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EoA: New Directions

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 151-155 (Chapter Twenty-Seven)

The Roundtable’s all wrapped up, and it’s just Joshua and Abigail by themselves now. This chapter can be thought of as a bookend to the previous one, in that it allows the two of them to catch up with one another about events recounted in the book.

I titled this “New Directions”, because in a sense, what this (as well as the previous chapter) chapter notes is that Josh is taking a new tack in his offensive against his opponents. In addition this chapter sets the stage for Josh’s introduction into being an RTC, which will also be a new direction in his mission-specific life.

Let’s join the couple now, shall we?

“In the north wing of the twelve-bedroom ranch lodge, Joshua and Abigail had their own private quarters and master bedroom. There was a terrace off their bedroom that opened out to a vista of the valley during the day and a canopy of stars embedded in a black sky at night.”

That’s actually not bad writing to set the scene. Incidentally, I’m thinking the house probably looks something like this one. Big and sprawling with twelve bedrooms! Good lord. And the kitchen, dining area, and living room must make this place a bloody mansion. Why, again, is Cal not invited? It’s not like they’re desperate for space.

“‘Is that the Milky Way?’

‘Yeah. It looks like a trail of diamond dust across the sky.’

‘Could you navigate using only the stars? I mean, if you had to?’

‘We were taught to do that in flight school. I’d like to think I still could.’

Then Joshua turned toward his wife with a funny look on his face. ‘After all the years we’ve spent sitting on this porch looking up at the stars, why is this the first time you’ve ever asked me that?’

Abigail had to think for a moment. Then she answered with a smile. ‘I don’t know. Just occurred to me, that’s all.'”

As a husband and wife interaction goes, this is not bad either. It serves as a segue into what’s really on Abigail’s mind. It’s been a bit soft-pedalled with the action going on, but Abigail has been trying (analogously to Irene Steele) to have Josh more fully embrace the version of Christianity she believes in.

“Then after a beat she added another thought. ‘Astrologers say our lives are wrapped up in the stars. Which I think is a bunch of malarkey. But I do think that God set the stars in the sky for a reason. Don’t you?’

‘And that reason would be…?’

She took a second before she answered. ‘Well, the Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God…'”

Why she’s trailing off at the end I’m not sure. LaHaye and Parshall seem to have a problem with overuse of trailing ellipses.

But this also allows Abigail, after some back and forth about the Bible, to start talking about her friend Darlene. Now, remember that she spoke of Cal Jordan’s confidences – her own son’s confidences – to her husband without shame. Guess what she’s going to do here, when Judge Ricemeister doesn’t even know?

“Abigail was struggling over how much to tell her husband, but she needed to share this with her soul mate. ‘Something came up today when we had lunch.’

‘From Darley?’

‘Yeah. Some personal stuff.’

‘Like what?’

‘She’s still grieving over Jimmy.’

‘I think about Fort and Darley losing their son like that. Bam, out of nowhere. Just when Jimmy was beginning his life as a man. I don’t think a parent ever gets over something like that.'”

Oddly, Josh seems almost human in this chapter. I wonder if Parshall realized even controlling assholes can show concern and care for people they give a damn about.

“Abigail decided just to lay it all out. Her husband needed to hear it. Not only because Darley and Fort were friends, but because Joshua and Fort worked so closely together with the Roundtable.”

Ok, stop right there. What gives Abigail Jordan the right to set herself up as the moral arbiter of other people’s lives?

By choosing to discuss private matters without the consent of the person who has disclosed the matter to her, she’s breaking a trust. Granted, this involves drug use, and as I noted in the Cal chapter, if Cal had been abusing drugs it might warrant breaking a confidence.

The fact that she seems to not mind breaking confidences without at least some evidence that she thought it over and really checked her motives before going ahead seems to be forming into a pattern, though. And this makes me wonder if her real back story was that she was disbarred for breaking attorney-client privilege by knowingly revealing privileged communications without permission.

“‘ […] Now she’s constantly dosing on valium. This has been going on since her son’s death. Josh, she came right out and admitted she’s addicted to prescription drugs. She says she can’t get through the day without taking something.’

‘Oh, boy. Poor Darley. Does Fort know?’

‘Not exactly. Although it may be what the law calls deliberate indifference.'”

Mmmkay there.

Not sure why Parshall had her throw that legal term in there, unless it’s for Abby to show off or something.

“‘I think people who deeply love another person are naturally going to think the best of them, not the worst. Fort may be seeing a lot of clues but unconsciously turning a blind eye. He really doesn’t want to picture his wife as an addict. Who would?’

‘So, what did you tell her?’

‘I offered to help. Get her into a rehab place maybe. And I told her to tell her husband. He has a right to know, and she needs his support.’

Joshua looked intently at his wife. He took her hands, both of them, and kissed them. ‘Thank goodness she’s got you for a friend. You’re outstanding, Abby. Really.'”

Oh, please. When I took this up in the previous review of that chapter, I noted that her insistence to Darlene that she tell her husband could have unintended adverse consequences, especially if things are “interesting” at home.

And some ‘outstanding’ friend she is, breaking confidences without even thinking about whether she should hold back and wait until things evolve.

Anyway, they switch to chatting about the AmeriNews thing and then horseback riding, only for Josh to remember he wanted to do 18 holes with Rocky Bridger:

“‘So, after you wrap up tomorrow, then maybe you and I and Deborah can do some trail riding the next day?’

‘Right…uh, oh…’

‘Uh, oh what, dear?’ Abigail was already translating the unspoken part of her husband’s reply.

‘I just remembered I am supposed to shoot eighteen holes with Rocky Bridger.’

‘Well, you could get up early, be the first to tee off, and still be back here in time for at least a half-day of riding with us. Right?’

He smirked. ‘Yeah. That’s doable. I can take orders. I was a good Air Force officer. Flight plan modified by cencom.'”

That’s CENTCOM, if I remember my US military lingo correctly – which I freely admit I may not. I recall seeing the term used by an overly enthusiastic ex-Army person who loved discussing helicopters and guns.

And LOL at Josh taking orders. It’s so hokey here. It seems to be a way for Parshall to push against the boundaries of what might be considered an acceptable RTC marriage, in that the woman’s telling the man to change his plans.

Incidentally, in regard to marriages based on sexually dimorphic gender roles, one thing I’ve noticed is that men in such marriages often make “joking” remarks about their wives nixing their ‘toys’, and they complain – whether in jest or in reality – about their wives controlling their spending, household and personal.

It’s kind of odd, actually, that a marriage envisioned with a “husband knows best and is the breadwinner” paradigm often delegates to his wife the role of managing the family’s money, which is almost certain to set her up in conflict with her husband. So comments from men about their wives controlling them may be an unintentional admission that theyalso attempt to control their wives through enforcement of things like not permitting her to work, or things like that.

In the case of the Jordan marriage here, Josh’s joke is kind of silly and a bit over the top. Married couples should have a normal amount of give and take in any case, but here it’s presented as kind of special event.

Parshall seems to think writing an approximately forty year old adult speaking like a teenager doesn’t look silly as hell:

“You are sooo overly dramatic” She grinned with a twinkle in her eye.”

And yes, there is no punctuation after ‘dramatic’ in my printed copy of the book.

Ok, now for the RTC stuff.

“‘When we get back to New York, Pastor Paul Campbell is doing a special series of evening talks over at Eternity Church.'”

Ba-bing! Abigail manages to entice Josh into it by noting that it may have to do with his Roundtable project:

“‘But this is different. I think this series of messages are more for you than for me. The topic is right up your alley. Really.’

‘Well-played, madam lawyer. So I’m the one who’ll regret it if I don’t go…’

‘Absolutely. And if you do go, I think you’ll be surprised. Actually, I think it fits into what you are doing with the Roundtable…’

She had his attention.

‘You’ve got my curiosity aroused. At least tell me what this is all about.’

‘Better than that, I’ll let you read the brochure I got from Paul. It tells all about it.’

‘Okay, I’ll read it. But no promises…’

And there’s that. Note the abuse of trailing ellipses again, and that for a person who hasn’t practiced law in many years, Parshall sure seems to love reminding us how lawyerly Abigail is.

Next chapter we move to Moscow.


12 thoughts on “EoA: New Directions

  1. This is the burden of the RTC: to know that everything about you is subordinate to God (as imparted to you by His agents on earth). Mere mortal confidences and oaths mean nothing: it’s people’s eternal souls that are at stake! And you can’t make an omelette without covering the entire kitchen in a thin layer of raw egg, right?

  2. …I think twelve bedrooms would dwarf that lodge. Especially when you factor in what kind of kitchen and mess halldining room would be needed to accommodate over twenty people at a time.

    Still…this big and it isn’t his main living place?! Talk about a waste of space…I really hope he thinks to rent it out for when the family is elsewhere.

    • Let someone else sully his lodge? I really don’t think Joshy-boy is that willing to convert such an expensive white elephant into anything like an asset. I just get the huge vibe off him that he really is possessive about his stuff and would never let anyone touch his stuff unless absolutely necessary.

      It’s his RTS-RGS.
      His money*.
      His Hawk’s Nest.
      His Penthouse condo.

      * SPOILER: Ur ohyyvrf Pny ol hfvat gur zbarl guvat ntnvafg uvz.

      Spot the pattern there. 😛

  3. What gives Abigail Jordan the right to set herself up as the moral arbiter of other people’s lives?

    What gives her the right is that she’s a “Christian.” This is the entire essence of RTCism. This is why they are anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-everything.

    • I’m going to guess we’re looking at a situation where RTCs are confident that, because they’ve sworn utter loyalty to the Christ, there’s no way a judgement will come down other than “innocent” (or at least “not guilty by reason of insanity”). And/or that BECAUSE they’re filled with the Holy Spirit, whatever judgements they pass must be the same as God would pass–that they’re vectors of God’s considerations.

  4. In the case of the Jordan marriage here, Josh’s joke is kind of silly and a bit over the top. Married couples should have a normal amount of give and take in any case, but here it’s presented as kind of special event.
    Not so much a special event as something relating to Abby's "sphere," that is, family plans (not to be confused with family planning!) and I think it's in this case more a military thing than an RTC thing. It's common for military guys to refer to their wives as "CINC HOUSE," that is, "Commander in Chief of the Household." Military wives, as far as I can gather although I've no personal experience, are pretty much expected to take on most of the household responsibilities including scheduling, and all of them if their husbands are deployed, but to have not much to say about their husband's career decisions or external activities.

    Her husband needed to hear it. Not only because Darley and Fort were friends, but because Joshua and Fort worked so closely together with the Roundtable.”
    Oh well then, that makes it all okay, desn’t it? /sarcasm.
    They really think a lot of this Rountable thing, don’t they? But I can’t say that I think my husband’s professional associates have any right to know about my personal problems. Ugh.

    • I wondered about that. (Oh, I fixed your italics tag, by the way.)

      Well, if that’s the case then LaHaye and Parshall are obviously aiming this book at military officers who are aware of the subcultural subtleties of the dynamic between Joshua and Abigail.

  5. Ugh. This makes the second confidence that Abby has betrayed, doesn’t it? Honestly, she has some sort of ingrained survival behavior to reveal absolutely everything to Joshua.

    Good grief, TWELVE bedrooms? I defy anyone to say that Joshua Jordan is a middle-class, typical average median mean US citizen. In fact I would say that Jerkhat makes enough income that the current tax cuts being expired would have an effect on him.

    I find it hard to believe that the authors simply forgot about the Fifth Jordan. They purposely excluded him from the trip to the Hawk’s Nest(tm) and chose not to have their characters mention him. Unless they really are that sloppy (which I wouldn’t put past either of them, especially since they have a low opinion of the Fifth Jordan or the Karen.)

    I discovered the other day that there are two spinoff series to Left Behind, one a techno-military thriller series and the other a political thriller series. Though I imagine they’re more like fanfics than, you know, decent reads. (Though some fanfic can be really good.)

    • Actually, Cal is Jordan #4. 😛

      But yeah, it’s pretty surprising with all the family-values stuff being trotted around in this book by the good guys that Josh seems to kind of forget he has a son.

    • The military series is by Mel Odom, who’s done thrillers and TV tie-in work – he’s entirely used to writing in other people’s worlds, and I’d expect those books to be competent hackwork. The political series is by Neesa Hart, whose work I don’t know; apparently she’s a former political worker who also writes romance novels (and not just Christian Romance), so again she’s played out in the real world and might well be reasonably competent.

      Which would take all the fun out of it.

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