Marie Ann Dean hits a home run with this wonderful book. It immediately draws you into the action. Despite having a very busy job with long hours, I found that this book kept me reading late into the night. I enjoyed reading Ms. Dean’s previous work, but I found this volume more to my liking. Ms. Dean excels at the use of imagery and you genuinely care about the various characters. Most of the characters from this book were found in Ms. Dean’s first book; however, you don’t have to read these books in order to enjoy The Beast. The influence of Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World is clear, but I think this story is unique. The Beast and Anti-Christ are similar to, but not exactly the same as, Monsignor Benson’s. The ending is explosive and amazing.
The story is very plausible and is rooted in a clear understanding of Catholic doctrine, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and knowledge of current events. The use of symbolism such as the compass and the emerald from The Jeweler’s Polish is masterfully executed. I especially liked the story about the Chinese (People’s Liberation Army) deserters. If there would be another sequel or spin off, I would like to read more about these PLA characters. (From Dalian to Calgary with Christ…) I think the ending was better than Monsignor Benson’s version of end times. If I had any criticism of this book is that I wish it was longer! This book could also use a better cover. Maybe when it is reprinted it will come with a different cover and illustrations. It is a very fast read and will keep you up at night, thinking and praying. This book would make an awesome graphic novel or Anime-type film. In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and up. There is violence (obviously) with this book, but it is not graphic. I generally wind up sharing my favorite books with my friends…this one will travel far.