an excellent job of making real those aspects of the Bible particularly mentioned in Daniel and Revelations Of course I do disagree with some of his ideas but on the whole I don t believe his book was meant to be fully accurate but rather present a depiction and insight into the ways in which the unknown spiritual real affects the mundane Take the book as you like that is my opinion and mine alone you don t have to agree or disagree. I read this book decades ago and it had a really significant impact on me at the time Though I was definitely a person of faith, the idea of spiritual warfare going on all about us in this modern day was very foreign to my understanding of how God works in world events today Frank Peretti s fictional story of the community of Ashton was an enjoyable read back then, but it really challenged my thinking.I have just re read it because, surprise, it is our current book club selection I was foggy enough on the details that it was almost like reading a new book, but the story line came back to me quickly and I didn t have to struggle with whether or not I believed it was likely that angels and demons might be interested or involved in how human issues might be resolved.The premise of the novel is that a college community has become a place of interest to the Universal Consciousness Society, a New Age Eastern Mysticism group which actually has built a significant membership among the respectable members of the community The members keep their relationship a secret from the community, as well as the unsavory and questionable business practices they employ to take control of both the college and the community.The story begins as two spiritual warriors appear in the community to observe and assist the humans who will eventually rise up to thwart the powerful group before it is too late Peretti moves from the perspective of the angelic warriors to the powerful and ruthless community members to the young minister who feels called by God to intercede for this community through prayer and to the newspaper editor and the news reporter who begin to uncover the seedy goings on around them.It doesn t take long to realize that the Universal Consciousness Society is a front group for demons who are intent of spreading their earthly kingdom from a power base in this quiet little community And, though angelic warriors are involved, there is no foregone conclusion that Good will overpower Evil In fact Evil is so powerful that even the angels know they can t win until a power shift occurs and that will only happen if people who are believers start to pray earnestly for intervention.This is an exciting saga that moves quickly and dramatically through several skirmishes between good and evil, climaxing in a great spiritual battle scene before the final outcome for this little community is known Lots of scripture, lots of great examples of prayer warriors in action as well as spiritual awakenings on the part of several of the key characters It s a good story I liked it even the second time around.