What happens when an author combines the mega-conspiracy theories of Thomas Horn, the spiritual warfare depictions of Frank Peretti, and the science fiction apocalyptic vision of Larry Niven? The result is The Cooper Chronicles, Daniel Holdings’ End of Days trilogy recounting the adventures of physicist and inter-dimensional globetrotter Dr. Bryce Cooper.
Apocalyptic literature is fascinating to say the least, but such works are not necessarily encouraging or fun. If done with the appropriate touch of realism – as, for instance, Nevil Shute’s post-nuclear war drama On the Beach – the work is depressing and scary. The subject, after all, is the complete eradication of human life on planet earth. On the other hand, a Terra-über-Alles yarn like Footfall (co-authored by Niven and Jerry Pournelle) makes the human cost merely the backdrop of an adventure story featuring mankind’s technological prowess and luck in overcoming an invasion by a fantastic foe from deep space. The loss of all of India, for example, registers little to a reader certain that somehow the story will have a happy ending.
The challenge of balancing realism with readability takes on an added dimension in spiritual subjects. A writer of Christian fiction must remain true to the Bible, or at least to his or her interpretation thereof. The result can be dismally flat, contrived, and divorced from real life – which is why it takes a special gift to write such a work. C.S. Lewis comes to mind as the pioneer and first master of modern Christian apocalyptic fiction, a genre which Peretti further develops. Yet when it comes to End Times novels which try to tell the tale of the Great Tribulation from a realistic viewpoint, no one has done quite so well as Daniel Holdings.
It helps that Holdings approaches his subject with the understanding that no one is exempt from the trials and devastations prophesied to come upon the earth according to the Bible. This gives him an advantage over Christian authors who write from the belief that there is a “pre-Tribulation rapture” which will remove Christians to some heavenly safe haven. To such authors, the real prize is not being on earth when bad things happen, which means their interest is not really in figuring out how the bad things are going to happen.
Another advantage is Holdings’ understanding of the Hebraic roots of the faith and the centrality of what is often relegated to “Jewish” or “Old Testament” things. End Times fiction written from a strictly New Testament Christian perspective lacks that depth. The Third Temple, for example, is not merely a plot device in Holdings’ works; it occupies a central role, as does the reconstituted Levitical priesthood. The story is not about how the Temple is desecrated by the Antichrist, but how its restoration sets the stage for Tribulation and for the redemption of mankind.
Which brings us to another interesting point: these three novels do not actually cover the Tribulation period, but rather the developments which set the stage for the Tribulation, and the opening moves of this darkest period in human history. In 3 Days in the Belly of the Beast, Dr. Bryce Cooper leads a team of scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in an experiment to breach the inter-dimensional barrier. The brilliant, but agnostic, Cooper does not care to acknowledge the existence of a spiritual realm, but has no choice when that realm comes after him in the form of visions, angelic visitations, and demonic manifestations. Before it is all done, Cooper realizes his scientific work has become the tool of Satan’s fallen angels and their human-demonic hybrid cousins, the Nephilim, in their plan to breach the wall that separates the demonic realm from the physical world. It is a literal deus ex machina (god from the machine): these spiritual beings require Cooper’s technological innovations at CERN to travel between dimensions. Only a Divine intervention by the One True God foils the demonic plan, adjusting time so that Cooper is able to avoid his unwitting assistance in the attempt to bring the Apocalypse before the appointed hour.
The arrival of that appointed hour is the subject of the next two novels, As the Darkness Falls, and Between the Veil. This is where Holdings does his best work. Thanks to his experiences, Dr. Cooper is now a confirmed follower of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), and a dedicated husband and father. Having resigned from active scientific pursuits, he retires to his family’s ranch in Montana and sets about preparing the homestead as a place of refuge in the coming troubles. He also conducts extensive research into what he now knows is a global master plan to establish a demonic realm on earth and enslave or eradicate humanity. How that plan manifests is the subject of a vision Cooper experiences at the beginning of As the Darkness Falls. In that vision, he sees the earth suffer economic collapse, massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, nuclear detonations, and a solar event that threatens to destroy all life on the planet. The vision becomes reality as the plot unfolds, along with a number of other elements not apparent in the opening vision – including demons masquerading as UFOs, establishment of a New World Order through the conspiracy of major political, financial, religious, and industrial leaders, and the awakening of a long-dormant ancient demonic evil intent on destroying all human life.
It would seem hopeless except for one thing: YHVH is God, and He has already scripted the end of the story. We do not see the complete unfolding of that Divine plan, but we do see how it will happen. The thinning of the veil between the physical and spiritual realms not only permits demonic access to the earth, but angelic as well – and it permits unprecedented human access to the spiritual realm. That is how Cooper and his companions can traverse space and time to intervene as YHVH directs to shape events. Even as the woes which befall the earth take the lives of hundreds of millions and leave the land and environment permanently altered, we see that humanity is not without hope, just as the Bible foretells.
A story of this size can quite easily degenerate into a fiasco, but Daniel Holdings avoids that fate through an expansive understanding of his subject, thorough research, fast-paced action, believable characters, and courage to tell a tale that most people fear even to consider. The Cooper Chronicles is the only work this reviewer knows which makes an effort to weave together existing technology, scientific theory and discoveries from a number of disciplines, reputable research into global government conspiracies, genuine experiences in spiritual warfare and angelic and demonic encounters, and the End Times narrative of Scripture – including the central place of the land, people, government, and Temple of Israel in that narrative. There is much more that Holdings could have included in his work, but what he has included is enough to give the reader a fresh perspective on the Great Tribulation that all of humanity will be experiencing in the very near future.
The Cooper Chronicles (3 Days in the Belly of the Beast, As the Darkness Falls, and Between the Veil) are available directly from the author at http://www.danielholdings.com/, and on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.