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The Apocalypse

Novel by Jeffrey Konvitz (USA) 1978.

The Sentinel is someone who dedicates their life to guarding the gates to Hell, as a penance for attempting to take their own life. In The Sentinel, Monsignor Franchino had to find a replacement for Father Halliran as his penance was almost complete. He found Allison Parker and set her up under the guise of Sister Therese. In The Apocalypse, many years later, he finds that his job is not yet finished, as, in turn, Sister Therese must now be replaced. The target seems likely to be Faye Burdett, a young mother living in the buildings that replaced those in which the battle raged in The Sentinel. However, it proves to be not quite that simple.

The Apocalypse is a disappointing sequel for a few reasons, the main one being that it's not much more than a complicated rehash of its esteemed predecessor. It's certainly written well enough and it's certainly enjoyable to read, but if you read it back to back with The Sentinel, you'll just as certainly be disappointed. My main complaint is this: the numerous twists in the plot are tortuous and fascinating, but ultimately there's no point to them - and if the author had resisted his final twist, then everything would have made some sort of sense. But alas! he didn't resist it, and everything became quite ludicrous instead. Leonard Wolf, in his excellent Horror: A Connoisseur's Guide to Literature and Film, asks an astute question about the logic behind The Exorcist, namely just why would a powerful demon want to possess a young child? I would ask a similar question here, namely if Father McGuire was to be the Sentinel all along, why didn't the powers that be in the Church just tell him and let him get on with it? I would advise any interested readers to avoid The Apocalypse like the plague and dig out its worthy predecessor The Sentinel instead. There's nothing here that isn't in the first book, and it was all so much better then anyway.

As usual with Jeffrey Konvitz books, this has alter-egos: as The Guardian in the USA and Sentinel II in the UK.

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