ebook, 352 pages
Published October 22nd 2013
by Center Street
Source: ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley for my honest review
“The story of how I, Julian Carter, and my precious two-year old son, Stephen, left Atlanta Georgia and found ourselves on a white sailboat, tossed about like a cork on a raging sea off of Australia’s northern tip in 1963, is harrowing. But it pales in comparison to what happened deep in the jungle where I was taken as a slave by a savage tribe unknown to the world. Some places dwell in darkness so deep that even God seems to stay away. There, my mind was torn in two by the gods of the earth. There, one life ended so another could begin.
Some will say I was a fool for making the choices I made. But they would have done the same. They, too, would have embraced death if they knew what I knew, and saw through my eyes.
My name is Julian and this is my story. But more, it is the story of my son who was born to change the world.”
Ted Dekker has been one of my favorite authors for almost ten years. I own almost every single one of his books. I love his imagination, the way he brings such incredible situations to life, how he can get me to see every detail, every color vividly in my mind. There hasn’t been a single book by Mr. Dekker that I have not loved, but to be honest, none have touched me as deeply as the Circle series, until now. Outlaw was the most captivating story I’ve read this year, and it has shaken the way I view my world.
The story begins with a dream. Julian Carter feels herself being called to a foreign land, and the call is so strong, so real that she has to follow it despite all the negative reactions this journey has received. The account of what happens to Julian and her toddler, Stephen, was absolutely terrifying. Being the mother of a one year old, I couldn’t help but put myself in Julian’s shoes. The night I began reading this story, sleep would not come. I couldn’t stop worrying about those two, and even though it was very late at night, my bedside lamp got turned back on so I could see if they survived. As the synopsis reveals, Julian is captured by a savage tribe and taken as a slave. Her treatment under the rule of the tribal lord was horrific. She barely had time to mourn her son, lost at sea, because of the constant fear induced by these strange people. This sentence from the summary still gives me chills
“Some places dwell in darkness so deep that even God seems to stay away.”
I feel that Dekker truly made this sentiment real as I clicked through the pages. It was a fight for survival of both life and sanity for Julian. Obviously the tribe spoke a language that she couldn’t hope to understand, but even in that desolation, God made a way, trying to show her that He was still there in that dark time. Dekker’s description of Julian’s life with the tribe made me feel as if I were watching a documentary on NatGEO. From the scenery to her emotions, I was there. (An interesting fact to point out is that Dekker is able to bring such beautiful detail of the jungle scenery and tribal society is because he himself lived in Indonesia with his missionary parents among tribes there.)
In true Dekker fashion, the story takes a SERIOUS twist. This is something I love about his writing. I could totally see another way to have continued the story, which is probably the route a lot of authors would have taken, but I loved seeing this side of the story. This was a little difficult for me to get into at first, but as I kept reading I realized why. Dekker did this to shake the reader up so that the truths he was about to bring would hopefully be received by open eyes and hearts. I know that he succeeded in this with me. When a book, especially a fictional one, makes me reevaulate how I’ve been living, it’s a book I’m going to be reading over and over and making sure other do as well.
I strongly urge you to read this book, no matter your genre preferences. I am praying so hard that there is a continuation of this book because it feels like this was only the beginning of a hard, but beautiful adventure. May this book inspire you to shed your ‘costume’ and see the world with new eyes that will show you the color and beauty as He sees it. (You’ll understand once you read it.)